What exterior preparation should I do for Winter?

Clear your gutters

Blocked gutters will force water to escape down the walls of your home rather than their intended downpipes.  Either hire someone, or climb up the ladder yourself, and get rid of all the build up and any blockages.  The effort will save water and frost damage to your brick or paintwork,

Seal any gaps

Check round your windows for draughty gaps and get them caulked up to prevent cold air from coming in. Upgrade to heavier curtains in anticipation, or seal up windows with one of the many temporary products designed to increase energy efficiency.  Check any holes where cables or pipes come through an seal any spaces you find.

Light up

Check your outdoor lights are all working for the long winter nights.  Outdoor lights are typically left on for long periods of time, buying ENERGY SAVER products and bulbs to light your outdoor pathways or porches can save a lot of energy.

Look after your pipes

Pipes and the cold water tank are at risk in winter, so get your attic insulated to prevent the risk of bursting.   Set your central heating to come on for a few hours or if you’re going away for any length of time have a neighbour call in to check that all is well.

Check the paintwork

Check for loose or damages paintwork.  Frost can get in and under cracks causing bigger problems.

Look upwards

Look out for missing or cracked tiles  and get them repaired before water gets in.

Chimney Checks

Check the chimney for any cracks or damage to the brickwork and get them repaired before the fire goes into winter mode.  Also make sure you have the chimney professionally cleaned.

Garden tips

Possibly not the right season for gardening tips – but the key one is to protect your garden furnishings.  Cover it up or bring it in.

What should I consider when choosing a colour?

The size of the house – light colours can make a detached home look larger, warm colours can reduce size. Use masonry paint colours on your garden walls to open up space.
The aspect – sunny settings can take cool colours, north facing houses need warmer hues.
Neighbouring buildings – an isolated house can take strong, bold colours, as can a busy high street terrace. Semi-detached buildings should complement one another, using monochromatic schemes to blend guttering etc.

Depending on the design of your house, you may need to consider three colours for your exterior. One for the walls, a complementary colour for sills and plinths and finally, gloss, or woodstain, for doors, frames and facades.

Can I paint brickwork?

With the exception of Fletton bricks, which is uncommon in Ireland, most brickwork can be painted. Prepare the surface as you would with any other masonry, ensuring it is clean and sound. Treat any sign of organic growth with fungicide or a weak bleach solution. Prepare chalky or powdery surfaces with stabilising solution.

When is the best time to paint outside?

It is important to choose a suitable day as exterior painting in especially cold weather (below 8°c) or extremely hot weather creates its own challenges with paint not drying or indeed drying too quickly. It’s best to keep an eye on the weather forecast for the week ahead before you start.

How do I pick the right colour combination?

First select your main wall colour from the colour brochure. The colours available in Smooth masonry have all been laid out in complementary palettes to make it easy to select colours to go on sills, plinths and quoins. To choose a contrasting or complementary trim paint for wood, metal or PVC-u, cut out the colour chips from the brochure and lay them next to your chosen wall colours.

You could also create a mood board by cutting out images you like from magazines and brochures. Compare these inspirational images to the colours available in the Sandtex brochure and choose from there.

How do I know how much paint I need?

All Sandtex products have their spreading rate on the pack of pack or summarised in the colour brochure. Alternatively use the handy calculator tool on this website.

What should I look out for before starting my project?

Before you start, always check for the following and plan accordingly.

  • Old flaking or blistering paint
  • Worn or damaged surfaces
  • Cracks
  • Damp and fungal growth
  • Unstable chalky surfaces
  • Consider access to out of reach areas and the need for ladders or towers
  • What protection is required e.g. dustsheets, masking tape etc.

Can I try a sample before committing to a full purchase?

Yes, all Sandtex Smooth Masonry colours are available in handy 150ml sample pots so you can try out your colour on you home to make sure it’s just right for you. If you would like to visualise how the whole house would look, try our MyRoomPainter app (free for Apple and Android) which will let you virtually paint a picture of your house in any Sandtex colour.

Will my finish restrict the colour choice?

Not all colours may be available in the finish you require. Ultra smooth masonry paint is suitable for most surfaces, covers large flat areas fast and is available in all ready mixed masonry colours. Fine textured masonry is ideal for covering imperfections and cracks but is only available ready mixed in magnolia and white. You can extend the colour offer for both finishes by hundreds when you visit a colour mixing stockist.

How do I remove flaking old paint?

Complete all stripping and rubbing down before you start painting so that dust and flakes will not fall on wet surfaces. Start from the top and work down, clean out gutters and paint if necessary.

