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Q&A with Handy Mac: Paint is popping off

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Q&A with Handy Mac: Paint is popping off

I would like to remind readers that while this column appears all over the country, I write it in Cape Town. I am pleased with responses and questions from Joburg and KwaZulu-Natal, but please send photos of your problems. I still run a company so my column time is limited to weekends, and that is when you can expect replies.

:I am chairlady of a complex in Montclair. I bought off-plan in a new development 27 years ago. At the time all owners, of whom I am the only one remaining, realised we had bought into a sectional title complex with major building deficiencies. There was poor damp proofing, and plastering was done with too little cement content. Plus there were many cracks. The plastering problem is now worse. Six months after repainting with plaster primer and good paint, the paint is popping off. What is your advice about remedial action?

A: Painting is all about preparation and the applicator rather than the type of paint. You used a very good paint with a high acrylic content that is extremely good at repelling water, but conversely it will seal any water into the wall that may have soaked into the sub-structure during winter. I presume you painted in winter, which is never my favourite time to paint externally. You say the existing plaster had many cracks. My initial thought is you have put good paint over walls containing water. Now moisture in the walls is being drawn out by summer heat, causing the paint to pop.

Manufacturers are proud of their products as failures reflect badly. Start by contacting the paint manufacturer to ask them to send somebody to inspect the work.

I’d also like to know what your contractor says – a reputable contractor would ensure he put a high class paint on a sound substrate. Certain paint manufacturers guarantee their products if they are applied by fully qualified painters.

Remedial action would depend on what the manufacturer finds. However, after 27 years I guess this should be the fifth painting so if the substrate is bad, you would need to strip all the old paint off, properly attend to the plaster and start again.

For a painter to be qualified he will have had many years’ training and possibly even served an apprenticeship. To trust an unqualified person with an expensive paint is going to cost more at the end of the day.

*Handy Mac, aka Don MacAlister, is our expert on household DIY issues. If you have a question for him, please send it to or SMS only to 082 446 3859. Find Don on FB: Like us on Facebook



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