Exterior painting is a once-in-a-while project, but most homeowners would prefer to paint only once in a great while. If that’s your mindset, there’s good news: It’s easy to extend the life of an exterior paint job by several years or more. Here’s how:
1. Do careful surface preparation. Before starting to paint, make sure the entire surface is clean and sound, free of dirt, mildew, and loose or peeling paint. Spot-prime areas that have no paint at all, either because they are new surfaces, or because the old paint has completely worn off.
2. Work in the right weather conditions. Apply exterior coatings on mild days — ideally, when temps are between 60 and 85 degrees F. — with little wind. That will enable primer or paint to form the most protective dry “film”.
3. Start with a coat of primer. Priming creates a tackier surface to which paint can tightly adhere, reducing chances that it will peel or blister. As a bonus, the paint will have more uniform color and sheen. In the alternative, apply two or more coats of one of the new “primer and paint” products.
4. Use top quality 100% acrylic latex paint. Much more durable than ordinary housepaint, it has more flexibility, better adhesion (for resistance to peeling and flaking), and superior color retention. These paints can last 10 years or more, compared to a life expectancy of only three or four years for lower quality paint.
5. Choose exterior colors carefully. Earthtones tend to have good color retention; other colors, such as bright blue and bright red, tend to fade more quickly. Ask the counterperson how your color selections will fare over time, and choose your hues accordingly.
6. Apply thicker coats. The thicker the paint film, the more protection you’ll get. So, apply your paint liberally . . . and never water it down. Paints are carefully formulated to be used as-is for the longest-lasting protection.
7. Apply an extra coat of paint. That extra coat will thicken the protective coating on your home even more, and may very well add an extra couple of years of service.
By following these suggestions, you’ll stretch out the life of your paint job to the max . . . and minimize the amount of exterior painting you’ll have to do for years to come!