How To Tell If It Is Time To Paint Your House

We've noticed some of our paint is peeling. How can we tell if our house needs painting? 
Peeling paint is a very common problem. Paint normally peels because the wood was never properly primed when the home was built. A primer is a bonding agent that bonds the paint to the wood.
Painters have to cut corners in order to be competitive with home builders. They very rarely prime the wood because it is more expensive. Some builders are only concerned with their homes during the first year warranty period. It is also a fact that most home buyers rarely will pay extra for better than average construction. 
Go around the exterior of the house and look for areas with raised paint. This is an indication that the paint has released from the wood and it is only a matter of time before it breaks and will peel off. All loose paint must be removed before you paint. You can use a pressure washer to blow off the loose paint and finish by using a scraper. The bare areas must be primed and allowed to dry before painting. 
It is very common to find wood decay spotted all around especially at the bottom of door frames. If it is just a small area, you may be able to get by with filling the area with wood filler and then sanding smooth when it dries. If it is a larger area, you may need to cut out a section and replace the wood. 
The same is true for wood siding. Plywood siding has a tendency to separate. Cedar lapped siding can decay if not sealed on a regular basis. Repair it if you can, otherwise replace it.
The most common types of siding in this area are hardboard (commonly called "Masonite") and OSB siding (commonly called "LP" or “Louisiana Pacific").  Both are man-made materials that will literally fall apart if not properly sealed. There were class action lawsuits against all of the manufacturers because the manufacturers did not properly instruct the homeowners about painting the siding, and major damage was the result. All of the class actions have expired.
Some painters are very good about painting the face of the siding, but totally forget about sealing the bottom lip. As a result, the siding swells and deteriorates. Be sure to seal the bottom lip just as well as the front face.
The last item to tackle is caulking. Some of the caulk can fail over time which will allow water to enter and cause wood decay. Also, it is not unusual to see the caulk lose its bond and be easily peeled off.  Go around the entire exterior of your house and look for openings where water can penetrate. You do not have to caulk the bottom joint in lapped siding. Most of the time water will not go up hill.
I often tell my clients that the perfect weather barrier would be to shrink wrap your house. Since this is not practical, totally seal the exterior with caulking and paint. Paint is far cheaper than repairing wood decay.

If you have a question, comment, or home tip, send your letter to Home Tips, Christian Building Inspectors, Inc., 3697 Habersham Lane, Duluth, Georgia 30096. You can email your questions to us at We reserve the right to edit questions for length.

* Thought For The Month *
“No matter how bad your situation is, there is always something to be thankful for.”

Tip Of The Hat To:

Barbara & Ausker Morris
AT Morris Realty Group, Inc.
3162 Johnson Ferry Road
Marietta, Georgia 30062


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