Painting a house exterior is part of its maintenance and should not be neglected. Exterior paint goes far beyond colour trends and aesthetics, it helps to protect your house from the elements. Our homes here on the west coast are put through a beating as they experience anything from harsh sunlight to salty air, driving rain and winter storms.
There’s no definitive answer that can be given to the question of when to paint. What is clear is that putting it off for even a year or two can lead to damage. Extra preparation in the form of scraping and sanding will drastically increase the cost of a re-paint. Having to replace cracking or rotting wood can have it skyrocketing.
A general consensus in the paint industry is that a house may need to be painted every 7 to 10 years. However, there are many variables that can affect the longevity of a paint job that could decrease or increase that time frame.
What Was The Quality Of The Previous Paint Job?
A high quality paint is a must when it comes to exterior painting. Cheap paint simply won’t last, the inferior products will start to quickly break down and the product will not provide good protection for your home. However, even the highest quality paint will not make up for improper preparation or incorrectly applied paint. An inadequately prepared surface can fail within a year or sooner. All kinds of issues are possible if paint has been applied on a surface that is damp or that is in intense direct sunlight.
Fading And Chalking
Beyond fading your exterior paint may not show any signs of physical damage, but it can be quite unsightly. There are higher quality paints with improved UV resistance that can help your colour look its best over time, but certain colours are still susceptible to accelerated fading. Most notable are darker and vibrant colours.
Chalking is a light coloured, powdery residue that starts to appear on the paint surface. The paint will start to become duller and lose its luster. Some chalking is expected over time, it’s a normal process of paint wear, that’s main cause is exposure to sunlight and moisture. If you’re not sure if your paint surface has chalking you can wipe it with a dark rag and if a lighter version of the paint colour show up on it, that’s chalking. Don’t mistake chalking for what might be dust, dirt or build up from air pollution. Chalking is not covered by paint manufacturer’s warranties as the causes of it are outside of their control.
The Degrading Effects Of Weather
Exposure to weather and UV rays start to break down paint. There may be areas or sides of your house that need painting sooner than others. Highly protected areas may be fine for a decade, while areas exposed to harsh sunlight and rain will need to be painted more frequently. South or southwest facing sides of a house and sides that face into prevailing winds are usually the first to show signs of degradation. Houses that sit near the ocean edge tend to deteriorate faster due to the higher humidity and salt in the air. The worst thing you can do is continuing to let one side of a house badly degrade because you’re waiting until the whole house needs addressing.
The caulking on the exterior of a house is another important part of its protection. Caulking has a shorter life span than most paint. The caulking starts to lose its elasticity over time, it becomes brittle and can start to crack, crumble and fall out.
Keep Up With House Maintenance
You should inspect your house exterior at least once a year and keep on top of the maintenance. If you see signs of chipping, cracking, flaking or bubbling paint this can start to allow moisture to penetrate to the surface underneath and cause further problems. Address issues as they arise and it will extend the life of your paint job and keep your house well protected.
Look for gaps, twisting, cupping or warping or If you start to see trim work or siding that is beginning to pull away from window or door frames, it’s time to paint before it worsens. Caulking may have deteriorated and surfaces may no longer have adequate protection from the paint.
Hopefully your house has not been left to the point of experiencing wood rot, but it can happen if neglected for too long. Are there areas of soft spots? Typical places are at the end fascia boards in the gables. The bottom section of corner trim boards, window sills and other horizontal surfaces. Areas in wood siding where there are knots, cracks or joints. Any area of the house materials that can wick up water on a regular basis.
Are You Ready For A Colour Change Or Want To Transform The Exterior Of Your House?
Perhaps you’re tired of the current colour or want better curb appeal. Did you see a colour an appealing colour combination on another house that you think might look good on yours? In comparison to doing an expensive remodelling, a new colour scheme can be a cheaper alternative to completely change the look your house exterior. You would be surprised at how different a house can look by highlighting different architectural details or making less attractive ones recede.
Improve Your Resale Value
A fresh quality paint job can go a long way towards improving the resale value of your home. Before selling your house consider if it would benefit from re-painting. A potential buyer may be turned off if the exterior of the house looks like it has not been well maintained. We’re often contacted by realtors for a cost to paint a house exterior. You can bet that they are using the amount as a tool to negotiate the price for their client.
Skimpy Paint Jobs Done On New Construction
Don’t assume just because you bought a newer house that the paint is good to go for the foreseeable future. Quite often there is only one quick coat of paint applied to a newly constructed house. We see new houses all the time that are clearly in need of a further coat of paint, especially on the trim work and particularly the fascia boards. You can see that the paint is barely providing coverage and it may have already started to fade or wear. Even if it two coats of paint were applied it’s often a low quality builders grade paint that may not be providing proper protection to the wood. Caulking is another area that is often skimped on during new construction painting. It was either inadequately applied or missed in areas altogether.
Certain Exterior Substrates Require More Maintenance Than Others
Wood substrates in general will require more frequent maintenance and painting in comparison to a substance like stucco or cement fiber board products. That being said, the materials used are often only as good as the quality of their installation. Cement fiber products such as Hardie board have a superior manufacturer warranty. That doesn’t get honoured if it was not installed correctly and many problems can occur if manufacturer’s specifications were not followed. There have been changes to the installation specifications since it was first used here on the west coast. Even though the correct installation was being followed there were some common issues being observed and adjustments were made to correct them. Unfortunately the houses with the older style installations will continue to have some issues.
The Length Of Time May Be Your Indicator To Paint Even If Other Signs Are Not Present
There may not be obvious signs that you need to paint, but paint has a limited lifespan. The components of the paint film are continuously breaking down. Over time they will no longer have the same protective qualities they once had. For instance the mildewcides break down and the paint will lose its ability to resist mildew growth.
If you can’t recall the last time your house was painted, or you know it’s been over ten years it’s probably time to paint and stay ahead of the game and paint to keep your house well protected.
Quite often homeowners don’t realize their paint was far from looking it’s best like when it was first applied. It may have become duller than you think. After a repaint a homeowner often realizes how refreshed and new the house looks again.
The Most Common Mistake Is Waiting Too Long To Paint
Too often homeowners make the mistake of delaying the painting of their house exterior, somehow thinking it’s saving them money. You’re not going to come out ahead by doing this. Once the exterior siding and trim start to deteriorate it will continue to do so at an accelerated rate. Replacing damaged areas and/or paying for excessive scraping and sanding, water penetration causing mold, mildew or rot or insect or critter infiltration due to unattended gaps. This is all going to cost you more in the long run. If you think it’s going to be really expensive to have your house painted because you have a lot of high areas, wait until you have to pay someone to replace just one of the wood fascia boards in a second or third storey peak because it wasn’t protected and was beyond repair. Heaven forbid you put off maintenance long enough that you have structural damage.
The Signs That It’s Time To Paint Your House Exterior
- Colour fading or the loss of paint luster
- Peeling, flaking or bubbling paint
- Staining, mold or mildew
- An excessive chalky appearance
- Shrinkage or gaps in the siding or trim work
- Wood with sections that have become exposed due to loss of paint or stain
- The majority of caulking has become cracked, is shrinking or has started to fall out
- You’re not in love with the colour anymore or want to update the colour scheme
- Getting ready to sell.
- There’s no one glaring issue that says you need to re-paint, but it’s just time