How can I keep my exterior paint job looking great?

A fresh coat of paint on the exterior of your home can really boost its curb appeal. But over time, weather and pollution can leave your home looking far from its best. And as a proud homeowner, you want your home to look its best! It is therefore recommended that you check your exterior paint for issues every six months and take appropriate steps for maintenance when common problems occur.

Mold and Mildew

If your paint job is more than a couple years old, it is simply a fact that it becomes prone to mold and mildew. This is especially true of flat or oil based paints. When inspecting your home, pay close attention to the north side or any area that gets a lot of shade as these are the most likely spots for mold and mildew to occur. Because mold and mildew is a living thing, the longer you leave it, the more it is going to multiply and the worse it is going to get.

To remove mold and mildew, make a mixture containing three parts water and one part bleach. Before applying, make sure that surrounding plants and covered and protected. And while your protecting your plants, make sure your remember to protect yourself and wear appropriate eyewear, respirator and protective clothing! Test an area to make sure that the mixture will not cause fading. Then apply the mixture using a brush or garden sprayer. Leave it on for 20 minutes, adding more as it dries. Finally, rinse thoroughly.

Dirt and Chalk

Airborne dirt from traffic, nearby construction and other sources can settle on your home making it look… well, dirty! Chalk can be released from paint over time which can make your home’s colour appear faded. Both of these problems can be solved through scrubbing or power washing.

Scrubbing should be done with a mild detergent as harsh cleaners can reduce the gloss of some paint. Power washing should be done with plain water. Care must be taken not to lift the paint or do other damage and this type of cleaning should be done only when absolutely necessary – usually not more than once a year.

Efflorescence

Efflorescence can occur when moisture within or behind the substrate carries white salts out to the surface giving your paint job a powdery and unsightly appearance.

To remove efflorescence, use a stiff wire brush. This will be a dirty job so make sure to take the proper precautions including eye and skin protection as well as a dust mask. Since efflorescence may indicate a larger problem, try to identify the source of the moisture and eliminate it.

In some cases it may be necessary to repaint.

Keeping your paint job looking great is about protection as much as it is about repair. Spotting potential problems early and dealing with them will save you time and money over the long run. In addition to the usual suspects of mold and mildew, dirt and chalk and efflorescence inspect your home for fading, cracking, blistering or peeling, or rusting.

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