Historic Preservation - Technical Procedures

General Guidelines For Painting Exterior And Interior Surfaces
Procedure code:
Fed Bldg And Uspo/Spokane, Wa - Gsa/Pbs, March 1991
Last Modified:
General Guidelines For Painting Exterior And Interior Surfaces
Last Modified:




    A.   This procedure includes general guidelines for painting
         and finishing interior and exterior surfaces.  General
         descriptions pertaining to surface preparation, priming
         and application of finish coats are also provided here
         and, where called for, should be used along with shop
         priming and surface treatment specified in other

    B.   Paint exposed surfaces whether or not colors are
         designated in "schedules," except where a surface or
         material is specifically shown not to be painted or is to
         remain natural.  Where an item or surface is not
         specifically mentioned, paint the same as similar
         adjacent materials or surfaces.  If color or finish is
         not designated, the contracting officer will select from
         standard colors or finishes available.

    C.   Painting is not required on prefinished items, finished
         metal surfaces, concealed surfaces (except as may be
         specified in other repair procedures) and operating
         parts.  Do not paint over Underwriter's Laboratories,
         Factory Mutual or other code-required labels or equipment
         name, identification, performance rating, or nomenclature

    D.   For guidance on surface preparation, see the following:

         1.   For wood, see 06300-02-R.

         2.   For iron and steel, see 05010-05-R.

    E.   For general information on primers and paints, see the

         1.   For wood, see 06300-01-S.

         2.   For iron and steel, see 05010-13-S.

    F.   For guidance on paint removal, see the following:

         1.   For wood, see 06400-07-R, 06400-02-S, 06400-09-R.

         2.   For iron and steel, see 05010-05-R, 05010-16-R and

         3.   For masonry, see 04211-14-R.


    A.   "Paint" includes coating systems materials, primers,
         emulsions, enamels, stains, sealers and fillers, and
         other applied materials whether used as prime,
         intermediate, or finish coats.


    A.   Product Data:  (Submit to the appropriate Cultural
         Resources Manager (CRM) or designated representative for

         1.   Provide manufacturers' technical information, label
              analysis, and application instructions for each
              material proposed for use.

         2.   List each material and cross-reference the specific
              coating and finish system and application.
              Identify each material by the manufacturer's
              catalog number and general classification.

    B.   Samples:  Provide samples of each color and material to
         be applied, with texture to simulate actual conditions,
         on representative samples of the actual substrate.

         1.   Define each separate coat, including block fillers
              and primers.  Use representative colors when
              preparing samples for review.  Resubmit until
              required sheen, color, and texture is achieved.

         2.   Provide a list of materials and application for
              each coat of each sample.  Label each sample as to
              location and application.


    A.   Qualifications:  Restoration Specialist:  Work must be
         done by a firm having not less than 10 years' successful
         experience in comparable painting
         restoration/rehabilitation projects and employing
         personnel skilled in the processes and operations

    B.   Source of Materials:  Provide primers and undercoat paint
         produced by the same manufacturer as the finish coats.
         Primers and undercoat paints shall be made to be used
         with the selected finish coat.

    C.   Regulatory Requirements:

         1.   Codes and Standards:  Comply with all pertinent
              codes and regulations, including the minimum
              standards for materials and application as set
              forth in the Architectural Specifications Manual,
              latest edition as published by Specification
              Services, Washington State Council Painting and
              Decorating Contractors of America (PDCA), 23830
              Pacific Hwy. S., Suite 102, Kent, WA  98032, (206)

         2.   Comply with applicable recommendations of the Steel
              Structures Painting Council (SSPC) and PDCA's
              Architectural Specifications Manual.

         3.   Where choice of painting method is to be selected
              from several options in SSPC and PDCA
              recommendations, obtain contracting officer's
              representatives review and approval before start of

    D.   Field Samples:  On wall surfaces and other exterior and
         interior components, duplicate finishes of prepared

         1.   Provide full-coat finish samples on at least 200
              sq. ft. minimum of surface until required sheen,
              color and texture are obtained.  

