How long on average does exterior painting last before needing a touch-up?

There is no exact answer to the question of how long before the exterior of a house needs a paint touchup or a repaint. The decision depends on some fundamental variables. The purpose of exterior paint is not only to provide a desirable color scheme to the home but more importantly, it also provides a protective barrier. When you notice that your home is showing signs of aging, repainting gives it a fresh new boost and rejuvenates the protection it provides. Alternatively, if you are interested in modernizing your façade, a couple of coats of paint in the latest colors can make quite a transformation.

Some of the major factors that affect the durability of your exterior house paint include:

  • How long since last painted
  • Weather conditions
  • Composition of your exterior cladding material
  • The quality of paint used originally
  • The quality of preparation done last time

An exterior repaint, including your house and any outbuildings like garages or verandas, can be quite a hefty investment. But don’t be tempted to take shortcuts. When performing a paint touchup, you should always apply two coats of paint on a well-prepped, properly primed surface to increase its longevity. There are no long-term advantages in only applying one coat. And always ensure you are using the most suitable choice of paint to fight infiltration by destructive agents like mildew and fight the harsh elements.

What Affects Your Paint Lifetime?

Climate extremes will take a heavy toll on your exterior house paint. Proximity to ocean spray and constant exposure to sunlight can be harsh on paint. and so too can the elements like very cold weather, high wind, dust storms, or tornados, which can repeatedly punish the exterior of a house. The sun's ultraviolet rays eventually cause the paint’s chemical compounds to degrade, which promotes fading. And of course, with darker paint colors the more obvious the color fading will be.

The type of cladding on your house is a significant factor in how long you can go between touch-ups. As a guideline, professionally painted timber or fibro could last more than 10 years unless it is on walls constantly in full sunlight when it may only last half that time. Likewise, if you are located near the coast, your painting may only last a few years. As your timber cladding ages, the paint on the exterior naturally begins to deteriorate. Resulting in cracking and peeling and exposure of the bare wood. Other claddings like aluminum siding or stucco may need repainting every 5 years while stained or sealed timber may need refreshing every 2 to 5 years.

How do You Know it is Time for a Paint Touchup?

An important consideration in deciding whether or not it is time to repaint the exterior of your house is how well the previous paint job was done. Was it handled by a professional house painting tradesman with the correct level of prepping and priming? A sloppy prep job or an amateur DIY paint could take years off the lifetime of the painting. All too often, homeowners miss the signs that an exterior paint touchup may be overdue. It is easy to overlook the cracks, the deterioration of caulking, and peeling or cracking around the window trims. Especially since it is usually gradual.

Take a closer inventory and look for tell-tale signs like fading, flaking, or chipped edges. Are you losing your barrier against elements like the weather, invasive mold, and insect infestation? Your enemy is moisture. Cracking and peeling paint permit moisture to enter and cause damage that can go unnoticed until it becomes serious. You need to keep an eye out for gaps that need caulking to continue to keep your home sealed against the weather.

Some clues warn you to consider whether or not now is the time for a paint touchup. Do a thorough inspection and ask yourself:

  • What signs of wear or fading are apparent?
  • What type of exterior cladding do you have?
  • Is your paintwork chipped, stained or damaged?
  • Is the color fading?
  • Are your window and door trims standing up to time?
  • Any signs of failure at the timber overlaps or butts?
  • How are your fascias, soffits, and bargeboards holding up?

When You Come to the End of Your Paint Lifetime

Understandably, homeowners are not keen to repaint. It is a big financial project. But letting it go for a few more years after damage has become evident can prove counterproductive. Your home is one of your biggest investments so it pays to maintain it in prime condition. A quality paint job is your first line of defense to protect your home. Factors other than damage that may prompt an exterior repaint are modernizing your home to improve the street appeal and freshening up the exterior if you are putting your house on the market. Nothing improves the presentation of a property for sale like a good, professional paint job in appealing, modern colors.

You should not lose sight of the fact that the quality of workmanship that goes into prepping and painting it can make a big difference to the longevity of the job. Preparing the surface and repairing cracks and damage before painting can take longer than the actual painting itself. But it is paramount if you want the paint to last. Likewise, choosing a cheaper, inferior exterior paint can end up costing more in the long run than if you had used better quality primer and paint. As with most things, you will get the best results for your investment by engaging a professional exterior painter using quality products.