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Painting & Wallpapering/Exterior paint job cracking at seams



Hi Ed,

Last October the exterior of my house was painted. A few months ago, I noticed cracks developing in many, but not all of the seams where the wood clapboards overlap each other (see pictures).

Iím trying to determine if the paint contractor is responsible for this. Sherwin Williams technical experts say the clapboards are expanding and contracting due to weather changes and the painting contractor is not responsible unless our contract specifically included wording to inspect and secure loose boards, which is not typically involved in paint jobs.

A few boards move very slightly when I push against them, most others do not but still have cracks in them. Iíve never seen this problem on other houses before.

Why is it happening? Who and/or what is responsible for this?

Can this cause damage to the house and clapboards over time? Iím concerned about rainwater and bugs.

What options, if any, can fix the problem? And who should pay for it?

DetailsÖhouse is a Dutch Colonial built in 1932. I live in Massachusetts. XIM Peel Bond used as primer, Sherwin Williams Duration paint used as topcoat.

Any advice and explanation is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

I called my Sherwin Williams rep and he confirmed what I was thinking and what the Sherwin Williams rep told you in Massachusetts. Its because of the expanding and contracting due to weather etc.
I live in Oregon. I painted alot of houses just as you described in the pictures. The house needs to breathe. If moisture gets behind the clapboards, and they are sealed,they cannot breathe (Moisture, humidity, hot, cold, expanding, contracting etc.). If you would caulk the clapboards, they won't be able to breathe.
I tell my clients that, and tell them I can not caulk the clapboards, because they need to breathe.
You can caulk and paint and vertical cracks. I was looking at your 2 pictures. In my opinion, the clapboards in photo 1 look ok. In photo 2, there is a horizontal crack. I would caulk and paint that.
Any large cracks under the clapboards I would caulk and paint them. I would not caulk and seal all of them. As I said before, they need to breathe.
As for rainwater and bugs getting under there, there should not be no problem, as I said as long as the cracks aren't large.
Peel Bond is a great product. I use it too. The only way to get around this situation (as I see it) would of been to have the old paint striped of the whole house, the wood sanded, primed and painted. That there would have been alot more work and more expense. Hope that answers your questions.

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Ed Kuchar


I've been a wallpaperhanger for 40 years. I've been a house painter (interior and exterior) for 38 years. I also do wallpaper removing and wall patching and light skim coating. I can answer any questions concerning: patching and wall preparation for painting or wallpaper, different types of paint, or wallpaper, what type to use for your job. questions about wallpaperhanging & painting how to measure an area for paint or wallpaper. questions concerning different types of wallpaper general questions on how to hang wallpaper (what type of paste, tools, etc.


I have my own wallpapering and painting business. Blue Sky Paperhanging & Painting Inc. I've been doing paperhanging & painting for 30 years. Most of my experience is in residential and not commercial.

Better Business Bureau.

I did the wallpaperhanging on the movie set "My Own Private Idaho" 1991.

I learned how to hang wall paper and wallcoverings at the West Valley Occupational School in Van Nuys California in 1978.

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