Connect with us

By Benn Mumanyi

What causes exterior paints to fail? Actually all exterior paint that is exposed to the weather will eventually fail no matter how well it has been applied. This is due to cracking and the loss of adhesion or by erosion to the substrate. The period a paint lasts depends on a number of factors like the nature and condition of the substrate, type of coating applied and the severity of the of the weather conditions of the paint has to endure.

The above question should thus read, “What causes exterior paint to fail prematurely?”

Failure to smooth rough edges

Paint does not adhere well to an unstable surface such as old paint that exhibits marginal adhesion. Scraping is the usual method of removing this type of surface but it can require special attention because the paint that remains after the worst has been scrapped off will probably have rough edges.

When new paint is applied it flows over these rough surfaces edges and this result in inadequate thickness and creates areas of vulnerability where it can fail prematurely.

An effectively preventative measure is to taper the edges of the old paint by feather sanding them using medium grit garnet paper for general exterior use and finishing with fine grit garnet paper where close up appearance is important for semi gloss and gloss paint.

It is important not to be too aggressive during sanding because heat generated can degrade the adhesion of paint, which results in failures. If there is lead in paint it should never be sanded.

Failure to prepared weathered wood

Controlled exposure tests have clearly shown that a primer and paint does not adhere to wood that has been weathered as well as it adheres to wood that has not been weathered.

Even exposure for just a few weeks before painting can make a significant difference. The results after a year or two could be significant difference. The results after a year or two could be cracking and peeling rather than good performance from the paint for far longer.

Prior to priming or staining, the surface of weathered wood should be refreshed by thoroughly sanding. It is important to remove any wood that is grey from weathering. Medium grit garnet paper works well, but if a gloss or semi gloss paint is going to be applied, the wooden surface should be re-sanded with fine grit sand paper.

Failure to use a primer

Primers and sealers are coatings that enhance the appearance and performance of almost any paint job. Primers are applied because they improve the adhesion of the top coat of paint to the surface below, by providing a smooth, uniform surface, so that when paint is applied, it can get a better “grip” on the surface. This helps enhance the durability of the paint job.

Primers also help prevent stains and tannins coming through the paint and ruining its appearance. For example, top quality primers can block out stains caused by water, rust, smoke and other substances. The third reason for applying primers is purely aesthetic.

Failure to apply paint at the correct spread rate

If paint is applied too thin, many key properties are likely to suffer. These include crack resistance, mildew resistance, durability and in the case of primers, stain blocking and corrosion resistance.

The thicker the film of paint, the better the coating will perform in each of these properties. So be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommended spread rate. Thinning the paint prior to application can also compromise these properties. Thinned paint applied at the recommended spread rate will dry to a thinner than intended film because of the reduced solids concentration and this affects performance.

Failure to use the correct type and quality of paint

The additional cost of quality paint goes a long way in the long run. The consumer will pay extra money for quality but it ensures more durability and better adhesion. The best quality paints are 100% pure acrylic paint. This investment will ensure long term cost saving as it means less frequent painting and a long lasting quality finish. It provides extra years of service and wards off some common problems that can render a paint job unsightly in a relatively short time period.

Consumers need to be aware of the description “super acrylic” as this term is misleading and does not refer to 100% acrylic products. To avoid disappointment, it is best to check with the experts on the exact constituents of the paint before purchase. Lastly it is important to choose paints where the manufacturer specifically details the application area and performance expectation of the paint.

The writer is the Technical Manager at Basco Paints

Edition 07

Beating the budget



The process of investing on interiors calls for one to partner with a professional who can realistically execute and complete the project within given timelines and estimated amounts writes NYAMBURA KINUTHIA.

