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Exterior Painting

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I am in the process of getting house painting estimates for painting the exterior of my Southwest Florida home. I want to make sure that the paint job lasts longer that the one that I have now. Can you please help me with this? BB-Sanibel

Yes I would be happy to give you advice on how to make your exterior paint job last longer.  It is a very easy solution.

  1. Hire a licensed painting contractor with a good reputation.  Once you have chosen your  painting contractor call Lee County Contractor Licensing at 239-533-8895 and ask if they are licensed in the county and ask if there are any complaints against the contractor. Also make sure the painting contractor has current Workers Compensation Insurance and Liability Insurance.
  2. Make sure the painting contractor waits that all surfaces are dry and caulking and patching have cured overnight before applying paint.
  3. During the months of Dec thru Feb/March depending on the weather make sure no paint is applied after 3pm.  The paint will not cure in time before the sun sets and the evening due can cause the paint to run.
  4. Make sure the painting contract is applying a premium quality of paint.  Check with your painting contractor to see what manufacturer and grade of paint they use and then call the paint store and ask the manager what the quality of the paint actually is.
  5. Be careful on the color selection.  Many brilllant and deep colors fade out quickly.  Also check with the paint store manager to see what colorants are used in the color.  This is a big determining factor in how quickly your paint will fade out.  If your are having trouble choosing the color, please feel free to Ron's Painting at 239-275-0425 and we will be happy to help guide you in this process.

I am painting the exterior of my home in Cape Coral.  I am trying to paint a little bit every evening after I get home from work.  I am finding that when I get up the next morning everything I painted the evening before is still wet and the paint is dripping down the house.  What would cause the paint to do this.  Mike-Cape Coral, Florida

Mike I would recommend to you to wait until the week end to do your exterior painting.  The reason your paint is still wet in the morning is the dew we get this time of year.  A rule I have at Ron's Painting is that we stop painting the exterior of a home by at least 2 1/2 to 3 hours before sunset.  This will give the paint time to set up before the sunsets and the evening dew hits the fresh paint. In the winter months it does not get real warm outside and the sunsets so early and when you are painting the exterior of a home the evening dew is attracted to the fresh paint.  The dew then sets on the fresh exterior paint all night until the sun hits it the next day and dries the fresh paint.  Many professional painters do the exact same thing that you do and unfortunately the customer ends up with a very bad paint job.  Do your painting on the weekends when you have more time and stop by 4 pm.

I just had my home pressure cleaned by Coastline Window and Pressure Cleaning about a week ago.  I am going to try and paint the exterior of my home myself.  Coastline recommended I contact you with a question that I have.  They told me you were the painting expert. There is white powder like substance on my home on the stucco when I rub up against this.  Why didn't this come off curing pressure cleaning, I thought it would.  What is it, and can I just paint over it?  JM-Cape Coral

The white powder you are referring to is called chalk.  This is from the previous paint surface breaking down over the years from the sun.  Yes, pressure cleaning does remove some of it, but not all of it. You must seal in the chalk on the stucco surface before you paint stucco. If you rub your hand on your stucco surface and you have a lot of this powder on your hand then you need to go to your local paint store and ask for a clear chalk sealer.  If you have just a little on your hand then ask them at the paint store for a pigmented chalk sealer.  The professionals at Ron's Painting always use a clear chalk sealer.  You can't always check all of the surfaces on the outside of your home, and some places might have a lot more chalk on the surface then other places.  To be on the safe side we always use a clear chalk sealer.  You can apply it by roller, but I recommend either a airless or you can use a garden pump up sprayer.  It is thin just like water and cleans up nicely with water.  Be sure and read the directions.

 Good Luck with your exterior painting project.  Ron R. Ron's Painting-Fort Myers

Ron, I own a building in Fort Myers that needs to be repainted on the exterior. The building was built in the seventies.  Should I be concerned about lead based paint? If so what precautions should be taken during the painting process.  John L.-Fort Myers

John there are many precautions that need to be taken before you even begin the painting process. The first thing you need to have done is to check to see if there is any loose or peeling paint the on the exterior of the building. I would then call Candi Hilton at Florida Lead Testing to have your building tested for lead based paint.  They can be reached at 239.634.5133. Also visit them on the web at www.floridaleadtest.com. Once they test for lead based paint then you can determine weather you need to get a licensed painter that is a certified lead renovator or just a licensed painter.  A licensed painter that is certified to renovate lead based paint will follow the EPA's RRP rules. (Renovation, Repair and Painting).  Here is what you need to know about RRP a guide for contractors. 

