Painting Your House In The Philippines

Painting Your House In The Philippines


The image above is our house. That shot is the best view you can get of our house because most of it is blocked by trees. The paint is about a year old and it is brilliant white. When the sun is shining on it you cannot look at it because it is blinding. 

I did the exterior paint job myself and it is about a year old. I had help to put up bamboo scaffolding on the tall spots, but other than that it was a solo job. I think I did a much better job of painting than the team that we paid to do it years ago.

For that previous paint job I did some quick Internet research and decided to go with Boysen Acrytex, which is a solvent based high performance paint system. One of the reasons I picked Acrytex is that it eliminates the step of neutralization on unpainted concrete. Acrytex is strictly an exterior paint! Keep that in mind, as you do not want to use this very strong smelling paint inside your house.

Our Acrytex paint job did not work out. Much of the paint was cracking and peeling within the first year and I think I know why. We were traveling a lot while the painting was being done and we could not personally supervise the painters. I suspect that the painters were accustomed to using water based latex paint. With latex you can wash the rollers at the end of the day and it's ok if they are still a little wet the next morning. With solvent based paint you will run into trouble doing that. I suspect that a thin layer of moisture may have became trapped behind the paint and when the paint dried and the sun beat down on it the remaining water gassed up and popped the paint.

Another possibility is that the Acrytex simply failed to neutralize the acid in the concrete. It was well past 28 days of curing when the walls were painted, so this should not be the case. The express purpose of Acrytex is to eliminate the need to neutralize masonry surfaces when they are painted prior to complete curing.

Anyway, the paint failed and looked like crap for years before I felt that I had gotten enough value out of it to repaint.

The new paint job is outstanding. It looks like a solid slab of stone. There is not a single crack, peel or bubble after a year. And it scrubs down real nice and still looks like it was painted yesterday.

I went with Davies Megacryl 1350 for the primer, which was selling for 1920 PHP per 16 liter pail at the time: 

The nice thing about this water based latex is that there is almost no noxious smell. The Acrytex was murderous when it came to the smell and it lingered for days and even weeks. It was a joy to work with the Davies latex because there was almost no smell at all.

Davies no longer publishes their MSDS online, but I still have this one that I downloaded a year ago.

According to the MSDS, the two prime components of the primer are limestone and titanium dioxide:

For the topcoat I went with Davies Megacryl 525 Gloss White, which was selling for 2381 PHP per 16 liter pail at the time:

I do not have an MSDS for the topcoat, but it is very similar to the primer and equally pleasant to work with having little to no smell.

Another thing that my wife likes about the Davies paints are nice white buckets. Acrytex comes in metal pails that are not much use. Permatex comes in green plastic pails that become brittle after being in the elements. The heavy duty white Davies buckets endure the sunlight and elements a little better making them useful for a lot of garden uses. I bet that they might last quite a few years.

The most unpleasant part of repainting our house was the paint removal.

I used four one-gallon cans of Gi Paint & Varnish Remover manufactured by Treasure Island. Although Treasure Island does post a technical data sheet(TDS) for this product online, I could not find an MSDS from them. You will notice on the TDS that the specific chemical used is methylene chloride. Boysen uses the same chemical in their paint remover and the Boysen MSDS is published online.

Methylene chloride is an extremely dangerous chemical. It kills people. I would warn anyone away from ever using this chemical indoors in any circumstance or even outdoors in some cases. I only used it outdoors and on some days I felt that it was getting to me.

If you are going to use this product you must be very careful to use the appropriate protective gloves. I went through a dozen pairs of various types of heavy duty chemical resistant gloves. Methylene chloride eats through them.

Take note of this advice on safety gloves for use with methylene chloride (referred to as dichloromethane below) from UC Davis:
Viton, neoprene, or butyl rubber gloves should be used when handling large quantities of dichloromethane or if the hands will be immersed in dichloromethane. Disposable nitrile gloves may be used when handling small quantities or for protection against incidental splash. The nitrile gloves should be at least 6 mil thick and removed and replaced immediately if splashed with dichloromethane... Heavily contaminated gloves must be disposed as chemical hazardous waste.

Methylene chloride is dangerous, but I could not find a paint remover that contained any different chemical at any vendor near our location on Panay. 

Seeing how the job was basically the entire exterior it was out of the question to rely on sanding alone. consequently, methylene chloride did its job extremely efficiently. It worked like a charm to be quite frank. 

WARNING When you finish the paint stripping make sure that you scrub the walls very good. When the stripper/paint crud dries it is hard like cement. You have to get it all off because if you do not and you paint over it your paint will fail in those spots.

Before I close this post I want to make a quick comment on painting the metal railings around our house, which I painted just after I finished up the house exterior. 

I told you how much I loved Davies vs Boysen for the house exterior, but now the tables turn. For metal painting Boysen wins hands down in my book. 

I do not like using two-component epoxy because it is very noxious and you must use reducer to thin it, which is caustic and also quite noxious.  However, I did use Boysen two-component epoxy primer for our steel matting fencing because it performs better in the elements. Due to the nature and situation of the steel matting I felt that the two-component epoxy primer was warranted. 

For the railings I went with basic Paralux red oxide.  

For my steel water tower I am repainting with Uni-coat metal primer, which is basically the same as red oxide only in this case it is gray:

For the topcoat I only use Boysen Quick Dry Enamel:

Boysen QDE lives up to its name drying to a nice hard shell. It has held up very well on our fences, doors and railings both in and out of the elements.

The first time I painted the steel matting fence I used Boysen two-component epoxy enamel. It did not stand up well and was difficult to work with due to strong smell, caustic reducer, etc.... I repainted with simple Boysen QDE and now I use nothing else for exterior metal applications. 

I tried out Davies Gloss It Quick Dry Enamel for some of our metal applications:

Davies QDE did not work out so well for me. For one issue, it was still tacky after two weeks. When it finally dried it was more like a latex than an enamel finish. It was also weak compared to Boysen, in my opinion.

I actually did experiment with Davies Latex exterior paint on a section of metal railings. I was hoping it would work well, since the Davies Latex was so easy to work with and worked out so nicely on the concrete walls. I had not paid any attention to the section of steel tubing that I painted with latex last year. I just checked it out again after almost a year and it does not look bad and has held up well. I used cheap red oxide as a primer but if I use a better quality primer (like the Unicoat industrial grade that I am using now) and if I apply the latex with a roller, then I think that I can get a very nice looking and durable result. I know that this is not painting orthodoxy, but any time that I can use latex instead of solvent based paint is a bonus in my book. 

Also, I have started painting our water tower and I used the Unicoat as the primer. I really like it a lot. It stinks far and wide for a couple of days, but the coverage and look is very nice. The can states that, unlike other primers (red oxide) that must be top coated within one week,  Unicoat industrial can be left for up to one year without topcoat. 

If you do ever topcoat metal with latex paint do be sure to use a proper metal primer and be sure to coat the surface very well. Latex is water based and you need that metal primer to form a good barrier between the bare metal and the water based topcoat. 

You should also experiment on a small area first before you commit to using latex for an entire project.