         2.   Simulate finished lighting conditions for review of
              in place work.

         3.   Final acceptance of colors will be from job-applied

         4.   The contracting officer's representatives will
              select one room or surface to represent surfaces
              and conditions for each type of coating and
              substrate to be painted.  

              a.   Apply coatings in this room or surface
                   according to the schedule or as specified.

              b.   After finishes are accepted, this room or
                   surface will be used for evaluation of coating
                   systems of a similar nature.

    E.   Coordination of Work:  

         1.   Review other sections in which primers are provided
              to ensure compatibility of the total systems for
              various substrates.  

         2.   On request, furnish information on characteristics
              of finish materials to ensure use of compatible

         3.   Notify the contracting officer of problems
              anticipated using the materials specified.

    F.   Inspections and Tests:  Work in this procedure is subject
         to inspection and testing according to the provisions of
         the Architectural Specifications Manual, latest edition.
         Payment for inspection and testing service is
         responsibility of the contractor.  Notify Inspection
         Agency at least four full working days before starting
         work.  Allow full access to the work and give full
         cooperation always with the Inspection Agency in the
         performance of their duties in inspection and testing of
         the work.

         1.   The Inspection Agency will make field control tests
              specified after this for surfaces requiring
              painting and finishing and shall notify the
              specifying authority, in writing, of any defects or
              problems before starting work in this
              specification, or after failure of, or defects in,
              the prime coat or substrate provided by other
              trades.  Furnish approved or alternate materials
              for testing, from the source or job site, upon
              request of the Inspection Agency.

    G.   Inspection Agency:  Paint testing and inspection shall be
         done by an independent Inspection Agency acceptable to
         the specifying authority and as endorsed by specification

    H.   Material Quality:  

         1.   Provide the manufacturer's best quality trade sale
              paint material of the various coating types
              specified.  Paint material containers not
              displaying manufacturers' product identification
              will not be acceptable.

         2.   Federal Specifications establish a minimum quality
              level for paint materials, except where other
              product identification is used.  Provide written
              certification from the manufacturer that materials
              provided meet or exceed these criteria.

         3.   Products that comply with qualitative requirements
              of applicable Federal Specifications, yet differ in
              quantitative requirements, may be considered for
              use when acceptable to the contracting officer's
              representative.  Furnish material data and
              manufacturer's certificate of performance to
              contracting officer's representative for proposed


    A.   Packing and Shipping:  Deliver materials to the job site
         in the manufacturer's original, unopened packages and
         containers bearing manufacturers' name and label and the
         following information:

         1.   Product name or title of material.

         2.   Product description (generic classification or
              binder type).

         3.   Federal Specification number, if applicable.

         4.   Manufacturers' stock number and date of

         5.   Contents by volume, for pigment and vehicle

         6.   Thinning instructions.

         7.   Application instructions.

         8.   Color, name and number.

    B.   Storage and Protection:  

         1.   Store materials not in use in tightly covered
              containers in a well-ventilated area at a minimum
              ambient temperature of 45 degrees F. (7 degrees
              C.).  Maintain containers used in storage in a
              clean condition, free of foreign materials and

         2.   Protect from freezing.  Keep storage area neat and
              orderly.  Remove oily rags and waste daily.  Take
              necessary measures to ensure that workers and work
              areas are protected from fire and health hazards
              resulting from handling, mixing, and application.

         3.   Do not open containers of coatings or components
              unless for immediate use.  Keep containers closed
              when not in use.


    A.   Environmental Requirements:

         1.   Apply water-based paints only when the temperature
              of surfaces to be painted and surrounding air
              temperatures are between 500 F. (100 C.) and 900 F.
              (320 C.).  Do not apply if, within 24 hours after
              application, temperature is expected to fall below
              400 F.  (40 C.).

         2.   Apply solvent-thinned paints only when the
              temperature of surfaces to be painted and
              surrounding air temperatures are between 450 F. (70
              C.) and 950 F. (350 C.).

         3.   Do not apply paint in snow, rain, fog or mist when
              the relative humidity exceeds 85%, at temperatures
              less than 50 F. (30 C.) above the dew point, or to
              damp or wet surfaces.

         4.   Painting may continue during inclement weather if
              surfaces and areas to be painted are enclosed and
              heated within temperature limits specified by the
              manufacturer during applications and drying

         5.   Do not apply paint when dust is present.  Program
              surface preparation and painting so that dust and
              other contaminants from the surface preparation
              process and other work done will not fall or settle
              in wet, newly painted surfaces.

