The commercial painting team at Custom Painting, Inc. recently completed a large warehouse project at Kairos Power, a nuclear research and testing facility in Alameda, CA. The project is on an old Navy base in Alameda, and because of the construction schedule, we were tasked with painting the exterior of the building during the winter months. We had issues with rain, fog, wind, and cold temperatures.
Anyone living in Alameda, or any San Francisco Bay city, knows that weather can be an issue during the winter. Learn about the challenges we faced while completing the project.
Custom Painting, Inc.’s commercial painters excel at this type of project, and we’re glad to add another satisfied customer.
Challenges during the painting project
When it comes to exterior painting, weather plays a significant role in the project’s overall outcome. These weather conditions present challenges, from extreme heat to strong winds to heavy rains. Weather conditions are why painting a commercial building exterior largely depends on the weather conditions. Understanding the weather’s impact on exterior painting is crucial for a durable, long-lasting paint finish.
Learn how each of the weather conditions can be detrimental while painting an exterior:
When you hear the words “rainy day” and “wet surface,” you’ll know right away that they’re not the ideal conditions for exterior painting.
When the surface is wet due to rain, the paint won’t be able to adhere to it. Worse, the combination of rain and wind will only wash the paint off the surface.
While painting outside on a rainy day is not a good idea, it can be done, provided the paint doesn’t touch the exterior walls throughout the process (including the initial unpainted and completely painted surfaces). To prevent the exterior surfaces from taking in moisture, make sure to shield all work areas with a giant tarp or plastic enclosure.
But as much as possible, it’s better to put off the project first until the weather improves. Wait to paint after rain is predicted. It’s also not a good idea to paint immediately after the rain ends. You’ll have to wait at least a day or two after the rain has occurred to ensure that the surfaces are completely dry for painting. For this reason, you can expect some delays for commercial painting projects – but keep in mind that a good painting job shouldn’t be done in a rush!
High humidity causes several paint issues, and fog occurs when there’s excessive humidity. So, you should also not paint outside when there’s a risk of fog. Excessive moisture in the air prevents paint from drying effectively and causes serious defects, such as peeling and bubbling, over time.
Like with rain, you should not paint immediately after a heavy fog or dew occurs. In a few hours, wood absorbs a lot of dampness in this kind of weather – even a lot more moisture than from heavy rains. Instead, allow the surface to dry for at least a day or two to make sure that it is ready to be painted.
Like rain and fog, the wind is also paint’s worst enemy.
What happens when you paint outside on a very windy day? The wind blows dust, debris, and other contaminants into your paint, ruining your entire job.
You may struggle against those strong winds while trying to dab a coat of paint. And even if you can apply paint, there is an increased chance the results will not look good. Even a moderately windy day can cause the paint to dry too quickly, leading to insufficient film formation.
Painting outside amid strong winds can be even more dangerous. If the winds blow more than 15 miles per hour (mph), it might even get you off the ladder or scaffolding!
In other words, painting outside on an extremely windy day is an ill-advised move. You may have to wait until the winds become less intense. If the wind speed goes down to 8 mph or lower, which is basically a gentle breeze, it’s now safe to paint outside.
d) Cold temperatures
Painting outside in cold temperatures will slow down the paint’s drying process. As the paint is still wet, it is more prone to collecting dust, insects, and other debris. Condensation might even occur on the paint’s surface, ultimately causing damage.
Because the paint dries slowly under cold temperatures, it may force you to re-coat the surface. However, doing so will be challenging as it will take up to four to six hours, depending on how much lower the temperatures will drop and the type of paint you use. As the paint doesn’t dry soon enough between coats, it will result in surface problems such as bubbling and blistering.
Most latex paints shouldn’t be applied if the air temperatures drop below 35 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Professional painters can sometimes work around the cold weather to produce a clean, decent finish. For instance, they turn to paints with acrylic latex formula, which can do well in temperatures down to 35 degrees Fahrenheit. Or they set the painting job aside for specific periods in which the sun is expected to appear in a few hours.
Our crew had to monitor the weather very closely to account for any inclement conditions. In addition, we had to use products that dry quickly in cold environments. While this added time to the overall completion, it otherwise resulted in a finished product that will last many years. Our contracts have a clause or wording that allows extra time due to the weather if necessary.
Rain was the most common issue. It caused the newly applied paint to dry on the surface but not properly and fully cured. This would result in water bubbles forming under that dried layer and also what looks like alligator skin. We probably had around 20 days (roughly three weeks) of delay due to rain.
Apart from the weather, our crew encountered a couple of other challenges during our Alameda project.
- The warehouse had many windows (including the taller ones), so we also had to deal with over 10,000 window frames. We used brown masking paper and masking tape to protect them from paint.
