It is assumed that a preliminary check will already have been
made to determine, first, that the painted exterior surfaces are
indeed wood and not stucco, metal, or other wood substitutes
and second, that the wood has not decayed so that repainting
would be superfluous. For example, if any area of bare wood such
as window sills has been exposed for a long period of time to
standing water, wood rot is a strong possibility. Repair
or replacement of deteriorated wood should take place before repainting.
After these two basic issues have been resolved, the surface condition
identification process may commence.
The historic building will undoubtedly exhibit a variety
of exterior paint surface conditions. For example, paint on
the wooden siding and doors may be adhering firmly; paint on the
eaves peeling; and paint on the porch balusters and window sills
cracking and alligatoring. The accurate identification of each
paint problem is therefore the first step in planning an appropriate
Paint surface conditions can be grouped according to their relative
- Class I conditions include
minor blemishes or dirt collection and generally require no
- Class II conditions include
failure of the top layer or layers of paint and generally require
limited paint removal; and
- Class III conditions include
substantial or multiple-layer failure and generally require
total paint removal.
It is precisely because conditions will vary at different points
on the building that a careful inspection is critical. Each item
of painted exterior woodwork (i.e., siding, doors, windows, eaves,
shutters, and decorative elements) should be examined early in
the planning phase and surface conditions noted.