How to Touch Up Your Home’s Exterior Paint

How to Touch Up Your Home’s Exterior Paint

A pristine exterior paint job not only increases your home’s curb appeal; it also helps protect its trim, flashing and siding from damage from the elements. That’s why maintaining your paint is so important – letting it bubble and flake between paint jobs can end up harming your house.

Fortunately, you can prevent damage with annual paint touch-ups. Here’s how to do it right.

This is a project you can likely handle yourself. In fact, Scott Bondy of Vivax Pro Painting says many painting companies won’t even do touch-up jobs, because they may result in a spotty-looking house due to non-matching paint colors.

If you’re taking care of this on your own and are touching up only a few spots, it will likely cost you less than $100. If you’re nervous about climbing or toting ladders, however, it’s best to leave things to a handy-person or painter.

Typical project length: Between inspecting the paint on your house from roof to foundation, purchasing supplies and actually repainting, this project will likely take a full weekend.

Best time to start: During warm-weather months, Bondy recommends checking your paint can to make sure you’re applying the paint when the temperature is in the right range for that particular product. Keep in mind that temperatures can be 10 to 15 degrees cooler in the shade.

Rain is less of a consideration, as paint tends to dry quickly during the warmer months. Just check the weather to make sure there’s no rain in the forecast the day you’re planning to paint.

Project considerations: If your house was built before 1978, be sure to test for lead paint. If the test comes back positive, you may want to call in a pro who specializes in lead paint removal.

How to get started:

  1. Look closely at your house’s siding, trim and flashing for any bubbling, peeling or signs of water damage. Bondy says the high peaks of a house tend to be most affected, because they get the most sun, so get up on your ladder to take a close look. He also recommends paying extra attention to the trim around the garage doors, as well as any areas that tend to be exposed to standing water or snow banks.
  2. Even if you have any leftover paint from the last time you painted your house, it probably won’t match, due to fading. Remove some chips from the side of your house and bring them to the paint store for matching. Even then, Bondy warns, the new paint may not match exactly. He recommends painting a test patch and letting it dry to make sure the colors aren’t noticeably different.
  3. While you’re at the hardware store, grab the following supplies:
    • Paint
    • Paint applicator
    • Wire brush
    • Primer
    • Paint scraper
    • Rags
  4. The rest of the process is simple: Scrape, prime and repaint areas where the paint has been damaged. If the damage is on only part of a shingle or clapboard, be sure to repaint the entire piece, so the finish doesn’t look spotty.

By the time the weekend is over, your home will look as good as the day you last painted!