Most of us are no strangers to the costly repairs that come with owning a property. If you are one of the select few that has not had to deal with one of these less than fun tasks, get ready because sooner or later you will. The main reason for repairs being more frequent and costly is a lack of preventative actions which can save you thousands of rands when it comes to property repairs.
Exterior paint is one of the most important aspects of maintaining your home. Think of it as clothing for your house, protecting the vital areas from the damaging elements. When paint fails, it leaves wood open to a barrage of dangers. Which, when not treated can quickly destroy your home, and cost you tens of thousands of rands in damage if not more. A good quality paint protects wood from water, sun and mold damage, the three main causes of wood failure.
The key to preventing rotting, molding and cracking wood is to make sure your home is constantly “clothed”. Every year homeowners should do a thorough inspection of all the painted areas of their home. Just as with many serious illnesses, detection is also the most important part of failing paint. When quickly identified, proper prep work, priming and painting can prevent the need to replace the wood in your house.
When to Paint Your House
Now you are probably asking, what should I look for when giving my house its yearly “check-up”? There are a variety of symptoms your paint or wood can have, letting you know it needs new paint. Here is a short checklist of problems to look for.
Check all paint for cracking or chipping. The best places to look are near corners, window sills, door sills, edges, roof lines and any other spot you might see standing water. These spots indicate that the paint has been penetrated and can no longer protect your wood from water damage.
Also look for fading paint. Obviously, after time any paint will begin to fade, but areas that have constant sun will begin to change the paints chemical composition, which will lead to it not protecting to its fullest potential. This can lead to cracking and warping wood.
Alligatoring is another term used to describe failing paint. This is when the paint actually begins to take on the look and feel of alligator skin. This is also a symptom that water is beginning to penetrate the paint.
Mildew is almost self-explanatory. Found in damp, shaded areas, your paint will begin to turn a green or black color which is almost impossible to scrub off by hand.
Once you have identified any of these problems, it’s time for a fresh coat of paint. Many contractors can easily be found in your area who can provide you with quality paint jobs, some with prices more affordable than others. The internet is a great way to find various painters in your area, most of which provide free estimates for any exterior paint work. The problem with many of these sites however is that they do not reference check the painters they refer. We have the answer! Dial a Contractor is a website dedicated to providing homeowners with quality approved and vetted painting contractors in their area.
The Painting Process
When choosing the right contractor for the job be sure to ask many questions.
The most important one is the kind of prep work that will be done before the actual paint is applied. All surfaces that will be painted should be pressure washed a couple days in advance of the paint work. This thoroughly cleans those areas, and also helps to remove mildew and chipped/failing paint.
Be sure the wood is given enough time to dry completely before primer and paint is applied. All spots where paint is cracked, chipped, or alligatoring should be carefully scraped and sanded.
An initial coat of primer should be applied to all surfaces being painted to ensure the paint will adhere correctly. Contrary to popular notion, primer does not have to be white or gray; it can be tinted at the paint store to match the final paint color you have chosen.
Also be sure to ask about the quality and warranty of the paint your contractor will use, as well as if they are insured.
Generally, painting an entire house should take no longer than a week at most, and doing trim work 1-2 days. A good contractor will make sure the work site is clean, with supplies and materials stored away after each day of work. Also, be sure your contractor will take precautionary measures to make sure your landscaping, driveway, walkway, etc. do not receive the same paint job your house gets. Trust me when I say, a few drop sheets can go a long way.
Your home will now be ready to face anything Mother Nature can throw its way, well anything short of a tornado at least. Keeping a fresh coat of paint on your house is a wise investment.
Spending the money to protect the precious wood that lies beneath is a decision you cannot afford to live without. Wood damage is an ugly and costly repair that you do not want to add to your list of home improvement projects.