How Do Know When It’s Time to Paint the Exterior of Your Home?
Maintaining any home can be an arduous task, there are many moving parts that need to be working on a daily basis such as plumbing, appliances, heating, air conditioning and roofing. When one of these items fails, we all know it and must take immediate action. When your A/C goes out, you start sweating and must get it fixed immediately. When your plumbing fails, you see the leak. When your roofing system goes bad, you get the buckets out to catch the water. There is one item that often gets overlooked, the exterior paint condition. How do you know when the exterior of your home needs fixing?
For many Arizona homeowners the only time we even think about painting the exterior is when we get that letter from our HOA saying its time. At this point it is likely bad enough that you can notice it from the street, or worse down the block! It’s never “too late” to paint but we do recommend inspecting your home yearly and looking for the following problem areas. The longer you wait on fixing them the more expensive it will get as fixing the issues takes more time as your home’s condition deteriorates more and more. Always remember the least expensive paint jobs are the ones with the least prep work.
Here in Phoenix and Tucson most of us live in a stucco or wood siding home and the problems we see in exterior paint conditions are very similar for each style. To know if your home needs to be painted take a walk around and inspect the following 4 areas for problems.
Run your hand over the stucco on the South and West side of your home, what do you feel? Do you feel any chalking paint coming off on your home? The chalking paint is a sign that your paint coating has completely broken down and has literally turned to dust. This is like your winter jacket you were wearing turning to dust…time to get a new coat! (No pun intended)
Inspect the stucco for cracks around the windows, by corners and along the foundation. If you see any cracks that are larger than a business card it could be time to paint. Those cracks will allow water to infiltrate and can create a larger issue with a leak.
Inspect the stucco for any areas coming loose, rub your hand over these areas. If stucco comes off its time to get it repaired. Loose stucco may be caused by either water hitting the wall from sprinklers or even an issue with how the stucco was originally applied.
Look over the wood trim or siding around your home for peeling paint areas. We commonly see peeling paint under the eaves (soffits) and wood trim (fascia). If you see peeling paint it is sign the wood is no longer protected. Leaving this untreated will likely result in the wood rotting which will need to be replaced.
Do you see gaps in the wood trim, does it look “dry” or thirsty? Check the corners, do yaps there? We can repair these areas with caulking, re-nailing the wood, and smoothing out the caps. Doing this will prevent water infiltration and future wood rotting.
Look for rotted wood, we commonly see it in areas that have been left unprotected. Check on the eaves around your patio or by the corners of your trim. If you see a dark area it may be an area of “dry rot” that needs to be replaced prior to painting.
If you have wood siding make sure to check near the foundation, we commonly see this start to “bow out” or bend when its time to paint. We also will see that a crack will start to appear between each siding panel.
Look for peeling paint or bare concrete on the foundation of your home. This is typically the first tell-tale sign of a home needing painting. An unprotected foundation will deteriorate and wear down. Your home is sitting on this and it needs a solid foundation.
Patio or Entry Ceiling
Most homes in Phoenix and Tucson have a patio ceiling that is covered in drywall. You want to inspect this for tape seams coming loose, cracks appearing, or texture coming off. These cracks need to be repaired or it will result in a larger repair. We have seen some homeowners let this go for years and the result is an entire patio ceiling that is falling down with all the texture coming loose. Pro-tip – do not hose off your patio ceiling!
Inspecting the exterior of your home is a fairly easy process, anyone can do it! It’s important to spot these repairs and get them fixed before it gets too bad as the sooner you get to them the less expensive the overall paint job will be. Don’t wait until you get that HOA letter and you can see the damages from down the street!