Problems with Exterior Paint Job on Home

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jrhampt
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2016 1:19 pm

Problems with Exterior Paint Job on Home

Post by jrhampt » Tue Jun 07, 2016 1:43 pm

I am wondering what any of you would do or have done in a similar situation to my own: Last summer we hired a national painting company to paint the exterior of our home at the cost of roughly $8500, including some carpentry to replace damaged wood. We had been living in the home for 7 years, and the old paint was starting to peel due to age. 6 months after the contractor finished painting the house, we were dismayed to observe widespread peeling of the paint on three sides of the house, down to the bare wood.

We contacted the company, and one month later they sent out a representative from their franchise and also from the paint supplier, who collected some samples of the peeling paint and said they would test it in their lab. They said we would have the results back in 2-3 weeks...this ended up taking 2 months. We still have not seen the actual lab report, although we have requested to see it several times; instead we were emailed some excerpts/summaries, and the conclusion that the reason the paint job failed was due to moisture in the wood, and that this was not covered by the warranty. The franchise contends that we live in a "damp neighborhood" and that our house is incapable of holding paint...we contend that we never had issues with paint staying on the house before we painted it, and question whether the problem could be due to them painting some of the house too close to rain.

They also said that the house was not well ventilated and offered to install gable vents (at an additional cost to us) which they said were "conspicuous in their absence" (and which, oddly enough, we already have 3 of, 1 of which is pictured in their original proposal with photos of the house). So far they have also offered to do periodic "touch ups" of the peeling paint until the warranty period of two years expires, or alternately charge us $15k to strip the entire house down to the bare wood and repaint. We do not feel touch-ups are sufficient to address the problem and will only prolong the process of the paint peeling on these three sides. We also do not want to pay them $15k to fix what we think is their mistake. Clearly we are not going to pay them to install vents that we already have. We feel that they should repaint the three sides of the house completely or refund some of our money. They have offered to refund only $500.

I am unsatisfied with this, but have had trouble getting in touch with people higher up in the food chain at the company, although I have continued these efforts faithfully for the past few weeks. I filed a complaint with their national customer service hotline, which plainly irritated the franchise owner, but I was finally able to get in touch with the general manager for the area, who is coming out in person this week to look at the house and has promised to obtain a copy of the lab report. After spending the past 3 months back and forth in emails and phone calls, I really hope for the best, but feel I should prepare for the worst.

What would you do?

a. have the company keep doing touch-ups until the warranty period expires. least expensive solution and will postpone dealing with the problem until we decide to side it, perhaps, or have the whole thing repainted

b. believe their story that our house will not hold paint and pay $20k to side the house immediately

c. keep trying to escalate the issue with national customer service until we get a satisfactory response

d. take to small claims court ($90 filing fee and max claim of $5k in my state), no guarantee of getting them to pay the claim even if we win

NightFall
Posts: 259
Joined: Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:38 pm

Re: Problems with Exterior Paint Job on Home

Post by NightFall » Tue Jun 07, 2016 4:09 pm

Do any other houses in your neighborhood have paint on them? If those houses don't have peeling paint, I'm not sure I would believe their house won't hold paint argument. Also, why would they offer to strip your house and repaint for $15k if the house won't hold paint? Something seems wrong.

neilpilot
Posts: 1924
Joined: Fri Dec 04, 2015 1:46 pm
Location: Memphis area

Re: Problems with Exterior Paint Job on Home

Post by neilpilot » Tue Jun 07, 2016 4:18 pm

Did they pressure wash and then apply oil based paint over the wet wood?

ArmchairArchitect
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Re: Problems with Exterior Paint Job on Home

Post by ArmchairArchitect » Tue Jun 07, 2016 4:19 pm

Take them to court. They need to honor their warranty. If these excuses they're making are valid, as professionals they should have performed that analysis BEFORE you shelled out $8.5k.

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jharkin
Posts: 1911
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:14 am
Location: Boston suburbs

Re: Problems with Exterior Paint Job on Home

Post by jharkin » Wed Jun 08, 2016 2:21 pm

The "lack of a gable vent" is not gong to make the wood so wet that the paint peels off in sheets. I have seen antique houses with no roof ventilation at all and they are painted just fine (not saying zero ventilation is good, just it alone is not likely to cause this).

Usually when this happens so soon after a fresh paint job its because the painter either didn't prep properly, pressure washed and painted too soon, didn't use a proper primer when needed, or used incompatible paint combinations (like oil based finish paint over a latex primer).


