Painting is generally the most expensive frequent repair a homeowner association deals with. Paint has a relatively short life (depending on the substrate, exposure to the sun and so on), yet it protects the siding and surfaces that are designed to last 30 years or more. If the paint or stain is not properly maintained the siding will look unattractive and limit the products lifecycle. The costs of siding and structural repairs are generally massive compared to painting. The failure to properly protect can have large capital expenses in the future.
Planning for routine inspection on an annual basis will provide the necessary budget and expectation for future painting maintenance. We routinely walk properties on an annual basis and provide suggestions for ownership over the next decade. In some cases, painting is no longer worth maintaining and siding replacement or changing the entire exterior to a different substrate may be a better option.
The most common problem for HOA’s built during the recent boom was low bidding syndrome. There are contractors that only bid new construction projects and have extremely low profit margins and this generally encourages cutting corners. Unfortunately, several years after the completion of construction, the entire project needs to be painted again.
Five years is generally accepted to be the most economically efficient time frame for a painting maintenance schedule. The best approach is to divide the scope of work into 5 equal portions and paint a portion every year.
50 Degrees Fahrenheit is the minimum temperature that most latex or acrylic paints should be applied. There are exceptions, but these products generally cost more and typically builders are not interested in the increase cost. Winter temperatures in many locations can fall below 50 degrees at night and this certainly is the case in mountainous areas like Park City. If the water based paint is applied below 50 degrees, it doesn’t have a chance to properly form and bond to the substrate.
We commonly recommend latex or waterborne paints and stains because they remain flexible and resist UV light longer than most oil based stains. Waterborne coatings don’t have the attractive value of oil, but in most cases the oil isn’t being maintained properly and isn’t providing in protective value. Most new construction contractors prefer oil because it can be applied at a lower temperature. While oil looks as good as waterborne and in most cases better, it fails sooner.
New wood should not be stained or painted until the moisture content is below 17%. If coated prior to the reduction in water content, stain failure is inevitable. This was the most common event we experienced in 2007, 2008, 2009 right after the completion of major projects in 2004-2007.
Failure to properly prime has to be at the top of the list for painted siding and failure to open the grain of transparent stains has to be second. In most cases just simply not preparing the surface prior to painting is standard practice in new construction.
So, as a rule, any new construction project completed in less than ideal conditions, will need to be repainted on an accelerated schedule. What this means to a new homeowner association is that the next repaint should be planned in half the normal time. Since the HOA will usually be paying for the cost of repainting, it is important to correct the past problems and develop a new specification.
Poor paint application can generally be remedied during the next paint application cycle, but using a professional contractor with more than two product life cycles (15 years) is recommended.
The good news is that a new specification can allow for accurate forecasting and dealing directly with a reputable company will provide you with the answers you desperately need.