Lopco Blogs

What are Lap Marks?

Even though the exterior house stains of today perform much differently than their ancestors from yesteryear, they certainly embody many of their elders’ characteristics.

As an example, when able to be used, long-term wise, stains tend not to be as susceptible to peeling as paint is, which has always been one of the more attractive reasons for using stain.

These days, solid stains provide the appearance of paint (for better or worse) much more so than solid stains from years ago.

Some people like this, others not so much.

One aspect of working with stain, from translucents to solid stains, which has always been one of the trickiest things about working with stain, is the challenge of avoiding lap marks.

If you have ever worked with stain and applied the product off a ladder, then either lowered the ladder to paint to the bottom of the side you are working on or moved the ladder over (without keeping a “wet edge”) and then continued to apply product, then stepped back to admire your work and have been alarmed at what you saw, you most likely have discovered the joy of the “lap mark”.

Of course, I am being facetious as there is absolutely no joy in recognizing a lap mark at all, in fact, it is usually quite the opposite feeling.

Lap marks are marks that show up as variations in color/sheen appearance (even though stains technically do not have a sheen associated with them) which look as though someone was applying product to a certain area, then stopped, then continued with the unevenness in appearance being the result.

When it is noticed that a lap mark is present, you are immediately in a bit of a pickle.

Correcting the lap marks is going to take a bit of hard work and experimentation.

Depending upon the type of stain product that was being used, the process for fixing these unsightly monstrosities will vary.

Minimally, they will need to be sanded out to some degree and you will have to play around to see how deep of surface preparation will be required in order to allow things to be “evened out”.

The ultimate goal would, of course, be to avoid experiencing having to deal with lap marks in the first place.

This can be done by simply following a couple of easy steps…

I mentioned the term keeping a “wet edge”, what this refers to is keeping the edges of your product “wet” by leaving a little extra product prior to moving your ladder so that you can pick up from where you left off from as you safely reposition yourself to continue applying the product.

Keeping a “wet edge” should be done in conjunction with the approach of, literally, aiming to apply product to one (or no more than 3) boards at a time, from one end to another.

Put plainly, if you are able to paint one end of a board from beginning to end while maintaining a wet edge in the process, you will greatly eliminate the possibility of lap marking taking place.

This is true for both horizontal and vertical siding, decks, etc.

If this is not able to be done, there is a very good possibility that you will end up staring at the outside of your home, after hours of potentially excruciating work, and instead of the gratifying satisfaction of a job well done, be confronted by a stunningly disappointing appearance of this lap mark phenomenon, which could have easily been avoided with proper technique being utilized from the beginning.

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