Less Than Ideal Conditions –A Way of Life
The ideal conditions for exterior painting are no wind, 75 degrees and the humidity around 50%. Paint manufacturers perform product testing under these ideal conditions. The label information is a reflection of those tests and seems to say, “This paint is terrific, will be dry in a couple hours and will last a long time!”
Those ideal conditions exist in USA Today’s “Top 10 Destinations” . However, New Orleans is not on that list. Let’s face it, in South Louisiana perfect painting conditions rarely exist. This can create disastrous results for inexperienced painting contractors and the building owners who hire them.
The summer painting season in high traffic, high touch conditions like the French Quarter can be a challenge in perfect weather. Add the variables of South Louisiana summer – extreme air temperatures, full sun, heavy thunderstorms and high wind (often before we finish our first cup of coffee!) and you’ve got the recipe for a failed paint job. Fortunately, creating outstanding paint finishes in hostile conditions are a way of life for TASCH Painting Company.
In today’s blog post, I’ll discuss how to get a beautiful paint finish when temperature & humidity levels are creating havoc for painting contractors.
Want the Good News or Bad News?
The Good News
Modern latex paint coatings can be safely applied by professional contractors between 35 and 100 degrees, as long as the conditions are respected.
The Bad News
Many professional painters are so focused on getting paid, they don’t make the necessary adjustments for extreme conditions. Failure to consider weather conditions can shorten the life expectancy of the paint coating and the worst of the worst -adhesion problems! Excessive humidity, dew and condensation can also cause an uneven sheen on the freshly painted surface –it will look uneven and mottled, we call that “blushing”.
It’s Not the Heat, It’s the Stupidity
High temperatures will affect paint adhesion primarily because it causes the paint to dry too rapidly. In South Louisiana, humid, hot air and direct sunlight can generate temperatures on a metal building’s exterior well in excess of 140 degrees. Anyone who had been behind the handle of a paint brush in New Orleans already knows this. Choosing to apply paint on a surface this hot is, well, unwise.
At this temperature even the highest quality paint will fail. Unfortunately, the peeling, blistering and bubbling won’t show up as the paint coating is still curing. But you can trust that it will happen.
What Happened to My Paint Last Night!?
Daytime temperatures aren’t the only factor to consider when planning to paint that commercial building in Harahan. Because paint coatings need time to cure, expected overnight conditions are as important as daytime temperatures.
When dew forms on freshly applied paint coatings, known as “night watering”, the new moisture causes the paint to stop coalescing, allowing unwanted moisture into the uncured paint.
Technical Tricks of the Trade
A little common sense with the painting approach and materials selections will allow for successful “summer painting” and will help minimize hot weather hassles. The best way to avoid paint coating failure on your commercial building in Gretna, Louisiana is to plan for the summer season conditions.
Track the Sun
The TASCH painting crews evaluate the jobsite so we’re never applying paint coatings in direct sunlight. This helps ensure paint on exterior surfaces doesn’t overheat. The north and south side of most buildings can be painted at any point in the day, but that ball of burning gases rises in the east and settles in the west. Those elevations (sides) will require careful planning, especially if the painted surfaces are metal –metals heat and cool quickly.
Beat the Dew Point
With the right paint coating, applied at the right time, painted exteriors can develop resistance to moisture in just two hours. To avoid excess moisture from disrupting your cure, make sure you apply coatings within a window that beats the dew point.
Prep and Application
The best paint coatings and additives, in the wrong hands, are not enough to create a professional paint job. Preparation of the substrate is always the key to a professional and long lasting paint job. Clean, dull and dry are always the basic requirements. Application methods are varied though the most common find our crews spraying, rolling and brushing. For most new substrates the brush and roll method is appropriate. Metal panels and specialty items typically involve airless or HVLP equipment.
Better Living Through Chemistry
Waiting for dry conditions in Louisiana is not always a reasonable plan. Fortunately, the coating industry has developed excellent paint additives that can improve coalescing, open time and cure rates in water based paint coatings. Controlling the curing process of a paint coating is key to providing a beautiful, long-lasting finish.
Know When to Say “When”
Some days the weather is not going to mix with paint. When the day looks like a washout, a good Project Manager will have a check-list of work that can be completed like pressure washing, equipment maintenance and safety training. Sending the crew home at the first sign of rain sets a bad precedent. Instead of heading for the house, TASCH employees head for the warehouse. Our motto is “if it looks like rain, we’re going to train.”
How to Avoid a Bad Paint Job
One word – Reputation. We regularly get calls from project owners who discovered tell-tale signs of cheap paint, bad applications and poorly planned projects long after their check, and the painter, have cleared.
Since 1976, TASCH Painting Company is known for quality workmanship and consistent, on-time completion of commercial painting projects. Check out a few of our projects and give us a call. We would appreciate an opportunity to answer your questions and provide you with a competitive cost proposal for your important painting project.