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EXTERIOR PAINT: MAKING IT LAST
Unfortunately, painting your home is not a green activity. Why? Because productssuch as acrylic latex have a very high embodied energy—producing them takes a toll on the environment. It’s key, therefore, to maximize paint durability. You might think that switching to vinyl siding is a more “permanent” solution, but vinyl products come with a different set of environmental drawbacks. There’s no perfect solution. You can, however, take several steps to make sure paint lasts as long as possible on your new siding. Old siding is a bigger challenge, but in general, the same rules apply.


COVER UP QUICKLY
Just a few days of exposure to UV rays can seriously damage the ability of wood to hold paint. Get a coat of primer on as soon as possible, preferably a product with UV inhibitors.


USE STAINLESS FASTENERS
It’s easy now to find exterior fasteners that will not rust and stain wood. Spend a little extra for the best fasteners you can find. You may add years to the viability of each paint job.


NO FREEZES PLEASE
Water-based paints that have been stored too long may lose their chemical consistency. Worse, if they’re allowed to freeze, their performance may suffer. Don’t risk painting with a compromised can of paint. The amount of labor versus the price of new paint makes that a bad deal.


SEAL END GRAIN
Often, siding and trim boards weather and crack on the ends—for a simple reason: They were not coated properly when the rest of the home was primed and painted. If possible, coat them with a good sealer before installation.


CHOOSE COOL COLORS
Paints exposed to regular cycles of extreme heat undergo more stress, shortening their useful lifespan. One simple solution is to specify lighter colors on wood exteriors, especially in hot climates on the sides of the home that get several hours of sun each day.


PLAY ROUGH
Research has shown that boards with a slightly rough texture tend to hold paint much better than smooth sanded surfaces. If ordering cedar, pine, or other natural finishes, ask about different texture options.


ORDER PRE-PRIMED WOOD OR FIBER CEMENT
Boards that are pre-primed in a factory tend to hold their paint longer than siding that’s painted in place. This is true for several reasons. First, if handled properly, factory-painted wood tends to be coated only when the wood reaches an optimal level of moisture saturation, typically about 15%. Also, the primer is usually applied to the front side, back side, and ends of each board. Note that it’s key to recoat primed ends after cutting.


 


LIQUID NAILS LOW VOC CAULK/ADHESIVE
With just 28 mg/l of VOC content, this water-based acrylic hybrid of adhesive and caulk from the maker of industrial grade Liquid Nails is a welcome innovation. Use it as both a glue and a low odor caulking. www.liquidnails.com


MYTHIC PAINT
Mythic has been a leader in the no-VOC category of paints. The company also offers some information about other toxins such as formaldehyde that are not in its products, although it could go further to identify other ingredients. www.mythicpaint.com


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GreenBuilder 11.2010

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