Maintenance FAQs

Can mildew be permanently avoided?

No. Mildew can grow in any area that is dark and moist with limited air movement. Paints can be formulated to inhibit mildew growth, but under some conditions mildew eventually will reappear on any type of paint. A cleaning or maintenance schedule is the best protection in such environments.

What can I use to clean a surface that has already been painted?

Maintenance cleaning is vital to the overall service life of a painted surface. However, when selecting a cleaner, be sure to use a non-abrasive cleaner. If cleaning a waterborne paint, avoid products that are ammoniated. Mild, soapy water will generally suffice. However, always test the cleaning solution in an inconspicuous area to ensure that it does not damage the paint film.

What is the best way to touch-up or repair a wall?

Touching up an existing painted surface can be challenging – professional painters wrestle with this constantly. Ideally, use paint from the same can that was used originally, but reduce it about 10% to 15% with the reducer recommended on the can.

If you are touching up walls on which the paint was applied with a roller, use a small trim roller. If the paint was brushed on, use a brush.

Apply a small amount of the touch-up paint and “feather” the edges, starting at the outside edge of the touch-up area into the center of the area. “Feathering” entails drawing the brush across the area outside of the touch-up onto the new paint to create a transition that diminishes the appearance of the touch-up. If the surface had to be patched, use a primer sealer. Try to prime and paint to a natural break. Please note, though, that sometimes repaired areas may be noticeable. In this event, painting the entire wall may be the best option.

How can I clean a surface with mildew in preparation for a fresh paint job?

There are various cleaners on the market that are specifically designed from the removal of Mildew. Many of these work quite well, however, a bleach and water solution will also work.

Wash mildewed areas with a solution of one part household bleach and three parts water. This will destroy mildew and bleach stains caused by mildew growth. Apply solution by brush or a garden sprayer apparatus. Heavy mildew may require additional applications, and scrubbing may be required. Flush area with clean water (before the solution dries) to remove bleach solution. Allow the surface to dry thoroughly. Be sure to use protective clothing and goggles to avoid contact with the solution. Do not mix bleach with other chemicals.

Please note that these steps address the mildew problem only. Any other contaminants may require cleaning by other means.

What can I use to clean an exterior surface prior to painting?

In general, a detergent cleaner such as a TSP Substitute or a PrePaint Cleaner can be used. Be sure to wear all recommended safety equipment when working with these cleaners. Do not mix any other chemicals with these cleaners. Please note that some of these products could affect the overall finish on the existing surface and should only be used if you are planning to repaint the surface.

How can I remove the white, chalky material that is developing on my masonry surface?

This sound like efflorescence. Efflorescence is often seen as a white, fluffy deposit of salt crystals on cementitious wall surfaces. It depends on the presence of salt and moisture. The growth of crystals will continue as long as both elements are present. The salts are present in the mortar blocks or concrete structure and the moisture is usually attributable to some building defect. When emanating from mortar in brick or block buildings, efflorescence will appear as narrow bands corresponding to mortar joints.

Painting should be delayed if efflorescence continues. Salts should be removed by mechanical brushing. The use of water (at high pressure) to remove efflorescence is not recommended as it may exacerbate the problem. Repair areas where moisture penetrates the wall. Allow walls to dry thoroughly prior to priming.

How do I wash my freshly painted wall?

To assure maximum washability and durability, wait at least two weeks before washing the dry paint film. Avoid any abrasive or harsh chemical cleaners as these could damage the paint film.

Concentrated Cleaners (Liquid or Dry):

- Read all package directions before using. It is always recommended to test any cleaner on a small, inconspicuous area prior to use.

- Mix or dilute the cleaner per package instructions. Solution strength may be adjusted depending on amount and type of contaminant.

- Remove any heavy debris and contaminants.

- Using a sponge or cloth, wash surface dirt and marks.

- Do not allow the cleaner to dry on the surface.

- Always clean from the bottom of a wall to the top.

- Rinse the surface thoroughly.

- Repeat if necessary

- Premixed Spray Cleaners:

- Read all the package directions before using. It is always recommended to test any cleaner on a small, inconspicuous area prior to use.

- Turn spray nozzle to desired spray pattern (open with nozzle facing away from you).Remove any heavy debris and contaminants

- Apply the cleaner to the dirt and marks (apply just enough to wet the area).

- Using a damp sponge or cloth, wipe to remove the surface dirt and marks and any excess cleaner. For difficult stains, some scrubbing may be necessary.

- Do not allow the cleaner to dry on the surface.

- If recommended on the label of the cleaner, rinse the surface.