Very few of us enjoy the project of painting our home’s exterior (we are one of the few who LOVE it!), but it is an important part of homeownership to protect your investment. Home exteriors should be painted every 5-10 years depending on the surface, quality of paint used, the preparation work before the last paint job (properly prepped surfaces result in more lasting paint jobs), and your home’s climate.
Wood surfaces typically need to be painted every 3-7 years or stained every 4 years. Aluminum siding needs to be painted approximately every 5 years, and stucco lasts between 5-6 years. Painted cement fiberboard siding and painted brick will both last 12-13 years, depending on the quality of paint job, and unpainted brick simply needs regular pressure washing (just be sure to paint the trim on a regular basis!).
Not sure how long it’s been since your house last had its exterior painted? Here are 6 things to look for to know when your house needs a new coat of paint:
- Peeling paint. Paint begins peeling when moisture makes its way under the surface of the paint, releasing the bond between paint and surface. It is also a sign that is far past time for a new paint job, as your home’s structure is now at risk to moisture. Keep in mind that paint doesn’t just make a house look pretty, it also protects it from the elements.
- Gaps or shrinks. If the boards on your home’s exterior look like they’re shrinking or if there are gaps beginning to form between boards, that could be a sign of dry rot. If it’s been too long between paint jobs, moisture may be getting into the wood and causing serious damage. It’s not your eyes playing tricks on you — have a professional come out and look at the boards right away.
- Cracking stucco. Some people choose stucco because its coating has a longer longevity than wood siding. While that’s true, stucco still needs maintenance paintings to protect the surface. If your stucco is beginning to show hairline cracks, it is time to paint. Remember, any blemish in your home’s exterior surface allows moisture to get in and cause damage.
- Caulk is cracking. Take a look at the caulk between your boards. If it is dry, brittle, or cracking, it is time for an exterior paint job.
- The color is fading. We’ve discussed that exterior paint isn’t just for aesthetics, and the same holds true with fading color. If your paint color is fading, it is a sign of sun damage that is weakening the integrity of your paint as a protective surface.
- Your home is a 5-year-old. If your home was built over 5 years ago and has not been painted since, it’s time for a paint job. During new constructions, a single coat of paint is typically sprayed on to the house. Don’t wait longer than 5 years to have your home painted a second time by a professional exterior house painting contractor.