Saturday, March 28, 2009

How to Know When It's Time to Paint

Many homeowners are unaware of the actual condition of the exterior of their home. First time home buyers in particular may not know anything about exterior painting. But there are several very easy ways to tell whether or not it is time to paint your house.

The most obvious sign is peeling paint. If your window sills or siding are actually peeling you waited to long and need to call a painting contractor today. Many homes have one side that gets the most exposure to sun, wind and/or rain and snow. This will be the side where the paint begins to show signs of wear first. Your peeling window sills undoubtedly get a lot of sun. Peeling paint allows water to seep into the wood or siding beneath and can cau se the wood to rot. If left unpainted you will have to pay for repairs as well. Preferably, you want to paint before the last coat of paint starts to peel.

If the paint on shows no signs of peeling or checking (spidery cracks that ha p pen before peeling), it may still be time for a fresh coat of exterior paint. Look closely at the siding paint. Does it look chalky? Is their a whitish cast to the paint and when you rub your fingers across it they pick up a bit of residue? This tells you the paint is beginning to break down and it's time to repaint.

Another thing to look for is wood rot. Are there soft places in your corners boards? This will be found typically wherever they are exposed to a lot of moisture, such as at the bottom near the base of a downspout. Press against the wood and see if there is any give to it. If so, the wood should be replaced as soon as possible and two coats of paint applied to seal the wood. If left unprotected the area needing repair will just enlarge. Window trim and sills are another place where wood rot often occurs as well as door sills.

When you purchase a house, ask the seller when they last painted, what type of paint they used and how many coats were applied. Depending on the quality of paint they used, and how many coats were applied, the house will need repainting anywhere from five to ten years or less. New houses are often sprayed with a low grade paint and many need painting within three years.

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