Randy Wadleigh uses his 30 years of painting experience to address some common topics of concern and questions frequently asked by painting customers. If you would like more information or have other questions not listed here, please e-mail us. Thank you.

Products used by Wadleigh Painting

Choosing Colors

Latex vs. Oil Paints

Hardboard and composite siding failure repair ... you do not have to replace the siding!

Preparing your house for a paint job

What to do after a paint job

What if it rains?

How long between power washing and painting?

Choosing colors

Picking colors can be very frustrating. To make your job a success, here's one thing we insist you do:

After you have chosen a color from the color brochure it's very important to see the actual paint on your house. The problem is that colors never seem to look the same on the house as they do on the paper samples supplied by the paint companies.

A few things to consider:

1.COLORS ALWAYS SEEM LIGHTER ON THE HOUSE. Even though the paint color actually matches the paper sample most people see the color as lighter on the house.

2. Find a house with colors you like and knock on the door. Most people will be flattered you like their colors enough to ask them what they used.

3. Take into consideration other factors like roof color, the landscaping, brick work and mortar color, and where to apply trim color. Consider the design of your home. What are the main architectural lines? Consider accenting just the main features of your house

4. Consider the neighborhood. Is there a color theme?

6. Anything goes..There are no rules as to what should be painted what. Most house color schemes will include two colors: body and trim. Body being the siding and eaves..Trim being gutters, facias, window trim, corner boards, door jams, downspouts, etc. Sometimes the only trim we do might be the facia boards. Sometimes it might be the facias and the window wraps only. It goes back to the design and your taste.

7. Consider a third color (accent) as a great way to show off a design feature etc. Keep in mind the more colors you have the more the cost of the bid will be. A great way to add a third color without Wadleigh Painting charging for it would be choosing a third color for the front door. We have to buy a separate paint anyway for the doors so why not have it be an accent color.

8. Stock color versus custom colors Stock colors or colors that are pre-mixed and you can buy off the shelf tend to hold their colors better. Colors that are mixed in the store are tinted with universal colorants They are a greasy waxy, almost like a liquid crayon product that are great for tinting most colors. One of the down sides to the darker colors is that they tend to fade quicker than the factory made colors. Paint manufactures use more stable tinting ingredients for their stock colors. Most paint companies have resorted to only having mixed colors because it of the cost involved. As of right now only Kelly-Moore and Parker Paints provide stock exterior colors

Get paint samples. Wadleigh Painting can make arrangements for you by ordering your chosen colors and for you to purchase them at my price. Usually getting a quart is the cheapest way to go. You will have to buy the quart from the paint company. We can also make arrangement for you to get a small throw away foam brush if needed. If it is a stock color and you don't damage the can you can usually return the quart or gallon for your money back. Mixed colors cannot be returned. That's why quarts are a cheaper way to go. It's a small price to pay for the peace of mind you have chosen the right color.

Once you get the sample quart home paint a little on here and there around the house. You will be surprised at how the color seems to change with the different light exposures. Most people are surprised at how different the color looks on the house than the sample.

Latex vs. Oil Paints





• Fast dry.

• Shrinks more when drying, creating more surface stress.

• Better fade resistance.

• More temperature sensitive.

• More chalk-resistant.

• Less adhesion to chalk and dirt.

• Breathes; less blistering.

• Can stain with water-soluble contamination.

• Retains flexibility longer.

• Softer, normally not used in high traffic areas.

• Tolerant on alkaline surfaces like masonry.


• Will not yellow.


• Resists mildew better.


• Clean-up with water.


• Good on galvanized metal.







• Less shrinkage.

• Turns brittle with age.

• Low temperatures have less affect.

• Slower dry than latex.

• More durable in high traffic areas.

• Colors fade faster.

• Seals stains better.

• Chalks faster than latex.

• Holds rust better on steel.

• Tight film blisters faster (won't breathe).

• Better adhesion on dirty or chalky surfaces.

• Yellows with age.


• Peels on galvanized metal.

A lot of people approach me when choosing between the two basic kinds of house paint (oil versus latex) and say something like “grandfather used oil paint on his house and it worked good so that’s what I want to use”. The paint grandfather used was indeed an oil and it did perform well. This is not true any more. The main difference between grandfather’s oil paint and the oil paint available now is there is no longer lead added to the oil paint. It was the lead that gave oil it’s ability to last for years, hold it’s colors etc. It really was a great paint. Ever since the government ordered the lead to be removed in 1978, paint manufacturing companies have been scrambling to find a suitable substitute for the lead. To this day they have found nothing that comes close to resembling lead. Oil paint is a mere shadow of itself.

