DIY - Home Improvement

Signs Your Exterior Paint Needs Refreshing

Some people change up their home’s exterior every five years, as soon as their curb appeal starts to wane — but some people never give the outside of their home a second glance. If you fall into that latter category, it’s probably high time that you make a change. 
The exterior of your home is not only among the most valuable features of your property — giving visitors and potential buyers a first impression that can inform the ultimate financial worth of your real estate — but it is also a functional feature, helping regulate the internal temperature and keeping out issues like precipitation and pests. Paint, specifically, can do much to insulate your home, and it is closely tied to trends that determine whether your home has curb appeal or not.
Thus, if you have neglected your home’s exterior for a while, you probably need to repaint. But just in case you need another reason, here are some signs that your exterior paint isn’t doing a good job:

Cracking and Flaking

Paint can develop cracks for a number of reasons, often concerning how the paint was applied. You can usually tell what caused the cracks by evaluating how the cracks appear. For instance:

  • Mud-like cracks occur when the paint is applied to a dirty surface.
  • Hairline cracks occur when cheap paint is spread too thinly.
  • Alligator cracks occur when additional layers of paint are applied before the first layer is dry.

Most often, cracked paint on a home’s exterior is caused by age and weathering; paint doesn’t easily expand and contract with temperature and humidity, so over time, it will develop cracks. Generally, cracks begin small, but if you don’t see them or don’t address them, cracks will spread. Eventually, cracks become large enough that they flake off the wall, creating an even more unsightly exterior.
You should stay vigilant for cracks, calling local painters to fix any paint jobs where cracks develop. You should also schedule a new paint job every few years, depending on your climate and the materials of your exterior.


Unlike cracks, bubbles occur for one specific reason: loss of adhesion. Paint is supposed to stick to a wall, but sometimes it doesn’t, and that’s when bubbles form. Often, adhesion fails due to excess heat, moisture or a combination of the two. For instance, if you last painted your home’s exterior during monsoon season, it’s likely your exterior walls were damp with humidity, and the paint couldn’t adhere properly. Alternatively, walls painted in direct sunlight often form bubbles because the wall is too hot for the paint to dry as it should. 
As with cracking, untreated bubbles will eventually start to peel and flake off. It’s important that bubbled paint isn’t just painted over; the underlying problem needs to be addressed first, or future layers of paint will continue to bubble and peel. Again, a professional painting service will have the right tools to prevent the problem from reappearing.


The exterior of your home is meant to protect the interior of your home from issues like precipitation and wind, but it also works to keep the harsh, pounding sunlight off you and your precious possessions. As a result, the sun beats down on your exterior paint, causing what’s known as sun bleaching. This process lightens and pales paint colors, working more dramatically on darker or vibrant hues. Ultimately, sun bleaching creates an inconsistent look to the exterior of your house; it’s no less functional, but it is less attractive and requires attention to maintain high home values.
Alternatively, if the paint is fading on a shady side of your home, you might have a serious issue with moisture. Part of painting’s job is to make sure moisture doesn’t seep past your exterior envelope and compromise the structure of your home. Faded paint might indicate that moisture has gotten past the vapor barrier, diluting the color in the process. If you can see stains dripping down on the paint, this is a good indication that water is to blame — and that you’ll need more help to fix the issue than professional painters can provide. 


Last but not least, if your exterior paint dates your house, making it look old and out-of-style, you definitely need to prioritize repainting. Exterior colors areas subject to trends as interior colors. Not too long ago, you couldn’t drive through a neighborhood without seeing a bevy of chocolate-brown homes, but these days, that warm brown tone is likely to make visitors and buyers gag. Some top exterior paint colors as of this writing include:

  • Greige. A combination of gray and beige, this color is neutral and sophisticated.
  • Navy blue. Heralded as “the new neutral,” navy blue is trendy in every space.
  • Ivory. Stark white is blinding and difficult to care for, but off-white hues like ivory are inviting.

Paint doesn’t last a lifetime — in fact, paint probably won’t even last a decade. You need to be diligent about repainting your home’s exterior to maintain its look and function, keeping your home, your belongings and your family safe and happy.

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