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In the 1990s latex emulsion emerged as the next generation of paint and coatings. These materials required a renewed focus on surface preparation and extensive knowledge of primers, sealers and finish coat formulations. Unlike oil-based materials which adhered to the substrate by means of penetration, waterborne coatings form a surface film which attaches to the underlying substrate through chemical bonding. What this means is that surfaces must not only be prepped properly, but the type and quality of primers, sealers and caulks are paramount since latex paints and coatings are only as durable as their weakest link. In order to guarantee maximum life-cycle performance, Armstrong’s focus shifted from specifying the “best paint” to full system specification. This specification process was introduced by Armstrong in the mid-’90s as the AWS Painting and Coating System.

During that time and in the decades to follow, manufacturers and contractors would struggle to keep pace with the ever-changing environmental VOC mandates. Solid content, pigment volume concentration and other key aspects of paint formulation were in constant flux, which necessitated Armstrong’s reliance on its own internal field performance assessments. With over 30,000 installed painting and coating jobs, Armstrong has been the recipient of a wealth of dynamic real world data. This data is not based on weatherometers or laboratory guesstimates, but on the actual performance of real houses in Northern California exposed to temperature extremes, moisture, salt air and ultraviolet degradation. After being assessed and analyzed, this data becomes part of a feedback loop which forms the foundation of our Application, Warranty and Specification (AWS) process. By being attentive to these details, Armstrong is able to offer our clients optimum life-cycle performance as well as the longest and most comprehensive warranties in the industry.

The key to excellence in painting is preparation, preparation and more preparation. That’s where Armstrong shines.  If the surfaces are not prepared correctly, you will not have the desired results and/or in a short period of time the new paint may begin peeling or cracking.  Here is an overview of our exterior painting process, including the steps, procedures and materials that are the cornerstone of the AWS Custom Exterior Painting System.

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Perform a lead based paint screening survey on structures built prior to 1979.

Armstrong performs a thorough site survey before we do any work. If your home was built prior to 1979, we’ll perform a lead based screening survey utilizing a multipoint XRF lead detection test. This superior test with pinpoint accuracy provides for increased lead safety on the job.

Hydrowash your home's exterior or building to remove dirt, chalk, lose material and grease. Mildew wash is done as needed.

If lead is present some hand scraping and prep work may be done prior to the hydrowash. Pressure washing cleans the surface but in most cases is not a substitute of hand preparation.

Check for and reset popped nails and re-nail any loose lumber as needed.
Prep Surface.

Wire brush, scrape or sand wood, stucco and wood walls as necessary to remove loose material and feather remaining edges. While this step can’t make old substrates look new, many painters skip it completely.

Patch cracks and voids in stucco and wood walls as necessary to make them less visible.

Here’s a key difference between Armstrong and other painters:
Armstrong applies AWS specified wood fillers and stucco patch that provides attractive and long-lasting protection. Many painters commonly apply spackle directly to bare wood. Spackle is cheap, covers well and is easy to work with; the problem is that spackle cracks, absorbs water and does not last. Poorly done stucco patches crack at joints, come loose and over time can fall out.

Apply AWS flexible elastomeric caulk around doors and windows to seal all openings as necessary.

Armstrong uses elastomerics that stretch 100% of their length or greater and then fully recover. Using the correct material around openings not only provides added protection from moisture intrusion but adds longevity to the adjacent film coating and results in a better looking job overall.
For larger cracks, Armstrong can specify polyurethanes for superior adhesion and protection. We’ll also pay special attention to cracks that might be best left open such as the bottom of windows or lap siding. Caulking these joints might actually trap water and cause damage.

Remove and replace any loose glazing putty materials in wood windows.

We’ll prime as needed. In wood windows, putty can dry out, become loose and fall out. Water can get to the wood frame and cause damage to the window. Putty that’s tight is left in place but all loose putty will be replaced.

Apply wood conditioner to weathered wood as needed. Apply rust converter to exposed rusted ferrous metal as needed.

Special AWS wood conditioners are used in areas where wood surfaces are weather damaged and cracked. These conditioners help promote adhesion of top coats and retard the absorption of moisture into the wood. AWS rust converter chemically combines with rust to fight the rust process and actually deters it from progressing.

Apply AWS sealer and/or primer as necessary to home or building.

Primers and sealers are designed for many different purposes. These include: Adhesion, Stain Blocking, Hiding, and Protection. Different conditions also call for different primers. With Armstrong’s AWS custom system you can be sure your building will receive the right primer for its substrate.

Apply AWS top-coat and/or elastomeric coating to walls and AWS paint to trim.

Armstrong paints, topcoats and textured coatings are all specified to meet our custom AWS system requirements which include:

  • 100% of all acrylic binders (resin) for unexcelled color retention, exterior weathering and long-term durability
  • UV sunblock pigment with T102 (Titanium Dioxide) for long lasting paint film and substrate protection
  • High solid content for enhanced paint film build, superior hide and optimum permeability for moisture vapor control

Your Armstrong certified superintendent and/or foreman will determine the best combination of application and materials for your home or building. With over 50 years of experience and work performed on over 30,000 buildings, Armstrong and Armstrong’s certified painters have a vast collective data base from field and laboratory testing. This ensures that each and every job we do will not only be beautiful but will be customized to stand the test of time.

Armstrong will clean up our work site on a daily basis.

Organization and cleanliness is part of the job.

Armstrong's exclusive AWS (Armstrong WeatherGuard System) Warranty.

Up to 10 years on wood and up to 15 years on stucco. All AWS warranties are backed by Northern California’s Premiere Home Improvement Company! We’re family owned and operated in California since 1966 – that’s over 50 years of dependability!

AWS: The Armstrong WeatherGuard System is the Application, Warranty and Specifications of materials by Armstrong.

(Armstrong performs custom work. The order of our work, materials specified and application methodology are site-specific and may vary on a job-by-job basis).