Serving The Greater Boston Metropolitan Area
(617) 734.1696

Problem Solving

Are there interior or exterior areas of your home where paint is stained, blistered or peeling?  Do long diagonal cracks mar some of your historic home’s horse hair plaster walls?  While a fresh coat of paint will temporarily hide a multitude of problems, at Catchlight, we strive to address rather than simply cover over their root cause.  Correcting adverse surface conditions is what distinguishes the professional craftsman from the economy painter.

Paint Failure: Peeling, chipping and blistering are all manifestations of the same basic phenomenon, namely, a lack of successful adhesion between an underlying surface and the paint applied to it. Poor adhesion may be the result of moisture transpiration, inadequate preparation or insufficient drying time between coats.  Determining which factors are in play is essential.

Moisture-related failure is typically accompanied by staining. In the case of a wood surface, migrating water tends to transport tannins to the surface where they appear yellow to dark brown in color.  Water that migrates through a plaster or masonry surface tends to transport efflorescent salts that appear as a chalky white residue. Once the source of moisture is identified and the surface properly sealed, staining should not reappear.

Sometimes a plaster or wood sub subsurface may need to be replaced. Catchlight Painting has a full time carpenter on staff as well as several foremen with extensive experience repairing damaged sections of wall/clapboard.

Plaster Restoration: Flat plaster shows age in a number of ways including sagging and cracking. Many common plaster problems can be effectively addressed using “buttons”  and specialty plaster repair tape followed by a finish skim coat.

While repair of ornamental plaster requires skill and experience, impressive results are often possible eliminating the need to replace damaged sections with custom made moldings. Catchlight foremen are adept at repairing the horsehair plaster walls common to New England homes built in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Wood Restoration: Over the years, repeat application of a varnish or shellac coating to original woodwork tends to produce a dark alligator finish nearly opaque in color. At Catchlight we take great care in our handling of original woodwork and employ a variety of non-toxic materials to remove built up finish.

Epoxy Repair: Specialty resins designed to expand and contract as temperatures fluctuate make possible the repair of rotted wood, eliminating the need to replace damaged sections of trim.
View a sample of epoxy resin restoration
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Mildew: Mildew is a fungus that produces superficial discoloration under damp conditions.  In bathrooms, mildew can be removed using environmentally safe mildewcide. (Bleach alone is not enough!)  Mildew also has a tendency to grow on shaded exterior walls. Removal is best accomplished through pressure or hand washing with a solution of bleach and detergent.  If mildew is not properly removed before applying fresh paint it will reappear.

Catchlight Painting is Committed to Thorough
Surface Preparation & Beautiful Lasting Results