Q: Our house was
fitted with white aluminum siding by the prior owners decades ago. We’ve
been in it about 16 years now.
The siding has
held up OK except in the front above the porch, which gets the morning
sun. It is losing its paint. Is there a preferred method of dealing
A: Yes there is.
And for advice about anything paint, I turn to the experts at the
Paint Quality Institute in Spring House, Pa.
should you prepare old aluminum siding before painting? And what type
of primer is the best for siding?
Remove as much
chalk, dirt, and mildew as you can. Chalk is powdery pigment on the
surface of weathered siding that comes off when you rub the palm of
your hand over it.
Removal is done
by power washing or by scrubbing and rinsing.
The only times a
primer would be needed are if any bare aluminum is exposed or if there
is still much chalk left on the surface.
In the first
situation, remove any white oxide with a nonmetallic scouring pad such
as ScotchBrite, then wash off and rinse to make way for a latex
corrosion-inhibitive primer. In the second scenario, apply a quality
exterior alkyd — "oil-based" — primer recommended for
aluminum siding by the manufacturer.
asked the institute experts whether he should wipe the siding with
mineral spirits before priming, having had to use a sander to remove
road salt from the surface that was now badly pitted.
The answer is no
— unless you have some oily contaminant such as road tar on the
siding. The road salt removed was probably white aluminum corrosion
If you do prime
everything, you will get a more uniform appearance from the paint,
compared with if you only prime some parts.
Here’s a great
resource: Bookmark the institute at www.paintquality.com.
TOPIC: Chicago reader Sam Portero wrote to weigh in on discussions
concerning how to get rid of lingering cat-urine odors in the
He said the
house he and his partner owned before they bought their current condo
had the same cat-urine issue.
affected area was difficult, but they found it was concentrated in one
area, Portero said.
trying all kinds of solutions, we finally went to a pet store and
bought a product for removing urine odor that was an enzyme-eating
solution," he said.
gallons at full strength, applied slowly, and in liberal doses to
allow it to seep into the affected area without running off eventually
did the trick in a couple of weeks."
takes time for it to work," Portero said, "but that enzyme
did seem to be the key. Most everything else was just a
Q: Do you know
of a good grout and stone sealer? The stone is on a kitchen
backsplash. The floor tiles have grout that is supposed to be
resistant to stains and grime, but to be on the safe side, I would
like to protect it.
A: A good
resource to check out is www.stonecare.com, the website of Stone Care
International, a company that I came across several years back at the
Kitchen and Bath Show in Chicago.
Not only do they
manufacture stone care products, but their site offers a bucketful of
care and maintenance tips that I have used on my floor tile and slate
backsplash to keep them looking new.
maintenance is the best defense in the homeowner’s bag of tricks.
Once you get into the routine of tackling small problems as they
arise, they don’t often get much bigger.