What kind of siding is on the house?
What did the painting contractor due to prep? (pressure wash? scrape? sand? )
Was the existing paint job peeling, and if so where all areas of loose paint completely removed?
If they pressure washed did they give it a few days to dry thoroughly before priming?
Did the use a primer?
What brand and type of paint did they use?
How many coats of primer and finish paint?

wolingfeng
Posts: 45
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2012 9:09 pm
Location: Syracuse, New York

Re: Problems with Exterior Paint Job on Home

Post by wolingfeng » Wed Jun 08, 2016 2:31 pm

Yeah, I say if you saw peeling with in a year, that job is not done right. Sorry for your situation. I would try to fight for them to re-do the work.

BIGal
Posts: 108
Joined: Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:34 pm

Re: Problems with Exterior Paint Job on Home

Post by BIGal » Wed Jun 08, 2016 2:32 pm

Get a good attorney and take them to court. Hindsight....check reference of contractors...I would imagine you are not the first one they have screwed.

newbie_Mo
Posts: 227
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2009 5:28 pm

Re: Problems with Exterior Paint Job on Home

Post by newbie_Mo » Wed Jun 08, 2016 2:39 pm

Is the wood wet because peeling paint or wet wood cause peeling paint? I would argue the wood is wet now because of peeling paint and they didn't mention any problem with wet wood before the paint job. I would take them to court and get another company to have a look. Edit. Before taking them to court may be have a lawyer draft them a letter. May work better than you keep calling them.

barnaclebob
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Re: Problems with Exterior Paint Job on Home

Post by barnaclebob » Wed Jun 08, 2016 2:49 pm

write them a letter saying that you want a complete refund stating the reasons why you believe they are at fault for choosing an proper coating or applying it improperly. If they refuse a refund file complaints with any agency you can think of. If that gets no results then lawyer up.

Take pictures and start keeping a log of all contact with the company along with their responses.

Mingus
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Joined: Fri Apr 19, 2013 2:25 pm

Re: Problems with Exterior Paint Job on Home

Post by Mingus » Wed Jun 08, 2016 3:22 pm

Lawyer up. Get a good one.

Most likely they painted on top of wet wood. The wood could have been wet and damp from pressure washing if they even did that, or wet and damp because of weather.

(When I had the tall stuff on my place painted last year, they wanted to do it in April. I laughed and told them middle of July or no deal.) Most "professional" painters are a bunch real **I'm going to self edit what I really want to say**, and will have a special place in ****, right alongside most handymen.

For your information, you might want to pull archived weather reports for your zip code for the dates they prepped and painted your house. Just to see how rainy it was during that time period. It can take wood siding awhile to dry out fully, especially if your house is surrounded by tall trees blocking the sun.

If their own report states your house is incapable of holding paint due to moisture and the house being in a "damp neighborhood", they should have never taken your job. Or scheduled it better. And if this is the case, why would they offer to completely strip it and repaint for a cost of $15K?

How old is the house? For the 4th side of the house not peeling, which direction of sun exposure does it get? South? For sections that were repaired with new wood, are they peeling too?

It is possible the batch of paint or primer they used was bad. Or the wrong product.

Was this franchise CertaPro?

TMCD75
Posts: 257
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2015 4:36 pm

Re: Problems with Exterior Paint Job on Home

Post by TMCD75 » Wed Jun 08, 2016 4:43 pm

I am a 20 year professional painter and have an excellent reputation in my area. You would have to provide me with more details, did they even pressure wash your house? They were a national paint crew? This sounds like the old college kid painters...Certa Pro isn't much better.

It could be any number of things that are causing your house to peel. Typically speaking, when paint peels the way you're describing, it's a moisture issue. Your gutters could easily be causing a problem here. Moisture is known to push paint off in big sections if it's trying to pass through the paint film.

I'm not sure this is on the painter, you certainly haven't presented enough information for a professional to conclude that. Now if you tell me they didn't power wash and painted over dirty surfaces, then that's different. If your house is clapboard, I've heard of painters caulking under each clapboard and sealing/trapping the moisture in. The old school guys used to do that, the modern rule if thumb is to not caulk under those.

What area of the country are you in?? I personally think you should cut bait and fish elsewhere. They are fulfilling the warranty it sounds like.

