We built a house on Panay Island in the Philippines. Here’s what we learned about paint and painting. One observation is that paint and painting were a larger expense than we expected. We used a huge amount of paint, including the dozens of gallons of epoxy primer on our metal roof framing.
These are the steps we followed in painting the walls.
1. The finished concrete walls need to cure from two weeks to a month before painting. The setting of concrete is a much longer chemical process than it seems.
2. The walls are treated with a neutralizer to reduce the alkalinity of the concrete. The quality and durability of the paint job depends on the concrete curing and being neutralized. We used Boysen #44 Masonry Neutralizer. This is diluted 16/1. Be careful with these neutralizers. They seem to be pretty strong acids. We applied the dilute neutralizer with an ordinary paint roller and pan. When the neutralizer is dry the wall can be washed down with water or sanded to remove any efflorescence caused by the reaction between the concrete and the neutralizer.
3. Next we primed the walls. We used Boysen B701 “Permatex” flat latex paint applied with a roller. It’s a bit counter-intuitive that the primer goes on before the filling of cracks, but that’s what Boysen recommends and my crew concurred. The Boysen website has detailed instructions on how to use its products
4. At this point, there probably will be lots of hairline cracks in the wall. That’s normal. This next step is to apply a very thin coat of masonry putty to the wall. We used Boysen #7311. It’s applied with a putty knife or a small piece of sheet metal serving the same function. The putty seems to be very similar to the gypsum joint compound used to fill joints in gypsum wall board. This water based material is NOT suitable for use on exterior walls. For exterior walls use the solvent-based Boysen Acrytex putty. We also used Acrytex in the bathrooms. Acrytex is a solvent based product which is harder and more unpleasant to use than the regular masonry putty. Your crew (or contractor) may be tempted to use the regular putty on the exterior of the building. Make them learn to use the Acrytex.
5. Once the masonry putty dries, the wall is sanded. We bought a Bosch GSS140A orbital sander at Far Eastern Hardware. I preferred the Porter Cable model I had in the U.S. The paper attachment system on the Bosch is a bit flaky.
6. When the sanding is complete and the dust cleaned up, it’s time for the finish coat. We are using Boysen “Permatex” gloss or semi-gloss latex paint.
Our steel casement windows, which were built on-site as described in another section, were primed with Boysen red two-part epoxy primer and then painted with Boysen Quick Dry enamel.
All structural steelwork (rafters, purlins, angle bar and exposed rebar) were also painted with the epoxy primer. Epoxy primer sets fairly quickly so it should me mixed in small batches. It’s important to supervise the crew to make sure they understand the correct proportions of the epoxy paint and hardener. It’s difficult to clean the epoxy out of brushes so we just bought inexpensive brushes by the dozen.
This post may sound like an advertisement for Boysen paint. We have had good luck with Boysen. We’ve experimented with other brands, especially since some of the others sold at the big hardware stores offer the convenience of pre-mixed colors. We tried some of the pre-mixed paints from Ace hardware and did not feel that the quality was as good as Boysen.
We’ve been buying our paint from Quezon Paints on Quezon Street in Iloilo City. Bring them a paint sample and they’ll do a good job of matching it. We are using a very light gray on the exterior of our house. The Quezon Paint worker worked so hard to make a perfect match using white gloss paint and black and Sienna pigments. He was a real paint matching artist! We bought most of our interior and exterior latex paint in 16 liter buckets. That way the chance of color consistency was better than trying to have individual gallon cans match each other. We also acquired the prized heavy-plastic pails the paint came in. Oil based paint comes in less desirable metal cans. Oh, yes — always ask for a discount when you buy anything.
This house gecko fell into the paint pail. Luckily it was latex paint. We took him out to the water pump, washed him off and he (or she) scampered away.
Our crew did most of the painting but we hired a professional painter to “paint” our door casings, doors and baseboards. Painting may not be the right description of what he does. It’s more like finishing furniture. It’s interesting that the wood is not stained. The pigment is all in the sealer and/or lacquer.
- First the wood is sanded.
- Then it is sprayed with Boysen pigmented sanding sealer and resanded and resealed as needed.
- Then it is sprayed with multiple coats of pigmented Boysen dead flat lacquer. This avoids the over glossy look we did not desire.
This finishing gave just the look we wanted — very similar to the furniture we eventually bought from Mandaue Foam. Based on our first year, it does not appear that this is a suitable finish for the outside of exterior doors.
These are Orowood brand “15 panel” doors. They cost P2650 each and are made of mahogany with many finger joints. We used this particular door everywhere except for the 100cm main entrance door as the 15 panel model was not available in that width. We have had no problems with warping.