         6.   Do not apply paint to interior surfaces until the
              area is enclosed.  Paint surfaces which will be
              inaccessible for painting.

         7.   Protect other work whether to be painted or not
              against defacement or damage by painting.  Use
              masking materials to protect adjacent surfaces and

         8.   Comply with manufacturers' instructions for paint
              curing period temperatures, humidity and time

         9.   On wood, do not apply paint when the moisture
              content of the wood exceeds 12% as measured by an
              electronic moisture meter.

         10.  Lighting:  Work under this section shall not
              proceed unless adequate lighting is available.

         11.  Ventilation:  Assure that there is adequate
              ventilation for the type of coating and cleaning
              materials used.  If necessary, consult paint
              manufacturer for recommendations.

         12.  Paint pots shall not be cleaned at sinks or other
              drainage facilities nor shall any debris be allowed
              to run into drainage lines of the building.

         13.  All fine arts, furniture and adjacent finishes
              shall be protected with drop cloths or other
              suitable methods from paint spatters, dirt or other
              damage during the progress of the work, and the
              contractor will be held responsible for any damage
              to fine arts incident to the work done under the



    A.   Unless otherwise indicated, furnish scheduled products
         according to Chapters Five, Six and Seven of referenced
         Architectural Specifications Manual, including paint,
         varnish, stain, enamel, lacquer, fillers, and related
         products for prime, intermediate, and finish coats.

         1.   Materials not specifically suggested, but required,
              such as linseed oil, shellac, thinners and the like
              are to be of quality not less than required by
              applicable Federal or State Specification

    B.   Proprietary names used to designate colors or materials
         are not intended to imply that products of named
         manufacturers are required to exclusion of equivalent
         products of other manufacturer.

    C.   Color Pigments:  Pure, nonfading, applicable types to
         suit substrates and service suggested.

         1.   Lead content in pigment, if any, is limited to
              contain not more than 0.06% lead, as lead metal
              based on the nonvolatile total (dry-film) of paint
              by weight.

              RESTRICTED SINCE 1978.

    D.   Paint may be thinned only when recommended by the
         manufacturer's printed instructions.  Type of thinner and
         quantity shall be as specified by the manufacturer.

    E.   Primers

    F.   Undercoat Materials

    G.   Interior and Exterior Finish Paint Material


    A.   For Brush Application:

         1.   Natural bristle brushes:  Precondition by soaking
              in raw linseed oil for 24 hours.  

    B.   For Roller Application:

         1.   Pipe rollers

    C.   For Mechanical Application:

         1.   Hot-air spray

         2.   Cold-air spray (automatic or hand)

         3.   Electrostatic air spray (powder or fluid)



    A.   Examine substrates and conditions under which painting
         will be done for compliance with requirements for
         application of paint.  

    B.   Do not begin paint application until unsatisfactory
         conditions have been corrected.

    C.   Start of surface preparation/painting is the applicator's
         notice that the surfaces and conditions within a
         particular area are acceptable to begin work.


    NOTE:  See also surface preparation procedures for specific
    materials referenced in Part 1 of this procedure.

    A.   Protection:

         1.   Do all preparation and cleaning procedures in
              strict accordance with the paint manufacturer's
              instructions and as herein specified, for each
              particular substrate condition.

         2.   Remove hardware and hardware accessories, plates,
              machined surfaces, lighting fixtures, and similar
              items in place that are not to be painted, or
              provide surface-applied protection before surface
              preparation and painting.  

              a.   Remove these items if necessary for complete
                   painting of the items and adjacent surfaces.

              b.   Following completion of painting operations in
                   each space or area, have items reinstalled by
                   workers skilled in the trades involved.

         3.   Adjacent surfaces shall be protected against
              spatters, stains, or soiling.  Each coat of primer
              or paint shall be evenly spread without skips,
              runs, sags, and clogging, and allowed to dry before
              next coat is applied.  

         4.   Provide ample illumination in areas where painting
              work is in progress to fully light the work being

              a.   Examine areas and conditions where painting is
                   to be done and correct any defects before
                   beginning paint application.

              b.   Starting to paint is applicator's notice that
                   surface preparation is acceptable.

