How To Know If Your Exterior Needs Painting

exterior painting bloomington indiana

This article's goal is to answer the questions:

  • How long does exterior paint last?  
  • How can you tell if your house needs repainted? 
  • When is the best time of year to paint outside? 

Paint Duration 

Not all exterior paints are made the same. There are different quality levels that make a real difference in terms of how long a coating will last.  

As a rule of thumb we direct our customers to a higher quality paint that will last a long time and provide a fine finish.  

We look for paints that will last at minimum 7-10 years and whose color won't fade; and when properly prepared will adhere year-over-year in inclement weather conditions.  

Our preferred paint for exterior is Benjamin Moore's Aura Exterior. It comes in three sheens: flat, low luster and semi-gloss. Choice in sheen is a little bit about preference but I find that we often recommend flat for siding and low-luster for trim and windows. Semi-gloss always works well for doors so you can easily clean them up from the doggy paw prints.  

Signs It's Time

paint-chipped-by-blue-jay.jpg

Ever year on my own home when the weather starts to warm up I start thinking about my exterior spring clean checklist. I do a walk around of the house and my first thought is power washing.  

Power washing is a really simple maintenance thing we do for our home every year. It's a little easy, in my case, since we offer power washing as a service but it's pretty inexpensive to get it done professionally once a year compared to renting a pressure washer for a day.  

I also check for areas where it looks like paint is starting to crack or chip. In Indiana, fighting against our up and down weather patterns is hard on a house. So I'm never surprised when I find small things around the ends of trim where rain water tends to linger.  

If we are good on paint cracking I'll probably just power wash and see how well the paint does after that. If there is staining or paint flaking off after the power wash then I know it's probably time to paint.  

If I'm happy with the color and I kept touch up paint I'll see how well the touch up does. If the paint job is really old and a lower quality paint was used initially, there is a good chance that the color won't match. Not surprising since older and lower cost paints fade over time.  

But that's good news, because now you get to change the color to something current and to something you really love! 

One thing to really look out for is bare wood, dry rotting wood, warped or bloated boards and wood pecker holes. These things only get worse over time and the worse they get the more costly they become in the long run. 

I think of the old saying, "it's easier to prepare and prevent rather than to repair and repent." No statement is more true when it comes to painting the exterior of your home.  

When should you get started? 

color theory exterior paint project

Exterior house painting in Bloomington, IN is a tricky tricky beast. Our weather is like a yo-yo. They always say about the Midwest, it's the only place where you can get frostbite and sunburn in the same week.  

Paint adhesion is the biggest concern for painters because we know the investment on exterior is huge. We want to make sure that our craftsmanship lasts. Per the paint manufacturer's specifications most paints cannot be applied in temperatures below 40° or above 90° and that includes night fall temperatures. You also have to be careful about avoiding rain. 

It can be a little frustrating with our Indiana weather to look at our weather apps and see rain, then look out the window and not see a cloud in the sky. But more often than not, it's not worth the risk.  

This year many cities across the country saw record highs for February temperature. And then BOOM! Blizzards EVERYWHERE 9,000 FLIGHTS CANCELLED. Yeesh! Typically, we don't start our first exterior until the last week of March but more often the first week of April. The temperature is usually high enough for us to be in good shape but those April showers can always be a pain. 

The best time to paint is going to be from late April through the beginning of July. Then it can get a little hot from mid-July through August and after that the temperatures cool down and we're good from September until November in Bloomington. Now, this doesn't mean you can't paint outside in July and August. We get a lot done in those months, we just sometimes have to take a break when it heats up over 90°.  

Mid-November and sometimes even as early as October marks the end of our exterior season. We often have to pull the plug on accepting new bids for the year in September and start scheduling new jobs for the following spring. A practice that has worked out well for both our customers and ourselves over the past several years.   

Keep tuned in for more tips on exterior painting over the next few posts.