IN OUR EVERYDAY LANGUAGE, the word BUDGET surfaces. It is a household name in government circles, corporate world, business world and the Small Medium Enterprises. In several homes, the language is about apportioning money for school fees, domestic consumption, staff, house shopping, projects and the list is endless. Budgeting is thus the way of living.
Well, in some instances, budget will be used to mean “cheap”, to work “smart” or to have a “reality”. With the same breath, when a client engages an interior designer to work with them, the word “budget” means “let us work smart and on reality and where necessary cut down cost and not compromise quality”.
Realise and actualise

Therefore, budget in interior design is not about cutting down costs or going “cheap”. Budget is a reality-check, a must do exercise in order to realise and actualise envisioned purpose on the intended project.
It is therefore very essential that when you as a client start a project, it is paramount to engage and interior designer well in advance to come up with the realistic project budget before the interiors stage start.

Understanding requirements

The interior designer works closely with the client to understand the client requirements and the intended use of the space – office, home and hotel set-ups. They then develop a check list of works and suggest as well as guide the client on different materials suitable for particular areas. Among the items to consider are:-

  • The nature of interior finishing and furnishing materials to be used considering materials wear and tear and effect to the interior design.
  • What effect will time have on the new design.
  • How the colours will impact the design.
  • How each new interior design element will relate to the overall scheme.
  • What other product and finishing material options can be available.

The amount budgeted for a project is contingent upon project location, clientele, type of finish, quality of material used and the design details unique to the client environment and taste. Your designer will be able to help you with these details.
Consolidate project finances
As the designer will help the client determine the budget and a completion timeline, this gives you as the client space to consolidate project finances before work execution thus primarily saving you time and money.
Another area greatly affected by budget is the day-to-day project management that include:-

  • Site interpretation of the proposed designs.
  • Evaluation of quantity of materials required on each area before purchase to avoid wastage.
  • Your Interior Designer can take on all project management aspects or they
  • can consult with you as you act as general contractor/project manager
  • Will coordinate all trades as they have the expertise (electricians, carpenters, architects, engineers) from a scheduling and design stand point to ensure the project is completed per schedule.

Your Interior designer who has an understanding of the specialized needs of the client will work with the client to develop concepts that transform their spaces into an environment that has a unified look; and environment that is inviting to clientele and employees while Creating an image.
Below is an example (not exhaustive) of a broad check list based on hospitality outlet that your interior designer will come up with to help with the project budgeting:-

  • Flooring: ceramic tile, carpet, stained concrete slab, wood, linoleum, etc.
  • Wall covering: paint, wallpaper, faux finish, wall treatment and wall texture, wood panel.
  • Ceiling: paint, mouldings, gypsum ceiling, T&G etc.
  • Lighting: task, decorative, etc.
  • Window treatments: blinds, curtains, shades, etc.
  • Bars: size, style, equipment, finishes
  • Furniture: barstools, tables, chairs, lounge seating, etc.
  • Tabletop: centerpieces, tabletop accessories, etc.
  • Decorative accessories: artwork, mirrors, pictures, sculpture
  • Fixtures: display fixtures
  • New additions: new walls, conceptual architectural elements, etc.
  • Labour costs: The list above represents material costs. Don’t forget labour
  • Administration – Licence
  • Structural changes
  • Sound Systems
  • Accoustical considerations
  • Kitchen equipments and appliances.
  • Sanitary fittings and mixtures
  • Flexible Nightclub lighting
  • Design Consulting Fees
  • Soft furnishings: linen
  • Cutlery & crockery

This kind of list helps the client to get started. Your Interior Designers will work with the client to come up with the options, quality and quantity which will help work out the budget after selection and zeroing of preferred materials. This must do exercise helps the client save money by taking advantage of the designer planning, design and construction experience.
Entering into an interior finishing or renovation project without adequate knowledge can be very costly as experience has shown over the time.
Consulting with an interior designer is a wise way of saying “I will work and partner with a professional to realistically execute and complete project that has been professionally managed smartly and within budget to create that envisioned unique and functional space”.
Nyambura is the Head Designer at the Nairobi based, Zidaka Interiors

Continue Reading

Edition 07




Electrical and General Appliances

EGA’s main focus is to supply, install and service high quality equipment sourced from world-renowned manufacturers in USA and Europe.  The company offers a wide variety of equipment to choose from which is unmatchable, and a lot of inventory to insure faster delivery times, and on-demand availability.