Please keep this in mind.  If there is lead based paint your home or building and there is peeling paint, you can not even have someone come and pressure clean the building until the loose lead based paint is properly removed, contained and sealed.  The fines for not properly handling lead based paint is $37,500.

Ron, I see in another post regarding exterior house painting, you stated not to do exterior house painting after 3 pm during the winter months in Southwest Florida.  It is summer time and I just painted some handrails on my home on Sanibel, and woke up the next morning to continue painting, and the paint was still wet and running down the handrails. I did paint late into the evening due to the summer time heat. Does evening dew cause this even in the summer months?  I thought it would dry overnight and I could continue to paint in the morning.  What painting tips do you have for when to stop painting in the summer time on Sanibel.  Joe E.- Sanibel, Florida

Yes Joe, evening dew is still a factor in exterior home painting on Sanibel in the summer.  When we do exterior house painting in the summer time I watch the weather every morning to see what the daily forecast is for Southwest Florida.  I also have a laptop in my truck so I can check the current radar to watch for afternoon storms.  We always try and stop applying paint to the exterior of a home at least 1 hour before it is going to rain.  With the summer heat in Florida, paint will dry in that amount of time to withstand the afternoon rains.  However if there is no rain in the forecast, you still have to worry about the evening dew.  Many times when we arrive on site on an exterior paint job first thing in the morning and we can not paint anything up high due to the nightly dew.  The fascia on a home will be all wet from the nightly dew.  Depending on what time the sun sets, a good painting tip is to stop your exterior house painting at least 2-3 hours before the sun sets.  This is even a good rule of thumb to follow if you live up north.  I know 25 years ago when I did house painting in Toledo, Ohio I always stopped at least 3 hours before the sun set.  I hope by reading these articles I have given you some good painting tips.  Good luck on your exterior home painting project.

I have a home in Cape Coral that I purchased 6 months ago, and all of the paint is peeling off of my soffits. Can you please stop by my home and tell me what is causing the paint to peel off? Evelyn M-Cape Coral

The reason the paint is peeling off of your soffits, and fascia on your Cape Coral home is when it was painted last time they used an oil based paint on the fascia and soffits and it looks like it was brushed on.  I am also assuming that they did not properly prepare the surface, the soffits and fascia was chalky, and they painted over a chalky surface.  When you paint over a chalky surface it is like painting over dirt.  The paint will not adhere.  Also by using an oil based paint it will not expand and contract with the metal and eventually it separates and alligators.  That is exactly what is happening on your Cape Coral home.  The perfect cure for this situation is to have a Aluminum Contractor come in and remove the existing soffit and fascia and install new.  As a quick cheap fix, which I do not recommend, we can pressure clean the fascia and soffits to remove the loose paint, then wire brush to remove the rest of the loose paint then apply a chalk sealer to seal in the chalky surface.  The only problem is the paint that does not come off when we pressure clean and wire brush will come off at some time down the road.  Then when it comes off  the paint that we put on will also come off.  In a case like this I would not warranty the job.  Sometimes quick and cheap is not better.

I was sitting on my rear lanai enjoying the Florida weather and noticed my aluminum screen enclosure was turning a kind of gold/green color in spots. I was wondering if my screen enclosure could be painted, or if I had to replace it? John C.- Bonita

John, I am assuming that your screen enclosure is a bronze color.  When a bronze screen enclosure has been up for many years, the bronze will start to turn color in spots. Similar to the color you mentioned.  It does not necessarily turn color completely, but the areas that are exposed to the sun the most will turn color.  This does not happen to a white screen enclosure only bronze tones.  If you run your finger on the area you will notice how the color comes off on your finger.  That is the break down of the paint from the sun.  What we usually do is hand wash the screen enclosure using a mixture of bleach and water to remove dirt and algae, rinse with clean water, and let dry.   Then we will put a clear chalk sealer on the aluminum to seal in the chalky surface.  We will then paint it with a Direct To Metal Paint in a bronze tone.  There are several colors of bronze tone that can be used.  If you are going to replace your screen we can spray paint the screen enclosure, however if your screens are in good shape we paint the screen enclosure by hand.  Something else you need to keep into consideration, depending on how large a screen enclosure you have and how close your neighbors homes are to yours, many times due to over spray it can not be spray painted.