    B.   Surface Preparation:  Clean and prepare new surfaces to
         be painted according to the manufacturer's instructions
         for each particular substrate condition.

         1.   Clean surfaces before applying paint or surface

              a.   Remove oil and grease before cleaning.

              b.   Schedule cleaning and painting so that dust
                   and other contaminants from the cleaning
                   process will not fall on wet, newly painted

         2.   Hand sand between each undercoat and finish coats
              on smooth surface materials where oil and synthetic
              resin base paint and varnish systems are scheduled.

              a.   Use extra-fine sandpaper on painted surfaces.

              b.   Remove dust from surfaces after sanding with
                   tack cloths.

              c.   Note any additional requirement for rubbed
                   finishes on architectural woodwork, scheduled
                   with that finish.

    C.   Materials Preparation:  Carefully mix and prepare paint
         materials according to manufacturers' directions.

         1.   Maintain containers used in mixing and application
              of paint in a clean condition, free of foreign
              materials and residue.

         2.   Stir material before application to produce a
              mixture of uniform density; stir as required during
              application.  Do not stir surface film into
              material.  Remove film and, if necessary, strain
              material before using.

         3.   Use only thinners approved by the paint
              manufacturer, and only within recommended limits.

         4.   Tinting:  Tint each undercoat a lighter shade to
              ease identification of each coat where multiple
              coats of the same material are applied.  Tint
              undercoats to match the color of the finish coat,
              but provide sufficient differences in shade of
              undercoats to distinguish each separate coat.


    A.   General:

         1.   Assume all responsibility for paint coats applied
              over surfaces and undercoats which have not been
              approved by CRM.

         2.   Remove paint and apply any additional coats of
              paint, as directed by CRM, where surface
              preparation and undercoats have not been approved
              before finish painting.

         3.   Provide finish coats that are compatible with
              primers used.

         4.   Where different colors meet, provide a clear line
              of natural juncture.

         5.   Apply additional coats when undercoats, stains, or
              other conditions show through the final coat of
              paint until paint film is of uniform finish, color,
              and appearance.  Give special attention to ensure
              that surfaces, including edges, corners, crevices,
              welds, and exposed fasteners, receive a dry film
              thickness equivalent to that of flat surfaces.

         6.   Finish doors on tops, bottoms and side edges, the
              same as the exterior faces.

         7.   Paint the back sides of access panels, removable or
              hinged covers to match the exposed surfaces.  

              a.   The term "exposed surfaces" includes areas
                   visible when permanent or built-in fixtures,
                   grilles, and similar components are in place.

              b.   Extend coatings in these areas as required to
                   maintain the system integrity and provide
                   desired protection.

         8.   Paint surfaces behind movable equipment and
              furniture the same as similar exposed surfaces.  

         9.   Paint surfaces behind permanently fixed equipment
              or furniture with prime coat only before final
              installation of equipment.

         10.  Include field prime coats on metalwork in addition
              to any shop prime coats.

         11.  Sand lightly between each succeeding enamel and
              varnish coat.


    B.   Scheduling Painting:  

         1.   Apply the first coat to surfaces cleaned,
              pretreated, or otherwise prepared for painting when
              practicable after preparation and before subsequent
              surface deterioration.

         2.   Allow sufficient time between successive coats to
              allow proper drying.  Do not recoat until paint has
              dried to where it feels firm, and does not deform
              or feel sticky under moderate thumb pressure and
              where application of another coat of paint does not
              cause lifting or loss of adhesion of the undercoat.

    C.   Apply paint following manufacturers' directions.  Use
         applicators and techniques best suited for substrate and
         type of material being applied.


         1.   Methods of Application:

              a.   Brush application:

                   1)   Brush-out and work brush coats in both
                        directions onto the surfaces in a uniform

                   2)   Use brushes best suited for the type of
                        material being applied.  

                   3)   Neatly draw all glass and color break

              b.   Roller application:

                   1)   Roll-out and work roller coats in both
                        directions onto the surfaces in a uniform

                   2)   Sleeves used on the rollers to be clean,
                        full clipped pile, or as recommended by
                        paint manufacturer for material and
                        texture required.  

