Does your home's exterior paint have visible wear and tear? Is your exterior siding falling to the wayside? Is your home's exterior made of LP (engineered wood), Masonite (pressed board) or synthetic stucco? If you answered yes to any of these questions, your house is probably in need of an exterior makeover. The good news is that there are some great options available to Atlanta-area residents when it comes to exterior painting.
Signs it is time to repaint
The exterior paint on a home often serves a purpose other than simple aesthetics. Depending on the exterior's composition, paint is protection as well. It prevents the material underneath from rotting, moisture, damage and deterioration. Typically, traditional exterior paint needs refreshing every 5-10 years; this length of time is dependent on the product used, weathering factors, natural wear and method of application. So, what are some signs that it's time to repaint?
- Visible hairline cracks
- Extensive mold and mildew
- Bowing of siding
A sheen sensation
Traditional exterior paint is typically applied in either flat or satin. However, more Atlanta residents are opting to use satin paint because of its durability with the added sheen. Satin paint lasts longer, retains its color longer and is easier to clean. While the sheen factor in satin paint makes it more moisture resistant, it unfortunately has one flaw, and that is that it shows flaws better. Flat paint, however, hides imperfections in siding fantastically; thus, it is great to hide exterior knots, gaps and cracks. Nevertheless, it is not very moisture-friendly and is harder to clean, making dirt and stain removal difficult should it get dirty. So with all the humidity and Georgia red clay in Atlanta, it is easy to see why more residents are choosing exterior satin paint.
Ceramic exterior paint
Many Atlanta homes are unlucky to have LP, Masonite or synthetic stucco siding. These products have had recalls and are no longer used in new homes. The problem with these kinds of materials is that the composition is subject to more rapid degradation and deterioration without proper maintenance. So, it is crucial to keep homes with these types of exteriors adequately caulked and painted to avoid damage. There is a more long-term and protective solution on the market for these kinds of homes, and that is ceramic exterior paint. Despite it being particularly beneficial to those types of homes, all homes, regardless of construction, can benefit from this kind of paint. There are a number of benefits that ceramic exterior paint provides, and these include the following:
- Longevity: It lasts longer than traditional paint, 25 years versus 5-10 years.
- Waterproof: It is moisture-resistant and as such resists mold and mildew.
- Lowers energy costs: It blocks heat, lowering energy costs.
- Green product: It is nontoxic, low-odor, non-flammable and has low volatile organic compounds.
- Surface friendly: This adheres to wood, stucco, aluminum, brick, fiber-cement siding, pressed board, engineered wood and block.
- Limitless colors: Ceramic paint can come in any color desired.
- Color maintenance: This type of paint retains its color longer than traditional paints.
As you can see, there are many advantages to this kind of exterior paint. So, if you are looking for a more cost-effective, long-term solution, keep this on your radar. Nonetheless, note that this product does have a trade-off, and that is that ceramic paint is not readily available for DIY projects. This will be a job most likely requiring a professional, and this type of exterior painting will run anywhere from two to five times more expensive than a traditional exterior paint project.
So, you have decided what type of paint you want to go with for your exterior; now what color should you use? Well, aside from the fact that it is personal preference, the trend in Atlanta is moving back to neutral colors with bolder, darker trims. Gray shades are among the most popular choices. You may want to keep this in mind when selecting a color, as neutrals are the safest bet and the easiest to get approved if you are part of a homeowner's association. They are aesthetically pleasing and generally fit well within a neighborhood, thus enhancing curb appeal.
Contracting a painter
Call a painter sooner than later if you have any of the warning signs above, as you don't want to chance any exterior damage. Damage is always more costly to repair versus prevent. How should you choose the right painting contractor? Ask your friends, family and neighbors for references or look for online reviews for suggestions. For your protection, look for licensed, bonded and insured contractors who can give documentation to prove such. Get a few estimates, so that you can weigh the pros and cons on each contractor.
Make sure the proposals each include a specific description of the prep work, priming, caulking, materials used, number of coats applied, project completion time and detailed costs. Do not be afraid to ask questions, and make sure you feel comfortable with the potential contractors that you are considering to hire. Remember, sometimes, the lowest estimate is not the best choice. Experience, professionalism, quality and integrity go a long way. Also, don't forget to ask painting contractors for references on similar projects. References help substantiate a history of happy clients, and hopefully you too will be one soon.