6 Tips to Extend the Life of Your Exterior House Paint

The weather here in the Pacific Northwest does its best to test the durability of any type of exterior paint finish that you apply to your home. However, the length of time between repainting can be extended by simply taking the time to do annual inspections and maintenance. We’ve put together a list of maintenance tips that will help you do just that:

  1. Up close inspection. Each year, in the spring or summer, take the time to do a close up visual inspection of your exterior siding and trim. You will be looking for areas where the paint has begun to bubble, peel or chip. You will want to look closely at the exterior trim around the windows and doors, corner trim, and siding ends or joints. Watch for any bare spots or places where the paint seems to be lifting away from the surface in any way.

    exterior paint maintenance

    This is what can happen if you get too close to your paint with a pressure washer. Now you've got to touch it up, too.

  2. Maintenance Tools. For your exterior inspection, you will want to have a ladder that will allow you to examine the upper portions of your siding and trim, as well as the lower areas. You will also want to carry a paint scraper and a wire brush with you in your tool belt or handyman’s apron. Having your tools with you as you do the inspection will allow you to address problem areas immediately, as you find them.
  3. Loose paint. If paint is beginning to bubble or come loose, the best thing you can do is to remove it. Use your paint scraper to remove anything that isn’t tightly adhered to the siding or trim. Don’t be afraid of removing too much. If the paint is loose enough to come off with a scraper, then it is also loose enough to allow water behind the paint. With the long months of rainy weather we experience in the Vancouver, WA and Portland, OR areas, water damage is an important issue to protect against. Once you’ve scraped off any loose paint with your scraper, use your steel brush to clean away any loose flakes and give the surface a final prep for you paint touch-up.
  4. Mildew Stains. This region’s damp weather can also increase the chances of mildew developing in shaded areas of your home. Watch for the signs of black spots that begin to appear on your paint surface. Mildew must be treated before painting over it. Use a bleach solution that is one part bleach to four parts water to scrub the area. Be careful not to spill the solution on your clothes or drip it on the landscaping below. Then rinse the area well with clear water.
  5. Touch ups. After you have fully inspected the entire exterior of the home and scraped away any loose paint, it is time to apply your touch up paint. Always make sure your siding is thoroughly dry before beginning this process. Moisture can stay in your siding long after the surface has dried. Any moisture trapped under new paint is likely to cause it to lose its bonding to the surface and the problem will re-occur. If there are areas around your trim where water may be finding its way behind the paint, you may need re-apply a fresh bead of caulk to make sure the area remains water tight. Use a brush to go over each repair spot with primer. Once the primer is fully dry, apply two coats of your exterior touch up paint to your primed areas on the siding and trim.
  6. General Cleaning. In addition to doing your inspection and repairs, there may be times that you simply want to wash away dirt and grime that has begun to accumulate on your siding. High pressure washing of painted surfaces is NOT recommended unless done by a professional. This could actually damage your finish and cause more problems. Spraying your siding with normal water pressure from a garden hose and using a soft long handled brush to loosen up any dirt, should be all you need to do to bring back the luster of your painted finish.

With a professionally painted finish and some TLC, you can extend the life of your home’s exterior paint to the longest length of time possible.

If the paint finish of your home has gotten beyond the maintenance stage, we’d be more than happy to introduce you to our paint professionals at Salmon Creek Painting, the newest member of the Fazzolari family of companies (that’s 2 if you’re counting). Our estimates are always free!

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