A Word on Durability and Aesthetics

Queen Anne Victorian Painted by Color Touch in 1995At Color Touch we know that there are two major components to any great paint finish: One is its aesthetic appearance and the other is its durability. We always try to provide the maximum of both ingredients, according to each client’s needs and expectations. We feel that great interior and exterior paint jobs should not only look fantastic but last a long time as well. This is why we adhere to sound painting principles and apply top quality materials. Below are a few examples of our strategy:

  • Always protect flooring, plants and personals, using approved lead abatement procedures when necessary.
  • Completely remove loose or imminently failing paint using high-quality scrapers, such as the "pro-prep" or "Sandvik" brands. On widely cracking surfaces, heat guns may be used.
  • Sand rough blemishes with a coarse grit of sandpaper. (We like 3x.)
  • Prime all bare wood using appropriate (interior or exterior) stain-blocking alkyd (oil-based) primers. Be sure to use a slow-drying alkyd primer outside for a more flexible base coat. Avoid fast-drying alkyd or shellac-based primers outside, as these are more brittle.
  • Fill gouges using epoxy fillers or the appropriate patching compounds.
  • After sanding, apply high-grade Elastomeric or urethane-reinforced caulking. For extreme movement, one may opt for industrial caulks such as Sika Flex or "Sonneborn". Never use Silicone caulk, as it is not paintable.
  • Re-prime entire surface using enamel undercoat for interior, or a high-grade acrylic primer for exterior. Always use the proper primer for each job. For instance, rusty metal requires an alkyd rust-neutralizing primer such as "rust destroyer", while galvanized metal requires an acrylic primer, such as ICI "gripper". Stucco surfaces with many hairline cracks will require an Elastomeric product for maximum waterproofing.
  • Finish with two high-quality finish coats. Add proper leveling agents such as "penetrol" for alkyd and "XIM" extender for latex.
  • CLEANUP! You are the proud owner of a great-looking, long-lasting paint job.

Exterior Painting Tips:

Start by CLEANING, which Entails manual scrubbing or 1500-2000 psi removal of dirt and other organic material from the building. If necessary, bleach is used to kill mildew, and we’d use a bucket and stiff bristle brush to remove any organic material left by the power washing process. Care must be taken not to use the power-washer near windows and doors so as to avoid getting water into the house. Window frames can be washed by hand. Allow to dry.

Exterior preparation

Jesse prepping a Noe Valley VictorianRemoval of the loose and peeling paint is probably the most important step in ensuring a long-lasting paint job. Paint that is imminently failing but not peeling may be removed using heat guns or chemicals. We prefer heat-gunning as chemical stripping can be messy and the results hard to control. We use high quality scraping tools, such as “Pro-Prep” or “Sandvik” carbide. Areas of degraded paint that are in risk of imminently failing, but are not readily scraped, should be removed using heat guns. The prepped areas are then be sanded to knock down the edges and prepare the surface for priming.

A word about LEAD: Before scraping or sanding lead-based paint one should take the proper steps to protect self, others and the environment. I won’t get into lead ordinances here. We follow proper lead abatement procedure, and use 4-6 mil. plastic, hepa-vacuums and particulate respirators.

* NOTE– In cases where you want to prep less, or wish to avoid creating a lead-abatement issue, you can improve your shot at durability by apply an (eco-friendly!) clear binding primer like XIM “Peel Bond” or Global Encasement’s “Prep LESS primer”.

A word about WINDOW GLAZING: Glazing takes over a week to cure before painting, so try to get your failed glazing removed, primed and re-placed as soon as possible.


Sand the scraped areas/paint edges to remove loose matter and minimize the profile to help prevent further peeling. Sanding can also be used to de-gloss shiny paint. However, if the pre-existing paint is highly glossy, then it is best to use a primer with high adhesion.

Filling Holes

Bottom line with filling is don’t use exterior spackle; it absorbs moisture and bubbles later on. Use epoxy fillers like bondo or better yet, the slower-drying but FAR superior “Restore-It”. You can find a ton of great fillers at West Marine or Tap Plastics! But first make sure the substrate is sound. If there is dry-rot present, or the wood is not solid, use a liquid wood hardener (We’ve used Zinsser clear binding primer as an eco-friendly alternative to the noxious “Restore-It” hardener.


