Best Way to Paint a Commercial Building

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  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Estella in Alaska is on the line with a question about how to paint a commercial building. What’s going on at your money pit?

    ESTELLA: We just purchased, actually, last month a strip mall. And they built in 1984.

    TOM: OK.

    ESTELLA: And our fascia part is aluminum and metal all around the building. And the front is, I think, clear-coated wood siding. I think at that area maybe it must be very popular.

    TOM: OK.

    ESTELLA: And the boards are so faded. It looks so ugly. I’d like to paint it, the fascia part, a metal and clear coat. I don’t know. Some people say stain, some people say clear coat on the wood.

    TOM: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

    ESTELLA: And I’d like to get rid of all that, put really nice paint over it and brighten up the building and the model looking …

    TOM: OK. Well, if the siding itself has a clear sealer on it or a clear coat, then staining it is going to be very difficult. Because stain relies on the absorptive qualities of the wood. And if it was sealed, you’re not going to get it all out because it’s down deep in the pores.

    In that case, you’re better off just sanding it lightly, putting on a primer to paint a commercial building. And that’s really important. You have to make sure that your painter applies a very good-quality primer. I would recommend a solvent-based primer, which is like an oil-based primer, because it has the best adhesion, the best sort of stickiness. And then once the primer has dried good, then you could put a topcoat over that of whatever kind of paint you want. But if you don’t do it in that order, what’ll happen is that paint won’t last nearly as long and you’ll find yourself doing this over and over and over again.

    So it sounds like a beautiful building and a nice project but you’ve got to paint a commercial building correctly. Because if not, the paint won’t last. You’ll get a lot of peeling and that’s going to kind of make you pretty sad after doing all this work.

    ESTELLA: Oh, I see. OK.

    TOM: OK? Because the primer is different than the topcoat. The primer has different qualities. It’s sticky, it adheres really well to the base – in this case, siding – and the topcoat, which is where you have the color, sticks to the primer. But if you just put the paint on over the wood as it is now, it probably won’t stick because it also has that clear coat underneath it. And you’re just not going to get the absorption.

    ESTELLA: Oh, I see.

    TOM: OK?


    TOM: Good luck with that project.

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