Alexandria, VA was founded in 1749; Arlington in 1801; Chantilly dates back to the 1700s; Pulte, Ryan Homes, and other developers are building brand new homes today. What this means is North Virginia has a uniquely diverse inventory of homes, from high tech condos to charming single-family residences dating back to the 19th century.

From a residential painting contractor’s perspective, this also means there is a diverse inventory of building materials used in the construction of these homes. Different materials present different challenges when they are the material involved in an exterior house painting project.

At All American Painting Plus, an award-winning painting service based in Reston, we’ve seen them all. That’s important because experience is the key to successfully painting these materials. Home painters without the requisite experience can deliver a good-looking product, but within a couple of years, an improperly applied paint job may result in blistering, chalking, and peeling. That’s not the level of service that All American Painting Plus finds acceptable.

The Challenges Presented by Vinyl, Aluminum, Brick, and Wood Exteriors

All materials can be painted, but the preparation of the exterior surface is the key to delivering a professional and long-lasting exterior painting project.

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl remains a popular, budget-friendly, low maintenance choice as a siding. Technological advances that have increased its durability have made it even more attractive. But it’s not invincible. It will fade, or you just might fall out of love with the color. If you want to freshen the appearance, it can be painted.

There are several keys to successful vinyl painting, but the first is cleaning the surface. Unlike wood, there will be no sanding or scraping. You have to treat preparation like a car wash for your house. You’re going after mold, chalk buildup, mildew, and debris, but you need to avoid scratching the vinyl. A trained technician on a power wash is the fastest way to accomplish this.

Vinyl needs a good quality paint high in acrylic and urethane resin to accommodate the expansion that vinyl experiences in warm weather. Use the same or lighter shade as the existing color to avoid peeling caused by overheating. The actual painting can be done with rollers or spray guns, which significantly reduce painting time.

Aluminum Siding

Aluminum siding requires the same “car wash” treatment before you break out a paint brush. Aluminum needs to be thoroughly washed and allowed to completely dry before you consider applying a primer. And, unlike vinyl, you’ll need a primer, and that’s where a lot of people make a major mistake.

Most latex paints, including primers, contain ammonia. Ammonia reacts with aluminum, creating small amounts of gas. Over time, that gas creates bubbles in the paint, defeating the adherence and leading to blistering or peeling. The solution is to use an oil-based primer. It will take longer to dry but it will not result in the “Trojan Horse” effects of a latex primer.

Brick Siding

Painting your brick exterior is like getting a tattoo – there’s no going back. It’s not impossible to remove paint from brick but it is costly. Make sure you really want the change before you commit to it.

Preparation is fairly extensive. It starts with a power wash to blow off dirt, grime, mold, and debris. The next step is to use an acrylic mortar patch to repair any missing or damaged mortar. Get the surface ready for the paint by applying a high-quality acrylic masonry primer and allowing it to completely dry. Compared to the preparation, painting is a snap. Rollers or spray guns can be used to apply a 100% acrylic latex paint.

Wood Siding

The first step in painting wood siding is doing a careful inspection. The inspection is looking for dry rot that needs to be repaired or replaced, and mold which needs to be treated. The next step is labor intensive, and it involves scraping and sanding. How well this is done will determine what the finished product will look like. The smoother the surface is, the more professional and more “like-new” the project will appear.

If the preparation is done less than professionally, the most expensive house paint will not adhere properly. It’s like trying to put a note on a refrigerator without using a magnet.

When You are Ready, Use an Experienced Painting Team

At All American Painting Plus, we have the experienced exterior painters that you can trust with your home, regardless of the material. There’s a reason we have received twelve consecutive Super Service Awards from Angie’s List. Give us a call today and learn why for yourself.

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