Paint: It’s not just for looks!

Can a few gallons of paint save you big bucks? Yes! A good paint job is worth its weight in gold. Read on to see how to prevent water damage and mold in your Florida home.

It was a multi-million dollar home in Delray Beach. A lovely sprawling home with lavish 8-foot tall hand carved wood doors and a scenic view...and a mold problem. Sadly, the new owner has not even lived in the home yet. They just bought it. Even worse, mold remediation had (supposedly) already been completed. Ugh. The remediator skipped the first and most important step: Find the cause of the mold problem, then fix it.

What lurks behind door #1?

George was called to find the reason for the nasty mold odor. As soon as he walked in, the mold smell smacked him in the nose

There were many issues with this house. Much of the water damage was not obvious. But, that's why we take time to find the cause of the problem before starting mold remediation. George found active roof leaks, windows leaks, air conditioning system failures, missing insulation and the least noticeable but most extensive problem: failed paint. Yes, paint.

Many people look at paint as purely cosmetic. After all, it makes your home attractive and stand out (or blend in, depending on your HOA rules!) in your neighborhood. But, paint is your first line of defense against water. Think about it. No matter what material your Florida house is clad (wood, stucco or fiber cement board) it needs to be painted. (Note: Brick, stone, aluminum and vinyl sidings are not common materials in Florida. Brick and stone hold the heat…who needs more of that? Aluminum and vinyl siding simply don’t hold up to the sun and rain.)

What is the P in paint for?

Paint is a protective coating for the siding materials. In fact, the paint industry is referred to as the protective coatings industry. (I can geek out on that, but for more info check out PCApainted.org for residential and commercial coatings and SSPC.org for industrial and marine coatings.)  Coatings protect the siding that protects the building structure that protects the living space…and you. The layers are in place to ensure a comfortable living space and help the house structure last for many years.

In the case of our Delray Beach home, the paint had become dry and chalky, and allowed water to seep into the stucco. The stucco then cracked, allowing water to pass through to the plywood beneath. Guess what happened next? The water caused the plywood to rot. As the plywood continued to absorb water, rot and mold, the water was absorbed by the drywall inside the house. Although the dampness was not visible to the naked eye, George used his years of experience and trusty FLIR e-75 infrared camera to find the hidden moisture. Then knowing where to look, he went outside and spied the stucco cracks and the extent of the water damage to the exterior. After a mere 15 years, this house will need so much more work than it should…all for the want of a paint job.

Paint now or pay later?

So, brush off the paint (pardon the pun, I couldn’t resist) and get to it. George says go outside on a sunny Florida day and take look at your paint. Is it chalky? Peeling? Cracked? If so, take steps to stop the water damage before it starts. A bit of maintenance goes a long way.

Need a good a painter? Call us 561.693.8955. We have several excellent painters who can help. We’re always happy to share our resources with you.

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