The chart above gives a great overview of the differences between latex and oil paints. These differences can be used to your advantage! And what differences there are! Oil paints seal stains better but tend to crack under temperature changes. Oils make the best stain killers for interior work, but outside latex stain killers shine! Oils make the best primers for "rusty" metals, but latex primers are superior for galvanized metals. Not surprisingly, painters have personal preferences based on a mix of experience and superstition. Some swear by latex paint for trim and doors, while others would rather give up their firstborn than use anything but quality alkyd paints on these wood surfaces! Confused? Don't be... the trick is to be open-minded. One thing is without a doubt. Latex paints with acrylics are used more often on exteriors than oil. It’s plain to see why…when you add up the advantages latex paints come out ahead.

Paint failure. Acrylic latex paint versus oil base paint

Whether we are talking about real wood or one of the many composites, paint failure eventually will happen. Some of the causes of paint failure are due to flexing, moisture, cracking, shrinking, expanding and twisting with the everyday temperature cycles, freeze and thaw cycles, wet and dry cycles. Also the ultraviolet rays of the sun play a big part in causing paint failure.

When you take every condition a paint film has to deal with and figure out which type of paint can better deal with the condition the acrylic latexes come out on top for most of them, not all but most. Once again the acrylic latexes will out-perform oil base paint on just about every level.

Yes, oils are helpful but we tend to use them more often as primers than topcoats. There is a market for oil base solid stains though. It’s actually used a lot in the new construction residential market. Painters find it useful for saving money on big projects. Instead of priming a house, then applying an acrylic top coat, painters will just apply one coat of solid body oil base stain saving money and time. Of course the job would not be as good as if it was primed and top coated.

Some people like oil base paint on interior trim. In regards to interior trim, some people like the feel of an oil paint. It’s a little smoother to the touch. It’s also a harder finish (not as porous). Dirt has a harder time being trapped in the finish resulting in a surface that is easier to clean. Another nice thing about oil paints is their ability to “level” or “flow”. This results in a smoother finish with fewer brush marks. It also means you have to “baby sit” whatever you are painting because after you have finished painting the paint will continue to flow resulting in sags etc.

On the other hand oil paints tend to yellow so bad that in a couple of years it will change color from a bright white to a yellow white. For some people this is quite a surprise and very unacceptable. Sometimes the color scheme requires a yellowish off white in the first place so a little yellowing isn’t as noticeable. Also some people find the odor from oil paints to be lingering and so strong that it can be disruptive for days and days.

Hardboard and composite siding failure repair ….You do not have to replace the siding.

During the 90’s composite and hardboard siding (LP siding) was very popular in the housing industry. Unfortunately the manufacturing process of the siding was discovered to be flawed. Around 1996 (around the time of the law suit with LP siding) Louisiana Pacific redesigned the siding correcting the problem. There are a few manufactures that had similar problems. Louisiana Pacific (LP), was the most publicized. There was also the Weyerhaeuser Company that made composite boards also. There are a few more but were not as popular. They all have had the same kind of failure.

The problem was that water was able to penetrate the siding through the drip edges (on horizontal siding, it’s the bottom edge of the board) or anywhere the siding had a break in the surface: nail heads, butt joints, tears etc. Once water penetrated the siding it would swell up causing warping, rot, mildew, fungus and eventually fall apart. Not a good siding material for the wet Northwest. LP has since double primed the drip edge and tapered it so water has a harder time hanging on.

Wadleigh Painting Co has proved that the “drip edge repair system” works. I have been back to inspect the work I’ve done on jobs from the early 90’s and have not seen any cracking, splitting of the repair job. Yes, sometimes the siding is so bad replacement makes sense but most of the time we can save your siding.

Wadleigh Painting has been repairing LP siding successfully since the early 90’s. We have repaired countless homes that had partial failure or complete failure. Often the siding failure on a house with LP siding would be found only on the south and west sides.

Our repair is straight forward and simple. First we caulk all the butt joints and nail heads that have broken the surface of the siding. We have found that caulking the butt joints using a good elastomeric or a poly-urethane caulk was the only caulk that would last in butt joints. Butt joints have extreme expansion problems.

Then we apply an “elastomeric coating” very liberally to all the affected drip edges. The small splits and pin holes on the drip edges when the siding is just starting to fail can be saved by applying one coat of the elastomeric. To save the siding with the big splits we apply two coats. Each coat is brushed on by hand as thick as possible and laid off to make it look good.

