painting question and answers prime house weeping clapboard exterior
Photo: David Carmack
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Painting in Salem

Q: I own a circa 1780 home on Salem Harbor. We're collecting estimates for an exterior paint job (including the replacement of many rotten clapboards). One painting company recommended that we prime the house this fall and at the same time install a "weeping" system (akin to shimming the clapboards) that will allow the house to "drain" over the winter. The painters will then make necessary caulking and priming repairs, and give the house two coats of paint. This sounds reasonable to me, given the proximity of the house to the ocean, but the cost difference between this and a regular paint job is pretty significant. Is this weeping a worthwhile endeavor?

—Keira, Salem, Massachusetts

A: It sounds like this company thinks the house has a moisture problem that's causing water to collect behind the clapboards and rot them out. If this really is the case, no paint will stick until you address this underlying problem.

For more information, see our Top 10 Repair Questions and How to Hang Clapboard Siding
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