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Doors & Windows

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I have paint peeling off of my interior doors and door casings on our Captiva home. Everytime I touch the surface the paint seems to peel off more. What is causing this? KR-Captiva Island

The last time your doors and door casings were painted, on your Captiva home,  they were not properly prepared. You probably have this same problem on your baseboards. They probably had oil based paint on them when they were originally painted and someone recently painted them with a latex paint.  What should have happened was to lightly sand, prime with bonding primer tinted to match your finish coat of paint, then paint surfaces with the latex paint.    You will either have to live with the peeling paint, or strip all the paint off and start over.  In some cases on some of my Sanibel and Captiva clients don't want the paint stripped due to the cost factor, I just paint over the surfaces with a premium oil based paint. This is not a cure all for the problem, but it seems to help hold back the peeling paint a little. 

I am thinking about doing some  painting on my Bonita Springs home and I  have a door on the side of my house that goes into my garage.  It is rusting pretty bad and I noticed that the wood at the bottom of the door casings where it meets the concrete is all rotted out.  What product can I use on the rust on the door and how concerned should I be about the rotting wood on the door casings?-Connie L-Bonita Springs

The rust that you see on your door is rusting from the inner side of your door outwards.  You can go to your local paint store and buy a premium rust inhibiting primer, prime the door then paint it with a premium oil enamel.  The only problem with this is that the door will continue to rust, and bleed through the paint. This solution is only abandaid.  I recommend replacing the door with a fiberglass door.  If you do replace your door I also recommend you have your pest control company check for termites, if you do not have a pest control company I highly recommend Keith Reubeling from Larue Pest Management.  Keith is well trained in detection of termites and hasinsepected many of my clients homes for for those pesky little termites.  As far as door replacement, to make sure it is installed properly I recommend Kathy Guyitt from DesignTech of Southwest Florida

My name is Frank and I am on the board of directors of a community association.  It is the homeowners responsibility to paint their own garage door.  Many of the garage doors in the community has peeling paint.  Would you come over to our association and tell us the cause of this problem.  Frank-Myerlee Assoc. Ft. Myers, Florida

Frank after looking at the garage doors it looks like the last person that painted the garage doors used an oil based paint on them.  With your garage door facing south, it is in the sun most of the day.  The metal on the garage door expands and contracts causing the paint to alligator and come loose.  Oil based paint does not expand and contract with surfaces.  It also looks like the previous painter did not properly prepare the surface for painting before they painted the garage doors, thus causing adhesion issues.   My recommendation is to pressure clean the garage door using a rotating tip to strip off the loose paint.  When dry go back and scrape the remaining loose paint, prime with a bonding primer and paint with Glidden Devflex acrylic hi-performance enamel in a semi-gloss finish.  This should hold up very well for you against the harsh Florida sun.

I had my driveway, front walkway, and garage door painted 1 year ago by a painting contractor.  The paint on my garage door is separating and starting to come off.  The paint on my driveway and walkway is also separating and peeling off.  Can you stop by my home and take a look at these areas for me and make recommendations on how I can get this resolved.  I have been calling the painting contractor that originally did the work, and he is not returning my phone calls.  Frank M.-Bonita Springs, Florida

I recently went and met with Frank at his home in Bonita Springs.  The garage door faces Southwest and it gets a lot of the sun.  The garage door was painted with a oil based exterior paint.  When the sun hit the aluminum door it causes the aluminum to expand and contract, but the oil based paint does not expand and contract with the door.  Thus it starts to alligator and the paint starts to separate and peel off. The sun also causes the oil based paint to chalk very quickly and loose color retention. I also found that when the garage door on your home was painted a year ago they did not seal in the chalky surface, that is another reason you are having adhesion problems.  I always recommend painting aluminum or fiberglass garage doors  that have a sound surface with a premium exterior acrylic latex.  Never oil based paint. To fix this problem I am recommending that the garage door be completely stripped down to the bare metal, washed down with vinegar and then rinsed with clean water.  Then apply a coat of acrylic exterior bonding primer to garage door.  Let set overnight.  The paint garage door with a coat of premium exterior latex in a satin for semi-gloss finish.