When removing old flaking masonry paint, use a scraper where possible then for small flakes a stiff bristle brush will remove residual flakes. It is important NOT to use a wire brush on the masonry surfaces as metal particles can become embedded on the surface, these react to the water based masonry paint thus resulting in potential rust spots that will make the walls look unsightly. When removing old paint it is recommended that you wear safety goggles / glasses, gloves and a mask, this will reduce the risk of damaging your eyes or breathing in dust particles.

Can I paint over mould or algae?

No, it is important to thoroughly treat contaminated areas of mould, or other organic growth, as it will come through newly painted areas. Initially remove any surface contamination with a scraper then use a stiff bristle brush. Once the surface is sound you must apply a fungicide solution, these should be diluted with water according to the pack instructions. As they are usually a bleach based material, for safety, use gloves and goggles or safety glasses.

Apply the fungicide solution to the affected area plus an overlap to ensure the solution penetrates the surface and kills the organic growth. Again check the manufacturers pack instructions as to the recommended time prior to painting over the fungicide solution, this is usually 24 hours. This will ensure a clean surface for a better adhesion of the masonry paint.

Mould tends to grow in damp conditions so it is important to deal with not just the mould problem but also the cause of the problem as this could be a leaking gutter concentrating water on the wall creating a damp area.

My walls feel powdery to the touch, do I need to use a primer?

One of the problems that can occur when painting an exterior wall is that of a chalky / dusty unstable surface. If you apply paint without effectively treating this problem the paint will dry and stick to the loose dust particles and not get a sound adhesion to the wall resulting in the paint blistering and failing.

Wipe the wall with your hand and if you have dusty particles on your hand then you will require to use a stabilising solution. The stabilising solution is very easy to apply using a 3” brush direct to the surface, allow to dry for 24 hours prior to painting. The solution seals and stabilises to allow for good adhesion of the masonry paint, it also allows the paint to cover further.

Why is the paint on my wall bubbling and lifting away?

This is a problem know as blistering and results from localised loss of adhesion, and lifting of the paint film from the underlying surface. There are a number of causes, but primarily underlying moisture is the issue. Moisture escaping through the exterior walls is less likely to affect water-based paint, but more so with solvent-based. Other causes can be painting a warm surface in direct sunlight or an under bound / powdery substrate beneath older paint coatings

To fix the problem, first scrape off the blisters. If you can see the substrate, the problem is due to moisture. To resolve the issue off blisters originating at the substrate, try to remove the source of moisture.  Ensure any underlying chalky / powdery surfaces are fully stabilised. If you find paint, then it could be a solvent blister and is probably caused by painting with an oil base or alkyd-base coating in hot weather. If blisters do not go all the way down to the substrate remove them by scraping, and identify and cure any underlying defects.

I have fine cracks in my paint surface. What caused that?

Cracking is the splitting of a dry paint film through at least one coat, which will lead to complete failure of the paint over time. Causes can be over thinning of the paint (or spreading it too thin) and painting under excessively cool or windy conditions that make water-based paint dry too fast. It may be possible to correct cracking that does not go down to the substrate by removing the loose or flaking paint with a scraper or stiff bristle brush (not wire), sanding to feather the edges, priming any bare spots and repainting. If the cracking goes down to the substrate remove all of the paint by scraping, sanding and/or use of a heat gun. Then prime and repaint with a quality exterior water-based paint.

Areas of paint are coming away from my wall and find a sort of white powder underneath. Do you know why?

It sounds like this is a case of efflorescence, where salts originating from the bricks, concrete blocks, concrete, etc. are brought to the surface by water drying out or excess moisture escaping through the exterior masonry walls from behind. Active efflorescence is likely to push off any type of sealer or paint coating. Other likely causes are ground salts contamination due to a broken / missing damp proof course.

To resolve, if excess moisture is the cause, eliminate the source of the moisture. If moist air is originating inside the building, consider installing vents or exhaust fans, especially in kitchen, bathroom and laundry areas. Then remove the efflorescence and all other loose material with a stiff bristle brush. Allow to completely dry out and continue brushing and removing the salts until they cease to appear. The substrate may be washed using a dilute vinegar solution in order to neutralise the alkalinity. Once dry, repaint.

I have a specific colour in mind but I don’t see it on your colour card?

Many Sandtex stockists provide a colour mixing service, so if you don’t see the colour you really want in our ready mixed brochure, call into your local colour mixing stockist where you will have a choice of hundreds more colours that can be mixed for you while you wait.

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