I told her “not to paint the vinyl columns”!

By anonymous.

While erecting 2 front porches in Farmington, Connecticut this past month a customer insisted on painting the white vinyl columns green with a second rate latex paint. I tried to persuade her that it wasn’t a good idea due to possible adhesion problems. Or at least wait until they were installed.

Sure enough the columns peeled and blistered as the construction continued. Now what an unsightly mess we had on our hands. The paint did not cure properly and now the columns need a lot of sanding to feather the damaged areas.

These columns were 125 dollars each and trying to persuade a customer not to do something doesn’t always work in a contractors favor. Fortunate for myself I was not the painter on this job and was not liable for the damage.

The painter prepared the columns with denatured alcohol which was recommended by the paint salesman. Whether this did more harm than good is the question.

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  1. Anonymous

    The key to success with Vinyl is proper cleaning, priming and paint at temp above 70 degrees. Better at higher temp and we have actually painted Vinyl siding with no primer at higher temp using exterior Valspar paint. I concur with you not to paint before installation. In fact, with the spayers today, we do not even paint molding before its installed anymore, especially mdf.

  2. Dale

    Did the homeowner even bother putting on a primer. Sometimes they (the homeowner) can just get in the way of a job looking its best. Most just don’t understand the work and necessary steps involved in completing a professionally finished project.

    As for the paint mess, I doubt that the denatured alcohol did anything but slightly etch the surface. Most likely the primer was either not correct or not enough time was given for the primer to properly cure. As for what should be done, the homeowner should either fork up for some new columns or finish peeling the paint from the entire column. I definitely would not just sand and skim the troubled areas and repaint as the rest of the column will eventually show peeling.

    The best way and the professional way would be to blast the remaining paint away with a 2000 psi gas power washer, but you’ll have to be careful around any wood trim as this high pressure would lead to damage. Good luck. Maybe you could post a sign on the property with the words “painted by homeowner”.

  3. Karl

    I don’t think the denatured alcohol was a problem. If anything it cleaned the surface. The main problem came from not using the proper primer, there are primers made just for vinyl.

    It really depends on what the manufacture recommends. Sometimes it’s best not to even try to paint something.

    It’s unfortunate that now you have to look at this mess. Even though you didn’t do the painting and probably have no involvement with the painter, you are still on the job and the person that built the porches. It just makes you look bad.

    In the end all we can do is make our recommendations and hope the customer makes a good decision.

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