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

Flowers starting to sprout above our wet soil, the sun shining as we wash our cars, and people taking leisurely bike rides are all signs that spring is finally here! Outside you now see what Mr. Winter Weather did to your home’s exterior. There are several things you may notice: chipping and peeling of the paint, grey spores and mildew growth, caulking popping out of the seams, gutter leaks, and worn stain on decks, fences, pergolas, swing-sets and trellises.

These are all signs that it could be time to paint and avoid future costly wood and siding repairs.

Chipping and Peeling

There are two signs you need to spruce up your exterior paint; obvious mass coating failures, or small amounts of chipping and peeling, about the size of a dime, which expose the wood underneath. These are both signs your top coat of paint isn’t protecting the wood from rain, wind and sun. Paint protects your wood the same way that 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 a chalky paint residue on your hands this is a sign the paint is breaking down.  It is time to repaint; new paint will never leave any film on your hand.


Contrary to popular belief, mildew does grow in cold weather. It lays dormant throughout the winter and springs to life with the moisture and warmth 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 established painters will let you know if a simple and cost efficient power washing is enough maintenance 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 failure can be extremely dangerous for your home. The caulk can pop-out or split open leaving you with these potential problems:

  • Lose of energy efficiency from the inside of your home to the outside.
  • Weather, like rain and wind can enter your home where caulk has failed.
  • Insects and critters can enter where caulking 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 color.  It will make the exterior of your home tight and secure. The look will be more complete and your home will instantly benefit from a solid and thorough caulking application.

Other Problem Areas

During the winter months, snow and ice settle into your home’s gutters; this means moisture often gets 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 very quickly.

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.  Bottom line, if water does not bead up on your deck surfaces, that water and sun UV rays are probably penetrating and harming the surface below.

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.

  • A new paint job with fresh colors that protects for years to come.
  • A cleaning and staining of a deck to get it ready for months of grilling outside with friends.
  • Or simply getting your home power washed to eliminate mildew, each improvement you make will help your home stay beautiful… longer.

good painting contractor, like Sharper Impressions Painting, 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, this ensures that you and the contractor can point out and explain issues and solutions for your Spring painting project.

Enjoy the sun…we missed you this winter!