- We also had to protect the glass panes from overspray carefully. However, this process was time-consuming. It was long and tedious work, but the result was a clean look.
About the site
The site was an old rail hangar constructed in the 1940s for the Navy. It also functioned as a manufacturing building. Kairos Power leased the property in 2017.
While many long-standing buildings may be too old and need to be demolished and replaced by new structures, most of the Navy’s industrial and civic buildings are usually built to last for many years, perhaps even centuries. They are often reused and re-purposed.
One of the interesting things about the old hangar is its earthquake-ready features. It is outfitted with an overhead crane that spans the building’s width and is mounted on rails that span its length. An engineering firm tested the old building’s earthquake readiness by simulating a powerful earthquake jolt to move the massive crane and ultimately stop it. Through these tests, it is confirmed that the old building is expected to survive intense earthquakes.
The building is constructed with stucco and steel. Despite not having any supporting interior pillars, the building remains intact due in significant part to the underground piling and bracing system.
The old hangar had been repainted many, many times over the years it was in use. It sat idle and unkempt for several years. All the paint on the window frames was lead-based and required proper removal. A lead abatement company completed this removal before painting to ensure there was no contamination of the environment.
Paints used for the project
The paint we used is called RESILIENCE by Sherwin-Williams. Newly painted exteriors develop resistance to moisture in two hours rather than having to wait the four-hour minimum most coatings offer.
About RESILIENCE by Sherwin-Williams
Resilience is a high-quality exterior paint manufactured by Sherwin-Williams. One of this paint product’s best attributes is its ability to withstand various weather conditions. The company uses its proprietary MoistureGuard technology in the paint, which offers exceptional moisture resistance.
For most exterior coatings, you will need at least four hours of drying time before it’s considered safe from moisture and rain and before applying another coat (if necessary). This meant the project had to be delayed because there wasn’t enough time for the paint to dry before another storm rolled in.
But in the case of Sherwin-Williams’ Resilience paint, it only needs two hours of drying time before it’s good and ready. With its MoistureGuard technology, the surface has sufficient resistance against mold and mildew. It means choosing a day to paint is easier with fewer concerns about the weather. You can also begin your painting project during the day and not fret about moisture later in the evening.
Resilience is also a durable exterior paint. Moreover, Sherwin-Williams stands behind its products with a lifetime limited warranty. But its effectiveness will work best if you prepare the surface and then apply the paint properly.
Other benefits of using Resilience by Sherwin-Williams for exterior painting:
- It has low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) levels.
- It is easy to apply.
- It covers dark colors quite well.
- It flows and levels well for a smooth look and feel.
- It works for many types of siding materials, including wood, aluminum, vinyl, and masonry.
- It can also be applied on clapboard, plywood, shakes, shingles, and metal.
- It can be used in temperatures down to 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
- It is available in flat, satin, and glossy finishes.
Essential notes on using Resilience paint:
- It is meant exclusively for exterior painting.
- Surfaces that are already painted require two coats of paint for sufficient coverage.
- For new and previously unpainted surfaces – You must prime the surfaces before applying Resilience paint.
How can paint transform an old or historic building?
Something as simple as a new coat of paint can really transform an old commercial building to look and feel updated. It’s also a cost-effective way to preserve an old building. This is the case with the old hangar transformed and re-purposed into a modern facility for Kaiser Power in Alameda, thanks to Custom Painting, Inc.’s incredible efforts despite the inclement weather that got in the way.
Here’s how a fresh coat of paint breathes new life into old and unused commercial buildings:
- It refreshes the space and makes it look modern and updated.
- Paint is not only for aesthetic purposes. It also eliminates old paint damage caused by weather, moisture, mold, rot, insect infestation, and human activity (such as foot traffic).
- Repainting an old building is a crucial aspect of preventative maintenance by protecting the newly painted surfaces from deteriorating.
The inclement weather was the biggest challenge that our paint crew encountered while working on Kairos Power’s warehouse, which used to be an old hangar and manufacturing building. Again, we had around 20 days (roughly three weeks) of delay due to rain.
Other than the weather, the issues were typical of repainting an old building, such as peeling and cracking paint.
Despite such challenges, Custom Painting, Inc. successfully transformed and updated an old building into a new and modern facility to our client’s satisfaction.
Have you purchased or leased an old commercial building that has been unused for many years and wanted to transform it into a brand-new business space? Plan your future commercial repainting in Alameda projects with us at Custom Painting, Inc.! We are a full-service residential and commercial painting company that has served the Bay Area for over 40 years. We have an eye for detail and a strong commitment to quality. To learn more about our services or request a free quote, call us at 925-294-8062 or fill out a request form here. We are always happy to help!