Painting a residential or commercial property can bring great rewards, but it can also be tricky business. Many freshly completed paint jobs have subsequently developed serious and expensive problems that are better avoided than experienced.
Paint weeping is one such issue. Also called surfactant leaching, this unfortunate syndrome can strike latex-painted interior and exterior walls.
If left to its own devices, surfactant weeping can damage the looks of any building. Luckily, builders who observe careful paint application techniques can keep the issue of how to fix surfactant leaching at bay.
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What is Surfactant Leaching?
Most paints contain a variety of ingredients that may include pigments, surfactants, and binders. Surfactants are soap-like molecules that manufacturers add to paint to ensure proper performance. Paint surfactants help to separate and stabilize pigments, and they allow color additions to better blend with paint.
After workers apply paint, the surfactants inside the paint begin to naturally migrate towards the surface. Under normal circumstance, this migration is gradual and results in no visual or structural damages. That said, if painters apply coats in cool or high-humidity conditions, the surfactants may surface too quickly, leach completely out of the paint, and leave behind unsightly streaks.
Prevent and Cure Surfactant Weeping
Sometimes, surfactant weeping happens despite the best efforts of paint application personnel. At times like these, it is key for cleanup and repair persons to take action as quickly as possible.
If painters notice leaching within the first few days of initial paint application, they may be able to remove the marks with water hoses. Several minutes of oblique spraying with a high-pressure hose can mitigate the effects of leaching marks on lighter shades of paint.
More serious outbreaks may require the application of elbow grease in addition to water. Concrete and masonry surfaces often respond well to cleaning with a soft-bristled brush.
How To Fix Surfactant Leaching
While it may be difficult to remove all traces of the surfactant leaching on the first attempt, continued and sustained efforts often result in gradual mitigation of unsightly weep marks.
In order to avoid this strenuous cleanup process, property managers should strive to avoid created leaching marks in the first place. Practically speaking, this means that paint application workers should avoid painting on humid or damp days. They may also wish to avoid applying painting on days where temperatures dip below 50-degrees Fahrenheit. Finally, property managers should never paint on the days preceding or following major storms.
While paint weeping is unsightly and hard to fix, home and commercial property owners who follow these tips will be less likely to experience it.