Q: About four years ago, my sons painted my house. They pressure-washed and scraped and sanded one weekend, and painted the next weekend. Subsequently, blisters appeared in the paint in several areas. Last summer I had a professional painter repaint the house, again washing one weekend, along with scraping and sanding, and painting the next weekend. Now the whole house has blisters in the paint, and the paint is coming off the edges of the siding. Incidentally, I also had a new roof put on. The roofer removed three layers of shingles, replaced some plywood, and added additional vents. Do you have any ideas? Should I hire a home inspector? –Sandy A.
A: Blisters behind the paint are caused by moisture trapped behind the paint film. From what you describe, there are a couple of things that could be causing this. You mentioned that in both instances of repainting your house, the painters pressure-washed first. It’s essential that the wood is completely dry before painting, and it may be that too much water was used and the siding did not dry out sufficiently before the paint was applied.
You also mentioned that you had a new roof put on. Since there were three layers of roofing on the house–a very poor roofing practice–and since plywood had to be replaced and vents added, there was obviously a moisture problem related to insufficient attic ventilation and roof leaks. You may still have damp attic insulation, or even damp framing. Any of this could certainly lead to a moisture buildup that is affecting the entire house, and which is not allowing the siding to dry sufficiently for proper painting.
You could hire a home inspector to make a complete inspection of the home, with a particular emphasis on moisture problems. Be sure you talk with the inspectors in advance to be certain that they understand the exact nature of the problems you’re having, and that they have the proper moisture metering equipment to check the house.
The other alternative would be to have an insurance restoration contractor inspect the house. These types of contractors have extensive experience with moisture problems, and will definitely have the proper equipment for moisture testing. You can get recommendations for a good restoration contractor from the agent who provides your homeowner’s insurance, and many will do consulting work for an hourly fee.
Q: The hydraulic arm that closes the door has damaged my doorjamb, and a big chunk has broken off. This is a pre-hung door, and the rest of the frame is fine. Is there a way to replace just one side of the frame? –Art R.
A: With a pre-hung door, the top and two sides that make up the complete frame are nailed or stapled together at the top, through the side jambs and into the head jamb on each side. The configuration of the pieces, and the fact that there is also a sill on the bottom, makes it very difficult to cut the fasteners and separate the pieces while the frame is still in place.
Instead, you will need to remove the pre-hung unit, which is not as difficult as it may sound. First, remove the door from its hinges, then remove the interior and exterior moldings. Use a reciprocating saw with a metal-cutting blade (if you don’t own a reciprocating saw, you can rent one), slip the blade between the backs of the jambs and the studs, and cut the nails that hold the frame in place The entire pre-hung unit will now slip out of the opening.
Replace the broken jamb leg with a new one. Slip the unit back into the opening, replace any shims that were there to keep the frame square and plumb, re-nail the frame in place, and then replace the moldings and door. Incidentally, when you reinstall the door closer, use screws that are long enough to penetrate through the jamb and into the studs. This will help keep the closer from pulling out again in the future.
Q: Can you tell me how to remove water spots on my windows? I’ve tried everything I know. –Carol S.
A: One suggestion would be to try a solution of one part distilled water to one part distilled white vinegar. Spray it on while the glass is cool, and wipe with a soft cloth. If the glass is actually etched with the water spots, then it will need to be polished. You can try steel wool, or talk to your local glass company about buying a commercial glass polish.
Remodeling and repair questions? E-mail Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org.