Aside from changing color trends, painting the exterior of your home is truly an issue of protecting your home from water damage. Water can cause wood to rot and metal to rust. Preventing these issues from occurring is well worth the investment in a new paint job. However, your exterior is composed of many different surfaces that have their own unique requirements.
Wood windows should be repainted every 5 years. If cost is a factor, and you’re not changing the color, you can often get away with just repainting the sills. Generally speaking, if bare wood is showing or the paint is cracking, it should be re-caulked and re-coated. You can start with an oil-based primer for superior adhesion and top coat with a semi-gloss latex paint.
Wood siding should be repainted every 8-10 years. Siding tends to show fading and wear well before deterioration becomes a maintenance issue. If your siding is in good shape and reasonably well-sealed, 2 coats of an acrylic paint or stain is more than sufficient. If there are cracks or blistering in the siding, sand down to bare wood, repair with wood filler, prime and then paint.
Decks done in a solid stain should last 5 years. Transparent or semi-transparent stains typically last 1 – 3 years. When re-coating, first pressure wash the existing surface, sand down any rough or flaking spots and re-coat with a new top layer of stain.
For stucco siding, stick to using a semi-elastomeric paint. It’s not crucial but it’s found to be more durable over the long run. A regular acrylic is sufficient, but typically won’t be as durable. Once painted, stucco should last as long if not longer than its wood counterparts.
A stained ceiling can be a real eye sore. What’s worse, is that it may be the result of an ongoing problem with plumbing in the floor above. And if you are attempting to sell your home, it’s often a red flag for inspectors that there may be some plumbing issues in the house.
Before you slap some paint on the ceiling to cover up the stain, follow these steps to ensure you properly address the issue.
Assess and Fix the Leak
If you don’t properly take care of source of the leak, fixing the spot on the ceiling will be in vain. Check the area above the ceiling to determine from where the water leak originates. Most stains occur on the ceiling in the first floor of homes and are caused by leaks in toilets and showers in upstairs bathrooms.
If you notice peeling caulk or pooling water, it may be a simple fix to replace with new sealant. However, if there are no visible signs of where the water is coming from, it might be best to call a plumber.
Prepare the Surface
After you have properly addressed the leak, you’ll need to prepare the surface before you paint.
If the drywall on the ceiling is damp or broken, you’ll need to patch it. After replacing the drywall, spackling and sanding, you’ll need to prime the repaired area before you can paint.
If the drywall is in good condition, you’ll need to coat the stain with a pigmented shellac to prevent it from bleeding through the topcoat. Next apply a quality paint and primer and your stain should disappear.
It’s likely that you will need to repaint the entire ceiling to avoid slight color and gloss differentials on the repaired area.
A deck is a great way to expand your living space outdoors. Keeping the finish in good condition not only ensures its beauty, but it can also extend the life of the structure.
Over time, various natural elements such as the sun, rain, and fluctuating temperatures can cause your deck finish to deteriorate, and the boards and structure to warp, cup, splinter and crack.
Most wood decks should be resealed every 3-4 years. To determine if your wood deck needs to be refinished, simply sprinkle some water and wait to see if it is absorbed quickly or beads. If absorbed, it’s time to refinish. If it beads, perform another status check in 6 months.
The benefits of refinishing your deck are tremendous. Refinishing your deck means that you will apply a protective layer of sealant to the wood. This will ensure that moisture does not penetrate into the grain of the wood or the cracks. The sealant will help prevent the formation of mildew and cracks or warping. Additionally, refinishing the deck will help to restore the color of the wood in areas where it has faded. Moreover, re-staining the wood will help bring out the grain/color and ensure that your deck looks great.
Maintaining painted surfaces can make them look new years after you originally painted them.
This requires that you occasionally clean dust and stains from the surfaces, and touch up the paint as needed. However, using the incorrect cleaning products and methods can ruin the paint. Below are some tips to maintain your paint:
Step 1 – Clean
- Use a feather duster or dry cloth to remove dust and dry dirt from the surface. Start at the top of the surface and work your way down when dusting. Put a tarp or garbage bag on the floor to protect it from falling dust.
- Scrub the surface with plain water. Soap is not required when cleaning lightly soiled painted surfaces.
- Combine mild soap and water in a bucket for deep cleaning. If stains do not disappear with plain water, scrub the stain with a mild soap solution.
- Prepare another bucket of plain water for rinsing.
- Dip a washcloth or sponge in the bucket of soapy water. Wring out the cloth, and rub it on the surface in circular motions to scrub fingerprints and spots of dirt. Start cleaning at the bottom of the painted surface.
- Rinse each area you clean with the plain water.
- Pay special attention to baseboards, corners and light switches when cleaning a painted wall. Dirt builds up fast around areas that are either touched often or forgotten about entirely.
- Dry the surface with a towel.
Step 2 – Clean tough stains
Some stains do not come out with soap and water, and require other cleaning products.
- Remove rust with a mixture of magnesium sulfate and water.
- Clean crayon from a painted surface with a spray lubricant.
- Eliminate mildew by adding bleach to a sponge and scrubbing the spot with the sponge.
Step 3 – Touch up the paint
- Add latex primer to the surface. Let it dry.
- Use the original paint to do touch-ups. Buying the same color will not work well because every can of paint has a slightly different shade.
- Apply the paint with the same tool used for the original coat. The size of the painting tool does not matter, but the type of tool does. For example, use a paint roller for the touch ups if you used a paint roller for the initial coat of paint.
- Start painting in the middle of the touch-up area. Move the brush or roller toward the outer edges of the spot to blend into the dry paint.
- Let the paint dry. Look at it in different lighting conditions to see if the touch-up areas are obvious. If so, apply another coat of paint and spend more time blending it in.
It really comes down to a matter of preference, but most homeowners typically repaint the majority of their homes every 7-15 years.
Today’s paints are designed to last a lifetime, so it should be many years, if not decades, before paint starts to peel. Cracking may occur as the house settles, but that is usually due to the structure shifting and not a poor paint job. If the paint was not applied properly (e.g., surface not prepared correctly), it may peel earlier, or this may indicate another major problem such as moisture in the walls.
You should likely re-paint when the house is looking dated, the walls are scuffed up or damaged beyond cleaning, or when you’re just plain tired of the color. Between 7 and 15 years is a reasonable expectation of time between re-painting.
The keys to a long-lasting paint job are good surface preparation and high quality paint. If you don’t wish to re-paint for quite some time, keep in mind that there are colors that seem to always be current (mainly “neutral” colors) and others that while may be trendy today, a decade from now someone will look at them and say “wow that is so 2010’s.”
Many people paint neutral colors before selling a home as it does look new, and some potential buyers can be negatively affected by strong colors they don’t like or that make a room look dark or small.