How to know if your house needs painted after a long winter…

Birds singing, sun shining, and people out and about are all signs that spring is here. You go outside to enjoy the weather, take a look at your house and can see what Mr. Winter Weather did to your exterior. There are several things you may notice: chipping and peeling, mildew growth, caulking problems, gutter issues, and worn stain on decks, fences, pergolas, swing-sets and trellises; these are all things that could be potentially harmful to your home.

Chipping and Peeling

There are two signs you need to spruce up your exterior paint; there are obvious mass coating failures, or there are small amounts of chipping and peeling, about the size of a dime, which expose the wood underneath. These are both signs your top coat isn’t protecting the wood from weathering. Paint is the same at protecting your wood as the way your skin protects your body.

There are several other ways to tell if your home needs to be painted and renewed; the color is fading and is noticeably lighter, there are water streak lines, the white colors are turning grey, and/or deep colors are losing their base and depth. Also, if you find chalking on the surface of the paint, it may mean you need to get your home power washed and painted. To test for chalking, touch the paint surface with your finger; if it leaves paint residue on your hands this is a sign the paint is breaking down and ready to be recoated.

The mixture of wet snow and ice, coupled with dry winter air can leave paint needing a new coat and some troubled mildew spots heading into the spring season.

Mildew

Contrary to popular belief, mildew does grow in cold weather. It lays dormant throughout the winter and springs to life with the moisture of the spring season. Mildew will look like little spores and/or dark spots on the paint. Mildew is a sign that your slick, glossy paint surface needs refreshed; it allows spores to grow in the nooks and crannies of the paint surface.

Often, honest and reliable painters will let you know if a simple and very cost efficient power washing is enough for your paint upkeep for that particular year. Mildew can easily be removed with a professional pressure wash, although sometimes it will require a new coat of paint to keep your home protected.

Caulking

Caulking failure can also be extremely dangerous for your home. The caulk can pop-out or split open leaving you with three potential problems:

  • Lose of energy efficiency.
  • Weather and insects can enter where failure occurred.
  • Moisture can get behind the wood and paint, which leads to peeling of paint, rotting of wood and mildew growth on the surface and inside the home.

Caulking is also important cosmetically; if it is done properly, it will look seamless with your paint and will be tight and secure. The look will be more complete and your home will instantly benefit from a solid and intricate caulking application.

Other Problem Areas

During the winter months, snow and ice settle into your home’s gutters; this means moisture got behind the fascia and paint. A few ways to tell if your gutters need a new paint job are: water stains, peeling and blistering of the paint, and bowing of the wood. If you notice these warning signs, it is best to have someone come out and fix problem areas.

The snow, ice and cold weather can also be a detriment to the staining on decks, fences and trellises. Seeing exposed wood means its time to protect the wood for spring; you may see heavy wood graining or see fibers in the wood, but they both require the same maintenance.

Walkway surfaces and aggregate stone also need some help after the long, cold winter. One way to tell if your walkway or aggregate stone needs attention is when the spring rain hits; if the rain water doesn’t bead up, it means the water can penetrate the surface and cause decay and unforeseen underlying problems. The cure to this is to get the surfaces power washed and coated so that the next time it rains, the water will bead up preventing saturation of the surface of your walkways.

Final Recommendations

The tips outlined above are a good guideline to use when determining what type of work your home may need after a harsh winter. Whether it is a new paint job or getting your home power washed to eliminate mildew, each improvement you make will help your home stay beautiful longer.  A good painting contractor will provide an honest and detailed quote for what painting and preparation your home may or may not need.  Quotes should be free and you should always meet your contractor to walk around your home, so that the contractor can point out and explain issues and solutions.