                   3)   Use brush at corners, fasteners,
                        irregular surfaces or items, and other
                        like conditions.

              c.   Mechanical application:

                   WITH CRM.

                   1)   Spray painting, if permitted, should be
                        accomplished using pressure settings,
                        application technique, spray tip, mesh
                        filter screens, and mesh tip strainer as
                        recommended by the coating manufacturer.

                   2)   Do not double back with spray equipment
                        to build up film thickness of two coats
                        in one pass.

         2.   Minimum Coating Thickness:  

              a.   Apply materials at not less than the
                   manufacturer's recommended spreading rate.  
                   Provide a total dry film thickness of the
                   entire system as recommended by the

              b.   The number of coats and film thickness
                   required is the same, despite the application
                   method.  Do not apply succeeding coats until
                   the previous coat has cured as recommended by
                   the manufacturer.  Sand between applications
                   where sanding is required to produce an even
                   smooth surface according to the manufacturer's



              a.   Before application of finish coats, apply a
                   prime coat of material as recommended by the
                   manufacturer to material required to be
                   painted or finished and has not been prime
                   coated by others.  

              b.   Recoat primed and sealed surfaces where
                   evidence of suction spots or unsealed areas in
                   first coat appears, to assure a finish coat
                   with no burn through or other defects due to
                   insufficient sealing.

              c.   Omit primer on metal surfaces that have been
                   shop-primed and touch up painted.


              a.   Mechanical and Electrical Work:  Painting
                   mechanical and electrical work is limited to
                   items exposed in mechanical equipment rooms
                   and in occupied spaces.

              b.   Block Fillers:  Apply block fillers to
                   concrete masonry block at a rate to ensure
                   complete coverage with pores filled.

              c.   For Stipple Enamel Finish:  Roll and
                   redistribute paint to an even and fine
                   texture.  Leave no evidence of rolling such as
                   laps, irregularity in texture, skid marks, or
                   other surface imperfections.

              d.   For Pigmented (Opaque) Finishes:  Completely
                   cover to provide an opaque, smooth surface of
                   uniform finish, color, appearance, and
                   coverage.  Cloudiness, spotting, holidays,
                   laps, brush marks, runs, sags, ropiness, or
                   other surface imperfections will not be

              e.   For Transparent (Clear) Finishes:  Use
                   multiple coats to produce a glass-smooth
                   surface film of even luster.  Provide a finish
                   free of laps, cloudiness, color irregularity,
                   runs, brush marks, orange peel, nail holes, or
                   other surface imperfections.

         5.   Completed Work:  

              a.   Match approved samples for color, texture, and
                   coverage.  Remove, refinish, or repaint work
                   not in compliance with specified requirements.

              b.   Finish painted surfaces shall be free of
                   clouding due to noncoverage of ground coats or
                   surfaces to which applied.  Finish coat shall
                   match specified color.  

                   1)   Edges adjoining other materials or colors
                        shall be true without overlapping.  

                   2)   Each coat shall be applied to ornamental
                        work in a way that will not obscure
                        ornament and texture.

                   3)   Each coat shall be even.


    A.   GSA reserves the right to invoke the following test
         procedure any time and as often as it deems necessary
         during the period when paint is being applied.

         1.   GSA may engage the services of an independent
              testing laboratory to sample the paint material
              being used.  Samples of material delivered to the
              project will be taken, identified, sealed, and
              certified in the presence of the contractor.

         2.   The testing laboratory will do appropriate tests
              for the following characteristics as required by

              a.   Quantitative materials.
              b.   Abrasion resistance.
              c.   Apparent reflectivity.
              d.   Flexibility.
              e.   Washability.
              f.   Absorption.
              g.   Accelerated weathering.
              h.   Dry opacity.
              i.   Accelerated yellowness.
              j.   Recoating.
              k.   Skinning.
              l.   Color retention.
              m. Alkali and mildew resistance.

    B.   If the test results show that the paint materials do not
         comply with the specified requirements, stop the painting
         work, and remove noncomplying paint; repaint surfaces
         coated with the rejected paint; remove rejected paint
         from previously painted surfaces if, upon repainting with
         the specified paint, the two coatings are noncompatible.

         corrective methods as directed.

Last Reviewed 2012-02-24