We use urethane-reinforced caulking (55 year) to caulk all vertical seams and window/door openings. In challenging situations (Front Steps) we may use a poly-urethane caulk like “sika-flex”

Repairing Stucco

Make sure the substrate is clean and sound, (wash/prime first) then fill/bridge small cracks with flexible caulking or elastomeric patching compound as required. For larger repairs use a ready-mixed stucco patch, or a cement-based, rapid-setting stucco patch.


Try to pick an appropriate primer for the job. We like the acrylic multi-purpose primers that stick well, block stains and handle galvanized metal or recently cured concrete. Dunn Edwards “Ultra-Grip” and ICI “Gripper” come to mind.

As a San Francisco Painting Contractor, we see a fair amount of dry-rot repair, redwood trim replacement and deck re-finishing on the exterior painting jobs.

As for Dry-rot: In cases where the trim can be repaired, make sure remove the really rotted wood, then soak the affected area with multiple coats of a dry-rot hardener such as “restore-it”. Use a two-part marine epoxy as the filler. Often, It’s best to replace rotted wood completely. In San Francisco, old trim can be custom milled for an exact replica at Lowpensky Molding, if you provide them with a sample.

When re-finishing decks, several pointers apply: First, use a brightener to remove discoloration and stains. Next, power-wash the deck thoroughly (keep the tip fairly close to the surface, and use even strokes). Use a second round of brightener and more washing if needed. Finally, after a light sand and vacuuming, a clear decking stain (Cabot’s timber oil, penofin, superdeck) should penetrate the wood, but not sit on the surface. Avoid applying the stain in excess or in direct sunlight, and wipe off excess stain (excess stain will gell over, and create an un-even and unmanageable finish down-the-road. Be sure to dispose of stain-soaked rags in a container of water, or hang on a line to dry-- to avoid spontaneous combustion Soaked rags left balled up in a hot or sunny location will spontaneously burst into flame. I’ve seen it happen!………..

Interior Painting TipsColor Touch Painters on interior pain job

First, spend some time in choosing the right colors. Once you’ve done this, I recommend buying a sample and putting it up to make sure you’ve got it right. Very often, paint chips look different than the actual product on the wall.

Next, create a staging area in which to place your tools and paint. You can do this using a drop-cloth, or a layer of plastic sheeting taped down with blue tape and covered with a layer of rosin paper (commonly found at paint stores).

If you can, clear out all the furniture and accessories. Take everything off the walls. If you can’t move everything out, place the furniture and lamps in the middle of the room and cover them with a good drop cloth or sheet of plastic. Our preference is a sheet of high density plastic, re-covered by a drop-cloth. You can then cover the edges of the room using 3′ wide rosin paper. Tape the rosin paper down using blue tape, and dispose of it later. I recommend creating “walkways” into and out of the area to be painted, using rosin paper, so as to avoid “tracking” of paint.

It's always better to remove all door-hardware, pulls, hinges and switchplates before painting. Then store them in clean containers, with locations marked, for easy re-installation.

After sanding all surfaces to remove the (un) desired blemishes, fill small nailholes with lightweight (non-shrink) spackle, and larger holes using a home repair product like “bondo” which sets up in minutes. After sanding major blemishes, be sure to vacuum up the dust and then fill cracks along edges of trim.

Don't use roller trays. We recommend using 5 gallon buckets and 9″ roller grids for walls, and 1 or 2 gallon buckets for trim. in fact, bathrooms can be painted using a two-gallon bucket witha 7″ grid and roller. If your project runs over one day, you can cover these buckets using plastic grocery bags, and wrap your brushes in plastic. (leaving the brush in the bucket causes it to look like a banana).

Interior painting in Oakland, CaAvoid Using Tape!

It takes a tremendous amount of time to tape crown moldings, window frames and door frames, and then the results are often unpredictable due to “bleed through”. I recommend masking horizontal surfaces, such as baseboards, window sills and flooring to protect them from spatter, and then use gravity to help you “cut in” ceiling lines and vertical window and door edges. Practice your hand-eye coordination! It will pay off.




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