Despite success over the years, EGA has faced challenges with counterfeit products or lower quality products from the Far East. These products appear to be cheaper based on their price tag attracting many price conscious consumers. “However,   many customers do not realize that the specification of the cheaper equipment are not as powerful, less cost effective, have significantly worse performance and have a shorter life, costing you significantly more money in the long run when it comes to servicing, parts, and opportunity cost lost due to under-performing or non-functioning equipment.” says Shiraz Ramji, Managing Director, EGA.

EGA focuses on supplying the best quality equipments, installation, service, and advice for all their customers’ laundry needs; while practicing business ethically and professionally.



Continue Reading

Edition 07

Saffarini exacts new architectural standards



A new concept in architectural design has landed in East Africa courtesy of Eng. Adnan Saffarini Office (Africa branch), by KelaiWanjiru.  With a strong heritage and history in the United Arab Emirates, the architectural and design consultancy is surely changing the design of urban cities in the region. Already strategically initiating projects in various parts of the city, Eng. Adnan Saffarini Office has set foot with the aim to establish new property models that are sustainable as well as architecturally unique.

Being the brains behind most of the world famous towers in Dubai like the Princess Tower  (the tallest residential tower in the world) The Elite tower in Marsa Dubai, and  the Mohammed Ishmael Tower.  Some of the Office landmarks include Universities, Shopping Malls, Skyscrapers, Embassies, Warehouses, Schools, Mosques, Villas, Commercial and Residential Buildings.Adding glory to the firms many credits is the AI-Zaher Palace, which belongs to His Highness Sheik Rashed AI Noeimi, which was a distinguished project designed by EAS, and is printed on the first Currency of UAE, a fifty Dirham Bank note.  A building of notability is the Falcon city of wonders in the heart of Dubai, built to resemble a falcon, is another world famous project designed and supervised by the Eng. Adnan Saffarini Office in Dubai.

Eng. Adnan Saffarini Africa is set to change the way real estate developers and architects in East Africa view projects.  The engineers, architects and technical staff at the esteemed firm not only look at projects from a profit making perspective, but they go deeper to create aesthetic appeal, incorporate unique value adding aspects of every development, and give each one an exclusive architectural dimension that will leave an impression not to be matched over the ages.

Saffarini Africa has also endeavoured to change the city of Nairobi with new developments set to begin.  Already identified is a shopping mall in the heart of Eastleigh that’s set to beat any other complex in the region.

Built to accommodate the whole family, the complex will have a unique in-house all inclusive value added services.  The engineers behind this concept are convinced that the complex will be so welcoming and inviting that average time spent in the mall will be 4 hours.  Other developments are a 4 star hotel in the heart of Nairobi city and a city in the wilderness of OngataRongai.  The city resort will be 100 per cent eco-friendly with dams around the complex and residents having a panoramic view of the Nairobi National Park.

According to the regional director, Africa MahadMohamudKarani the firm aims to create design concepts that when actualised, are simple, realistic and sustainable. Small features like setting areas aside for taking walks, riding bikes, playgrounds for the children and security are what Saffarini Africa has taken into consideration.  In the various developments handled by the firm, one will notice that attention to detail is imperative and

With a vision to change architectural concepts to attain international standards, Saffarini Africa is a firm with a vision for Africa.


Eng. Adnan Saffarini Office

Engineering Consultants

International house 10th Floor

Mama Ngina Street

P. o. Box 22173 – 00100 Nairobi, Kenya

Website :

Tel: +254 20 2225355 / +254 20 2225551

Fax:+254 20 2224999


SaffariniAfrica .. A vision for Africa

Continue Reading