SamB
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Re: Problems with Exterior Paint Job on Home

Post by SamB » Wed Jun 08, 2016 4:59 pm

Wood is problematic and I would spend money replacing it, not trying to redo what you already have. I used to paint my own wood trim and brick molding. I regret wasting my time even though the saved money went into index funds. Wood deteriorates over time, and the average moisture content will gradually rise. Painting it, no matter how meticulous you are with the prep, will be an eventual lost cause as it ages.

The only reservation I have about the company you hired is that they should have explained this to you. A high-end company will refuse some jobs because they don't want to deal with unpredictable results. However, when they suggest what actually has to be done, and how much it costs, they get out bid by a chain trying to make a quick buck. And if you don't really understand the risks and the costs you end up doing things twice at three times the original cost.

harmony
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Re: Problems with Exterior Paint Job on Home

Post by harmony » Thu Jun 09, 2016 11:38 am

Many good suggestions have been offered. I am posting our personal experience. It may or may not fit the needs at your address.

We had an old house to paint 10 years ago. It had thick alligator-skin crusts alongside areas which had already peeled down to the cedar. We tried “The Silent Paint Remover” http://www.silentpaintremover.com/ to help us remove the alligatored areas. We didn't want a pressure washer marring the soft cedar and forcing water into cracks. It worked extremely well on sample areas we tried. The “Silent Paint Remover” uses heat so there is danger of overheating the wood and starting a fire. We kept a garden hose handy.

We consulted a professional painter for a bid. We offered that their crew could use our “Silent Paint Remover” to help scrape down to the bare wood. We demonstrated how well it worked. The professional painter said using the “Silent Paint Remover” would be too labor-intensive for his crew. They would only scrape what was obviously loose, pressure wash, and spray paint everything but the trim. We were concerned moisture would be trapped behind the paint that didn't fall off. So we did the project ourselves. It took several years of our early retirement to progress all the way around the house.

Early in the process we came across Wolman's Woodlife Classic, a clear wood preservative that we used over the bare wood for the rest of the way around. http://www.rustoleum.com/product-catalo ... e-classic/ Aging wood, cedar included, can develop cracks which hold moisture. These should be sealed before painting. The clear wood preservative needs to be applied on a warm dry day and allowed to soak in before adding the top coats. Our whole project has been done for several years now, and we can see that the areas where we applied the preservative have been holding up very well.

If you like the siding on your house, don't let an incompetent crew near it. We did the work ourselves, but most homeowners wouldn't want to spend a half dozen years waiting for the right weather and enough energy to do what we did. Whoever does it should address all of your concerns upfront. The painter would have to agree to work on your house only when the weather and temperature conditions were right. If you can't find a painter who will do it right or you don't have wood siding that is worth preserving; then I suggest you try to get as much compensation to recover your losses and start saving up for permanent siding.

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jharkin
Posts: 1911
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Location: Boston suburbs

Re: Problems with Exterior Paint Job on Home

Post by jharkin » Thu Jun 09, 2016 1:45 pm

SamB wrote:Wood is problematic and I would spend money replacing it, not trying to redo what you already have. I used to paint my own wood trim and brick molding. I regret wasting my time even though the saved money went into index funds. Wood deteriorates over time, and the average moisture content will gradually rise. Painting it, no matter how meticulous you are with the prep, will be an eventual lost cause as it ages.
That sounds like vinyl siding industry marketing hype to me. Wood that is kept well maintained does not keep absorbing water - As long as the structure is properly vented and caulked the wood will reach an equilibrium moisture content for your climate and stay there (where I live outside of Boston that is about 10-12% moisture - vs. a range of 40%+ for green wood down to 7% for kiln dried lumber).

If the wood is kept well maintained and the paint is not ever allowed to deteriorate to the point its peeling in sheets it can last a very long time. In New England we still see colonial era houses that still have the original siding on them. Rare but not unheard of, and usually on an old house if the siding was replaced (or covered in vinyl :( ) it was because some homeowner didn't want to deal with removing 10 layers of old paint, not rot. Granted modern farmed lumber is not as decay resistant and may not last 2-3 centuries like that old growth wood - but multiple decades are easily achievable as long as its kept dry. Wood that is kept dry does not rot.

harmony wrote: and start saving up for permanent siding.
There is no such thing as "permanent" on a structure exposed to the elements if you intend to never do any maintenance. Vinyl will eventually fade and get brittle from UV exposure. Hardie board may last longer but it needs to be painted periodically and hasnt been around long enough to know if it can last centuries..

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