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Class III: Exterior Surface Conditions Generally Requiring Total Paint Removal

If surface conditions are such that the majority of paint will have to be removed prior to repainting, it is suggested that a small sample of intact paint be left in an inconspicuous area either by covering the area with a metal plate, or by marking the area and identifying it in some way. (When repainting does take place, the sample should not be painted over). This will enable future investigators to have a record of the building's paint history.

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Peeling

Cause of Condition

Peeling to bare wood is most often caused by excess interior or exterior moisture that collects behind the paint film, thus impairing adhesion. Generally beginning as blisters, cracking and peeling occur as moisture causes the wood to swell, breaking the adhesion of the bottom layer.

Recommended Treatment

There is no sense in repainting before dealing with the moisture problems because new paint will simply fail. Therefore, the first step in treating peeling is to locate and remove the source or sources of the moisture, not only because moisture will jeopardize the protective coating of paint but because, if left unattended, it can ultimately cause permanent damage to the wood.

Excess interior moisture should be removed from the building through installation of exhaust fans and vents. Exterior moisture should be eliminated by correcting the following conditions prior to repainting: faulty flashing; leaking gutters; defective roof shingles; cracks and holes in siding and trim; deteriorated caulking in joints and seams; and shrubbery growing too close to painted wood.

After the moisture problems have been solved, the wood must be permitted to dry out thoroughly. The damaged paint can then be scraped off with a putty knife, hand or mechanically sanded, primed, and repainted.

 
 

Cracking/ Alligatoring

Cause of Condition

Cracking and alligatoring are advanced stages of crazing. Once the bond between layers has been broken due to intercoat paint failure, exterior moisture is able to penetrate the surface cracks, causing the wood to swell and deeper cracking to take place.

This process continues until cracking, which forms parallel to grain, extends to bare wood. Ultimately, the cracking becomes an overall pattern of horizontal and vertical breaks in the paint layers that looks like reptile skin; hence, "alligatoring." In advanced stages of cracking and alligatoring, the surfaces will also flake badly.

Recommended Treatment

If cracking and alligatoring are present only in the top layers they can probably be scraped, hand or mechanically sanded to the next sound layer, then repainted. However, if cracking and/or alligatoring have progressed to bare wood and the paint has begun to flake, it will need to be totally removed. Methods include scraping or paint removal with the electric heat plate, electric heat gun, or chemical strippers, depending on the particular area involved. Bare wood should be primed within 48 hours then repainted.