After looking at the driveway the issue is that the latest paint product that was put on over the existing paint coating is not compatible.  The first coat of paint is adhering with no problems but the top coat of paint is coming off.  The only way to fix the problem is to have the entire driveway and walkway sandblasted to remove all of the coatings on the surface and start over.  If we apply paint over the existing coating it will only stick as well as the existing coating is adhering to the first coat, and that is not adhering at all.  Once the driveway and walkway is sandblasted, we can then look at the surface and decide what needs to be done to apply a new coating to these surfaces.  My rule of thumb when painting driveways and walkways is if the homeowner can show me what was last used on the surface, then I always use the same product when I repaint.  If the homeowner can not show me what was previously used then I always put down a bonding primer and two top coats of a premium exterior deck paint or stain in a acrylic finish.  Not all acrylic deck paints are compatible with other acrylic deck paints, and acrylic deck paints are not compatible with Xylene based paints.  I have never had a problem putting one Xylene based deck paint over another Xylene based deck paint.  Epoxy finishes should never be used on the exterior of a building.  They do not hold up the the sun. When you do painting in Southwest Florida you always have to take into consideration how strong the Florida sun is, and what the surface will do after it has been painted.  If you use the wrong products or procedures this is when you have adhesion problems and or paint failure.  It is always a good idea to check with your local paint manufacturer like Sherwin Williams, Glidden, Benjamin Moore and speak with the store managers. 

garage door peeling paint

painting garage door

Ron, my home is 15 years old and when it was built I had hurricane windows and doors put on my home.  My home is on Sanibel and faces the Gulf of Mexico, it is exposed to the salt air, the window frames and doors are white and are fading and weathering really bad.  Can the exterior side of the window frames and doors be painted.  Fred L.-Sanibel, Florida

Yes Fred they can be painted. I have painted the exterior side of window frames and hurricane doors many times before. Here are some painting tips to remember when painting the windows or doors. You want to make sure they are cleaned properly, seal in any chalk that is still on the surface after they have been cleaned.  Make sure you use a premium acrylic bonding primer and a premium finish coat of paint. If you are going to do this yourself be sure and keep an eye out for the afternoon rains. Depending on the paint colors you choose the paint should last 7 years before having to repaint them. If you choose the right color to compliment your exterior house colors this can make a drastic change to the exterior appearance of your home.  This is also a good painting idea if someone wants to add curb appeal to their home if they are trying to sell their home.

I live in Bonita Springs on the Gulf of Mexico and I love to have the sliding glass doors and windows open all the time, I used to live up in Michigan and I just really enjoy the Florida weather. I rarely turn on my air conditioning.  By leaving my doors and windows open all day, how are my interior walls affected by the salt air.  Yvonne S-Bonita

Yes I know the Florida weather is great, especially if you live facing the Gulf of Mexico. Watch the blue skies, and the waves come in, looking for Dolphins.  It's great.  However there are several potential problems you need to be made aware of.  If you are noticing the outside corners of your walls starting to rust, that means your metal corner beads are being affected by the salt air.  Once they start to rust, it is very difficult to contain the rust.  They can be ground down, or sanded, primed with a rust inhibited primer then painted.  If you are noticing brown spots or black spots on your interior walls, that is from mold growing on your walls.  Especially check behind furniture and draperies.  That is where it will grow the most.  There is very little air movement behind these areas.  If you are going to have the interior of your home painted, and you are still going to have the doors and windows open all the time, a good painting tip is to use a premium exterior paint in a satin finish.  This exterior house paint can be used on your ceilings and walls, and a acrylic semi-gloss enamel on your trim. Most exterior paints have a mildecide in the paint, which helps prevent the growth of mildew on the painted surface. Before you paint you will have to have all of your interior walls, ceilings, doors, door casings, and baseboards washed down with a slight mixture of bleach and water to remove any surface mold.  Then rinse all surfaces with clean water.  This will stop the mold from growing under your fresh paint.  Also be aware that the salt air will affect your interior furnishing.  When you go on vacation, or when we get one of those driving rains, it would be a good idea to close up your home and turn on the air conditioning to help get some of the salt air and humidity out of your home.

 I once visited a condo in N. Naples to give an estimate and the homeowners were the same way.  When I arrived all of the interior walls in their home had black mold growing on them. I wiped a small area of the walls with a little bleach and water and it came right off.  I gave the homeowners the same painting tips.  Not sure what they ever did.

I have a new wood exterior primed front door.  The door will face west when installed and I want to paint it white.  I've tried both SW Duration Exterior gloss and SW Surface Enamel high gloss.  The door is on horses in my garage now.  Neither paint will flow nicely and the brush marks show badly.  I've sanded between coats.  The brush is a new nylon brush for latex paint. Thank you.  Will one paint work better than the other?  Should I add more mold inhibitor to the paint? Marilyn H.-Fort Myers

Both paints are premium paints.  The All Surface Enamel is an enamel, it has a harder finish.  Don't worry about any mildecide in the paint.  Latex enamels won't cause mildew to grow on the surface nearly as quickly as an oil enamel will, especially on a white.  Just mix a little Floetrol in the paint, that will help the enamel level out a little better. 

