Fellow owners of Victorian houses, I need painting advice.
My house in Texas was built in 1895, and has cypress clapboard siding. The siding is in good shape, not particularly weathered and not splitting, but just doesn’t hold paint well. The paint flakes off down to the bare wood, worst on the west side which gets the strongest sun, but to a lesser extent all over the house. The paint also looks chalky, despite being only 3 years old. In the 5 years I’ve owned the house, it has been painted twice, and now needs painting again. Obviously, this is a problem!
The 2 painters I’ve talked to about this upcoming job have differing theories on why the paint has failed. Both think the previous painter’s prep wasn’t thorough enough, which I think is true. However, one painter goes on to say that old cypress sometimes de-laminates, so that the problem is not just that the paint is letting go of the wood, but that the top micro-layer of wood is letting go of the wood beneath. He doesn’t think moisture has anything to do with the problem. Has anyone heard of this? The other painter pooh-poohs this theory, and says that the problem is caused by moisture coming from inside the house. The house has no vapor barrier or insulation, so there is nothing between the sheetrock-and-1×4 interior walls and the exterior clapboards. There is no evidence of mold or other water damage inside or out. Previous painters, however, did caulk along the horizontal clapboard overlap joints, which could be contributing to a problem of moisture in the walls, if there is such a problem. The damage is not worse outside kitchen/bath areas than elsewhere.
Painter A (the de-lamination one) proposes to wash, scrape aggressively, prime with a latex primer, and paint with Sherwin Williams most expensive latex (ca. $42/gallon), which is theoretically a 30-year paint, because it should hold up the longest.
Painter B (the moisture one) proposes to wash, sand with a power sander using 24 grit paper, prime twice with Zinsser Peel Stop followed by Zinsser Cover Stain, then paint with Kelly Moore 1240 Acry-Shield (ca. $17/gallon). His theory is that these primers and this cheaper paint are more breathable, so will not trap moisture.
Which approach sounds more reasonable? The 2 painters’ time estimates and bids are comparable, so my decision between them isn’t cost-driven. I just don’t want to do this again in 3 years!
Thanks in advance for advice and words of comfort.