After the elastomeric is applied the house can be painted in the traditional way using the two coat system. The first coat is sprayed on paying special attention to the drip edges then back rolled and then back brushed. ….making sure the drip edges are thoroughly brushed in. Please find more information at http://www.sidingsolutions.com/infopages/Repair.pdf (PDF).

Preparing your house for an exterior paint job

We've agreed on a price, the colors are chosen, we know exactly what colors go where, and now it's time to paint. Here are a few things you should do before we come to paint:

Not only do our painters need room in the bushes to stand and set ladders we need access to the house. Sometimes the foliage is just in the way. Besides making it very hard to paint.. here are a few things to consider. Foliage that is smashing against the siding can cause moisture problems causing paint failure and decay. Wind blowing the foliage and branches can sway back and forth causing scraping damage, foliage touching the house is an invitation for bugs to live on your house.

Pruning will make it so we can do a better job of painting your house. It will also give your house the well kept look to go with your beautiful new paint job. It is always a good idea to maintain one foot of clearance between the house and the foliage from your bushes, shrubs, trees, and flowers Also lowering the height of your bushes whenever possible will help

Wadleigh Painting can do the pruning on a time and material basis if desired. We carry all the tools to handle minor pruning and tree removal if necessary.

Remove dirt from siding
As home owners we keep adding beauty bark, soils, compost etc. to our flower beds. As time goes on the soil levels tend to rise. The bugs love it Check for soil deposits that accumulate on the siding. Not only should you check on this before the paint job, but keep an eye on it through out the year It's amazing how fast your siding will rot once soil is covering it. Soil on the siding causes the siding to rot.

Painting the foundation
Some people want us to paint the foundation. If so, you should dig the dirt down a few inches below the normal dirt level so we can paint it below grade. Then when it's done and the dirt is pushed back it looks good.

Repairs to the house
Sometimes there are old cable wires that are no longer being used and need to be removed, maybe there is a siding board that needs replacing. You can take care of these things yourself or Wadleigh Painting Co can do it for you on a time and material basis.

Remove Decorative items
remove items such as wind chimes, crafty art objects, fun flags, weather instruments, anything that's small and in the way.

Turn off sprinkler system
Check your sprinklers, some systems have water shooting directly on the siding causing paint failure. It's a good idea to just turn them off while the painting is being done.

Remove outdoor furniture
Also whenever possible place all lawn furniture, barb-b-ques, fragile plantings or planters, as far away as you can from the house. This will protect your belongings from damage and from over spray. Wadleigh Painting will remove and replace heavier items.

Remove vehicles from drive way
Because the chance of over spray exists the day we come to paint have all the cars, trucks. boats, trailers pulled back from house. Ideally they should be removed to the street or even down the street.

Notify the neighbors
It's good neighborly policy to let the neighbors know you are having your house painted. They should also be advised to move their vehicles from close proximity for over spray protection. Of course I will always let them know if I see their car too close. When you alert them about moving their cars they might become anxious. Let them know because of my proactive prevention policies we have never gotten over spray on a car.

Things to do after the paint job

Mildew control - apply Jomax when mildew appears or every 3 months or so during winter months

Siding - Keep the siding clean. Mildew will grow on the dirt

  • Keep bushes pruned and away from the house
  • Keep soil away from siding
  • Keep sprinklers from spraying water on the house

What if it rains?

Rain is always a concern around Puget Sound, even in August. If we are painting and it starts to rain, we stop. When the rain stops, the first thing I look for is moisture on the wood. I then test any suspect areas with a high quality moisture meter. The average house in the area has eaves which keeps the rain off most of the house except the bottom few boards. Often we can continue painting by avoiding the areas that are too wet.

Yes, sometimes we get caught in the rain while the paint is wet. It could wash the paint off the lower parts of the wall. If that happens we let it dry and then repaint the wall. This will not jeopardize the integrity of the paint job.

In the entire operating history of Wadleigh Painting (in the Seattle area since 1982) we have not had any paint failures based on wet wood.

How long between power washing and painting?

Depending on the temperature and wind. The warmer it is the quicker you can paint. Usually if the temp is around 60-70 degrees the house should dry enough in around 4-5 days. Especially with a breeze the house will dry faster. When painting with acrylics (water base paints) the moisture content can be between 15-17 % . Oil base paints on the other hand have lower tolerances for moisture (because of their inability to allow gasses to escape) so more time may be needed for drying out. Luckily for us 95% of all paint jobs require water base paints.