Exterior Paint Finishes - Overland Park

Exterior Paint Finishes - Overland Park

Last week we estimated a house which was built in the early 2000s, sided with LP Smart Siding Panels and LP Smart trim (standard for the area). The owner insisted that we re-paint with a flat finish. Flat finish on an exterior is not our standard coating. We understand that you want what you want, it’s your house, and we’re happy to put the coating you want on it. We feel part of our job is to inform you drawing on our experience and knowledge of the products we work with and then you can make the best decision using that information. This is how we went about informing our customer from last week.

Why did they want flat finish?

In this case, a shiny surface was not desired. Fair enough, flat checks that box. Our standard satin coating is shiny and depending on the depth of the color will look shinier.

What are the pros / cons of a flat finish

Flat finishes are great for a couple reasons:

  1. they hide better than a sheen
  2. they paint and dry down excellent. no lap marks, uniform finish, etc…

Out of hundreds of exteriors painted, we’ve used a flat sheen on two of them. Painting flat on an exterior is rare. We call on a flat sheen when we’re solving a specific problem.

For example: we painted a house years ago that was stucco siding. The stucco was old, and in poor condition. The owner couldn’t afford re-stuccoing the home, and tasked us with making the most out of what we had to work with. We prepped the surface as best we could, and primed it with our favorite bonding primer which helps (helps… doesn’t fix) to smooth out the imperfections. After the prep, we decided to get the best looking finish we needed to go with a flat finish due to its ability to hide better than a satin. The home looked better and the owner was happy with the outcome.

Now on this project we made the owner aware of the tradeoffs in using a flat finish. Flat finishes on an exterior tend not to hold up over time like a satin finish. They don’t have the same longevity. Satin finish coatings are more UV resistant and resist fading longer than flats. The resulting tradeoff on the flat vs. satin is that flat may look nicer now, but satin will look nicer longer. In the case of our example, that tradeoff was acceptable.

Satin finish coatings

Last year (2020) all the exteriors we painted were satin finishes. It’s common to the Overland Park and Kansas City area because we receive a lot of UV. In the case of our homeowner who wanted flat, this is how we went about presenting information about a satin finish and why to consider it.

  1. Siding type: his home was engineered wood siding and trim. This material is non-porous, and we have no issues with laying down a uniform, great looking finish on it. Stucco, or a porous siding material like wood can be problematic and require backrolling to push the paint down into the pores.
  2. Satin finish will last longer than a flat finish due to its ability to hold up to UV better

For what he was trying to accomplish - a low-sheen coating - and given his siding type we made a recommendation that we hoped would land as a middle ground.

How things ended up

Recommendation: Use a light color satin finish paint. You’ll receive the benefits of the added UV resistance and get more time before the next repaint. In a light color the sheen won’t be as noticeable and you’ll be closer to the muted flat look you desire.

As of yet we haven’t heard if we’ll be working with the customer from last week on his project (but we hope to!). Therefore I don’t have a final outcome on this one yet. But this is our general methodology for working with people.

We like to find out what you want, and then why you want that. Based on those two things, we can offer our recommendations and allow you to make an informed decision. Once you’ve decided on what you want, we can accurately price that for you. We’d be happy to meet with you and see what value we can add to your exterior painting project in 2021. Contact us today.