How Often Should I Paint the Exterior of My House?

Sarah Robinson

How do you know when it’s time to paint the outside of your home? There are a few obvious signs to watch out for, like cracking and chipping paint, but there are also some less obvious things that can cause problems too.

How Often Should You Paint?

Unfortunately, there is no set timeline for all, since every home is different. There are some rough guidelines you can follow, but there are several factors that can change the timing pretty drastically. Most experts say that you’ll need to paint every five to ten years, depending on factors such as where you live, climate and weather, and the previous paint job.

Also, keep in mind that every surface will be a little different. For example:

  • Wood siding - every 3-7 years, or every 4 years if it’s stained
  • Aluminum siding - usually about 5 years
  • Stucco - typically lasts 5-6 years
  • New types of materials - these usually need to be touched up less often; for example, cement fiberboard siding can go 10-15 years before repainting
  • Brick - if it’s not painted, it only needs occasional cleaning; if it’s painted, it can last 15-20 years

New home subdivision

What Affects the Durability of an Exterior Paint Job?

There are a few factors that can affect how long your paint will last. The biggest three are how your home was painted previously, climate and weather, and how the house has been maintained over time. Let’s take a closer look at how each of these plays a role in how often you need to repaint.

Previous Paint Job

If you’ve just bought a house, you might not know exactly when it was last painted. It’s a good idea to try to find out, since having detailed information about the paint job can make a big difference. The type of paint used, the quality of paint, how many coats were applied, and even the color used can all affect longevity. It’s also helpful to know the time of year in which it was painted, since whether your house was painted on a sunny or overcast day can change how well the paint dries.

Overall, high-quality paint in lighter shades tends to last longer, especially if it was applied in two to three coats instead of just one. As far as paint types go, 100% acrylic paint is the most durable and resistant to fading.

Damage from the Elements

Where you live and what was happening weather-wise on the day of your last paint job can also play a big role in how long your paint job will last. For example, if you live somewhere with hot summers and your home isn’t sheltered by a lot of trees, the direct sunlight may cause the paint to bubble and fade more quickly. Or if you live in a climate with harsh winters, intense storms, or high humidity, these can also cause your paint job to age more quickly.

Paint Chipping From Home Exterior

Exterior House Maintenance

This is all about preventative maintenance and spotting problems before they get too bad. Look at your house regularly to watch for signs of wear and tear. Specific things to watch for are dampness, rot, chalkiness, insect or rodent infestation, and mold. If you spot these, take care of them right away—you’ll make your paint job last longer if you do. On top of that, keeping up with general maintenance will keep your paint looking great over time. This means regularly washing off dirt and moss off the surface of your home before it starts to break down the paint.

How to Prepare Your Home So The New Paint Job Lasts

Once you’re ready to update your exterior paint job, there are a few steps you should take in order to make sure this new paint job lasts for as long as possible. Of course, it all starts long before anyone picks up a paintbrush.

Start by treating any spots of mold, rotten wood, cracks, holes in stucco, and more. Fill in any cracks, caulk seams and use putty to fill in any holes or pits. If you’ve got a lot of bubbling or peeling paint, it’s a good idea to sandblast or power wash to start with a smooth surface. After washing away the chipped paint, make sure your house has the chance to fully dry before you begin painting. The same goes for heavy rain—it’s best to wait a couple of days after a storm before you paint.

You should also pay close attention to the weather. It’s always best to paint on days that are dry and relatively mild, with an ideal temperature being 50-90 degrees. (Though you can still paint outside of this range and get great results. These are just rough guidelines.)

It’s always recommended to start with a primer since it prepares the surface for the paint and gives a smoother looking finish.

Newly painted homes
Exterior painting is a pretty big job, so it’s always a good idea to hire professional painters if you can. It’s the best way to ensure you’ll get a quality paint job that will last for years.