I just came down to my Sanibel home for the season and I looked at my back lanai ceiling and I noticed a crack in my drywall ceiling.  I looks like there is white tape hanging there.  Is this something that can be fixed, or do I need a whole new ceiling? I also see a lot of black staining on the ceiling, what could that be? Charlie A- Sanibel, Florida

What you are seeing is the tape joint between two pieces of drywall has come loose.  I find this issue on many homes when we are doing exterior painting.  If your ceiling has a skip trowel texture to it, what we do is remove the loose tape joint, seal in the drywall dust under the tape joint, put in a new piece using fiberglass tape.  We then smooth coat over the new tape joint with joint compound and allow to dry overnight.  The next day give it another light coat of joint compound, then apply a skip trowel texture to the  patch to blend into the existing texture.  After everything is dry, we then prime the area that is patched, and paint your entire lanai ceiling with a coat of Sherwin Williams Super Paint in a satin finish.
If your ceiling has a  knock down or orange peel texture we go through the same process, except we have to smooth coat the entire ceiling with joint compound and then apply a new texture to your entire ceiling.  The reason for this is knock down textures or orange peel textures are extremely difficult to match where you can not see where the patch is.  This is because when the surface was originally textured it was sprayed on with a machine, and to match it, the same process would have to happen.  We can come close, but we can not match exactly, that is why we do the entire ceiling.

The black staining on the ceiling is mold, which can be cleaned off with a bleach and water solution.  This is caused by all of the rain, heat and humidity that we have during the summer months. We would remove the mold before we patched the ceiling.  If the mold is painted over or patched over, the mold will continue to grow and cause further problems.   I would also recommend pressure cleaning the exterior of your home, this should always be done on a yearly basis.

Our condo is in the Florida Keys on the water...When is the best time to paint our building? Is summer too wet..does it matter Must we paint the every 7 years? Amber-Key Largo

I would say you can paint the exterior starting in March.  The weather down in the keys is a little warmer than Fort Myers area.  Not sure if they see cool weather or not.  In Fort Myers this year it has been so cold out and the days are so short I try not to do any painting in January unless it stays above 55 degrees at night.  Also the dew comes in early evening and keeps the building wet usually all night into late morning.  Summer is not too wet, as I paint exterior of homes during the summer all the time.  There is no rule that you must paint every 7 years, what determines how often you have to paint is mother nature, how well you maintain your building, the grade of paint used last time it was painted, how the contractor applied the paint, and the color used.  Once the paint starts to fail, and that can be determined when you wipe your hand on the exterior walls and you start seeing color on your hand which is called chalk, then it is time to paint, or if you start seeing peeling paint on your wood trim.  My average paint job last 7-12 years depending on the color chosen.  I would definitely use a premium grade of paint on the exterior of a home in the Keys, like Sherwin Williams Resilience, Duration, or Emerald. Watch my video on the home page of my website on "How We Do Exterior Painting"

I have a home with a deep lanai with hurricane shutters that can be lowered.  The lanai is painted the same color as the stucco walls of my home and it is very dark.  What can we do to lighten up this area and make it more inviting.  We love to spend time on our lanai and out by the pool but it is so dark.  I want my lanai to really pop...Chris-Estero

This is actually a conversation I had with my cleint while we were painting the exterior of their home.  As you can see from the attached pictures the stucco color is a Terra Cotta color which is dark and their rear lanai area was painted this Terra Cotta color.  So what we did we took the lighter color from the front of the home which was used as a banding color went 1 shade lighter and painted the lanai ceiling in this color.  Then we painted the walls the same color as the banding.  Which really lightened up the rear lanai.  However it still did not have that "pop" the homeowner was looking for.  So we then took the Terra Cotta and painted an accent wall around the knock out of the dinette, and painted the bands on the posts to give the lanai a little more color and gave it that "WOW" factor the homeonwer was looking for.  I believe they are also going to put up some outdoor draperies to give their lanai a more intimate feel.  Anytime you paint the exterior of a home you can always change up the colors inside your rear lanai, especially when you have a screen enclosure.  The screen enclosure gives you a stopping point to change colors.Rear lanai GrandezzaRear lanai Terra Cotta added


I was told by a painting contractor that they do not trench around the house when painting the exterior of a home since it could allow moisture under the paint and cause bubbling. They said that it is a dated practice, and that the better way is to use a shield at the border of the mulch/soil and the exterior wall and paint to that. That seems counter to what I have read, that trenching prevents moisture intrusion.


BTW thank you for your website. It is very informative.

Thank you!

Robert C.

I have been painting homes for over 40 years now, and I still pull back the soil a couple inches and paint the foundation. We pull back dirt using a hoe, let the wall dry, then paint the area. Once the paint is dry, I push back the soil. The main reason for this is the ground always settles around the foundation of a home and if you don’t paint it, you will be able to see the old paint color.


Keep looking for another painter, sounds like the one you interviewed is lazy.