An appealing exterior lends life and vitality to a home, dramatically enhances its curb appeal and commonly even boosts its sales price. So it should be no surprise that choosing a dramatic color scheme and assuring that your home gets a great paint job is an investment in its value.
Think of your home's exterior paint as a sort of "jacket" that protects trim and siding from the weather and other types of damage. When you keep that jacket clean and in prime condition, it's a lot easier to maintain your home's structural integrity and beauty. There are many factors that lead to a paint job's deterioration and, in turn, to unnecessary aging or damage.
Factors that Influence Longevity
The four primary determinants of longevity include local weather conditions, the type of underlying materials and the quality of the workmanship, the preparation that precedes actual paint application, and the quality and type of the paint (or stain) itself.
Depending on architectural style, you might want a vibrant, colorful scheme, a dramatic, contrasting entry door color, a subtle traditional scheme, or a unique expression of your personal style. Wood trim on traditional homes is commonly painted, although stained finishes predominate in some areas of the country, especially on contemporary or Southwest-style homes.
How to Look for Damage
Regular visual inspection of exterior painted surfaces is the best defense, along with periodic cleaning and touch up when necessary.
Depending on your area's climate, you may have to inspect your painted surfaces every few months, or following a couple of seasons of unusual weather. It's not difficult, but very valuable: Simply take a walk around and look closely at all your home's exterior wood surfaces. Doing so will enable you to spot any damage or repairs that need to be made before putting your house on the market. Note any signs of fading, peeling and cracking on the trim around windows and doors, on fascia boards and under eaves, and on large expanses of siding. If you notice signs of warping or joint separation, or telltale water stains, you might have to do a bit more detective work. Check the caulking, looking for ways that water could seep into spaces between the wood or at its edges. Poke a screwdriver into suspicious areas to see if there are signs of dry rot, which is a "powdering" caused by fungus. Look up towards the roof line, but also check near the foundation and be sure to inspect areas behind shrubbery, especially if you have vining plants.
Touch up wood surfaces whenever you notice any signs of fading or damage. This type of preventive maintenance, performed on a regular basis, will prolong your home's exterior life. On average, it's wise to budget for repainting wood siding every three to six years. A shingled exterior is likely to require more frequent routine maintenance to keep it in top condition. If your exterior sheathing is cement-based, a good paint job might last 10 years.
When the Time Comes to Repaint
If you're diligent about routine inspection and ongoing maintenance, your scheduled repainting project is likely to be easier and less costly than if you leave all repair work until you can no longer avoid it. As with any home renovation and restoration project, quality counts and expertise matters. A professional painting company will give you good service, offer advice on eco-friendly materials and practices, get the job done in a reasonable amount of time and provide a warranty.
When the repainting is complete, you'll be pleased with the new look of your home, whether you plan to list it for sale, or enjoy it for a while longer. And that fresh coat of paint will continue to clothe your wood siding and trim with the protection it needs.