Repainting your home exterior is a major job, whether you do it yourself or hire a local painting company. It’s natural, then, that we want our homes to go as long as possible between repainting projects. The danger, though, is that if you let it go too long, the paint begins to deteriorate and the project gets drastically harder (and more expensive). That is why exterior paint maintenance is so important!
When you perform proper paint maintenance on your home exterior, it provides you with several important benefits. First of all, your home looks great year after year, even when it has been quite a while since your last full paint job. When you don’t perform this maintenance, your home begins to look slightly shabby and dirty after just a couple of years.
Secondly, as we hinted above, when you perform the minor annual paint maintenance that we recommend, it will extend the life of your exterior house paint so that you can go longer between full repainting projects. This saves you plenty of time and money!
Maintenance Item #1 – House Washing
Most of us are aware that washing our cars does more than just keep them looking clean; it also helps extend the life of the paint. Washing your house has the same benefit. Washing your home exterior gets rid of all kinds of surface contaminants, including pollen, dirt, air pollutants, bird droppings, mildew, mold spores, and more. Of course, this helps your home look fresher, but it also keeps the paint from deteriorating.
House washing can be performed with a sponge or a soft scrub brush. We would recommend a long-handled, soft-bristled scrub brush and a mild solution of soapy water. A gentle scrub with this, and then a light rinse with a garden hose, will do wonders to keep your home looking great! If you have any mildew issues, you could add a couple tablespoons of bleach to the mixture.
Another option for cleaning your home exterior is pressure washing. Even if you own a pressure washer or are considering renting one, you might do better to hire a professional. A pressure washer can be hazardous to people and property unless handled correctly. In addition, it can be difficult to achieve the proper balance of pressure and distance that will clean the house without damaging the surface.
When performed by a professional, pressure washing produces great results and helps keep your home in great shape!
Maintenance Item #2 – Touch-up Painting
Every part of your home has unique conditions that change the rate at which paint deteriorates. Some areas receive more sunlight or wind exposure than others, some have different substrates (wood, metal, vinyl…) beneath them, and others have received different kinds of coatings and treatments in the past. All this means that some parts of your home will require repainting before others.
If you are determined that exterior painting is an all-or-nothing activity, you will end up painting some areas sooner than you would need to, or letting other areas go too long before repainting. Either course is problematic.
The best option is to perform touch-up painting on your home exterior every year or two. Just a few hours of exterior painting each year can add significantly to the life of your whole paint job! If you aren’t able (or wanting) to do this yourself, you could use a Painter for a Day service to do this for you.
Maintenance Item #3 – Maintain Landscaping
Your landscaping near the house can have a surprising effect on the longevity of your exterior house paint. The biggest key in preventing the landscaping from adversely affecting your paint life is to let the house dry.
When the side of your house is kept wet, it promotes the growth of fungi like mildew and mold. It also promotes wood rot and other material deterioration. Finally, insects are more likely to make their home in wood that is damaged by moisture.
To avoid these kinds of problems, trim bushes, shrubs, and trees near the house so that there is room for air flow (and some sunlight, ideally) all around the perimeter of the house.
Another thing to check is whether any sprinklers are getting your siding wet. If so, move or redirect them so that their spray stays off the house.
Dead leaves piled up against the side of your house are a definite problem, as they retain moisture and give rodents and insects a refuge.
Finally, trim ivy and vines to stay off your siding. These kinds of plants can ruin siding and windows by getting into cracks and making them bigger. They also cling to the siding, leaving marks behind when they are pulled off. If you really love English Ivy or Trumpet Vine, build an arbor for it away from your house.
Maintenance Item #4 – Check Gutters and Downspouts
When our gutters and downspouts are functioning correctly, moisture is channeled away from the home and our paint is protected. Neglected gutters, however, can get backed up and allow water to overflow onto various parts of the home exterior. This creates unnecessary wear on the exterior paint (and the surfaces beneath it).
Maintenance Item #5 – Caulking
Windows, doors, vents, and other items that interrupt your siding are some of the most likely leak points. Caulk can split or crack over time, allowing air exchange (wasting energy bills) and water intrusion (leading to deterioration). It is wise to have a professional painter check and refresh your caulking on a yearly basis.
Maintenance Item #6 – Wood Sealing
For wood that is not painted, whether it is stained or just sealed, it is important to refresh its waterproofing every year or two.
A.G. Williams: Helping You Maintain Your Exterior Paint for Maximum Performance
Hopefully, we’ve convinced you of the importance and value of yearly exterior paint maintenance. Some of these items require only a couple minutes a year, while others take several hours.
While we aren’t into landscaping, there are many of these maintenance items that A.G. Williams would be happy to help you monitor and perform. As much as we would love to perform your complete exterior house repainting when it becomes necessary, we are just as thrilled to help you delay that project by minor yearly maintenance.
A.G. Williams provides professional house painting services in Connecticut and New York, emphasizing superior craftsmanship and customer service for well over 100 years!