Don't paint in the sun, early morning or late afternoon, too much moisture in the air, and dew.  Depending on the style of the door, you might want to use a 4" foam roller to put your paint on, it will give you a smoother finish than a brush.  Latex paints don't lay down like oils, but oils don't hold up on wood doors.  I hope I have answered all of your questions.

I just had new fiberglass front doors installed on my Estero home, and I want to have them Faux finished to look like wood.  My Faux finisher wants to prepare the doors for the Faux finish.  What type of primer should I use on these new fiberglass doors.  Diane A-Estero 

Diane when priming new fiberglass doors the most important thing to do is contact the manufacturer and see what they recommend for a primer.  If the correct primer is not used then that may void your warranty. My recommendation is call your manufacturer.  From past experience when we paint fiberglass doors a acrylic/latex primer must be used.  We either use Sherwin Williams Prep-rite or Glidden's Gripper.  Once the doors are primed on the exterior side you must use a latex or acrylic finish coat on the doors, never,never, never use an oil based paint on the exterior side of the doors. I like using Sherwin Williams Resilience as a finish coat.  However on the inside you can use an oil based paint as well as a latex.  The inside is protected by air conditioning, where the outside is exposed to the elements and the oil based paint will not expand and contract with the fiberglass doors, thus you will have paint break down. Please remember to call your door manufacturer to see what they recommend

I have about 8 French doors on my rear lanai of my Fort Myers home and it seams like every week in the summer time I have to keep cleaning them.  I see this black stuff forming on the doors.  I am not sure what it is, or how I can stop this.  Evelyn J. Fort Myers

The black stuff that is forming on your doors is called mold.  The last time your doors where painted they were painted with an oil based paint.  Any oil based paint/varnish that is exposed to the Florida weather will cause mold to grow on the surface, and during rainy season it will grow rather quickly.  To stop this on a exterior door that is painted with an oil based paint what we do is wash off the doors with a solution of bleach and water, rinse thoroughly, and allow to dry.  Then lightly sand the door, and clean it off with a tack rag, and prime with one coat of Cover Stain oil based bonding primer.  Once the primer is dry then we apply a finish coat of Sherwin Williams Super Paint or Resilience in a gloss finish to the doors.  The latex paint will not attract the mold nearly as fast as the oil based paint, especially if you use a gloss finish.  Now you should only have to clean the doors maybe once a year.

I have a ThermaTru fiberglass wood-grained front door facing east here on NJ Seahore. Was gel stained which failed with peeling, etc twice. Scraped etc,and primed with good latex primer and then painted with Sherwin Williams Resilience . Did it twice over years and both times exterior bubbling occurred. I think I need to strip everything down to fiberglass with a stripper and then prime 2 coats and 2 coats Resilience again. Door gets heavy morning sun. 

Am I on right track?? I think the primer and paint did not adhere to the gel stain.

Pete M.-NJ

I am sorry to hear about your problem with your front door, however please don't feel like you are the only one that has this type of problem.  I run into this problem many times with homeowners here in Florida.  Homeowners pay a lot of money for a fiberglass door, however no one ever educates the homeowners on the right process to paint or stain front doors.  Personally I don't like to stain fiberglass doors, I always try to talk home owners into having them painted or even faux finish in a wood grain effect.  The problem with stain is it has no UV protection against the sun, and if it gets direct sunlight and the door is stained a dark color, the door gets hot and will bubble.

Your best bet is to strip the front door and remove all of the current finish on the door.Lightly sand, clean with a tack rag, and apply a coat of Glidden Gripper, a bonding primer on the door.  This product can be bought at most Home Depot's. The reason I recommend Glidden Gripper, is that it is a bonding primer, and the fiberglass door is actually plastic.  Paint does not stick to plastic, that is the reason for the bonding primer.  Check your paper work you received on the Thermatru door, it us usually in the spec's what type of primer to use, otherwise you warranty is voided. Once dry, lightly sand, clean with a tack rag, then apply your top coat of Sherwin Williams Resilience in a gloss finish.  You will probably need 2 coats of the top coat of paint.

Now please remember, the darker you paint your front door the more that color will absorb the heat of the sun.  This causes the door to expand and contract even more which can cause separation and bubbling of the paint.


Be sure and prime and paint both the top and bottom of the door.