Investing in an Exterior Paint Job? Invest in the Right Paint Too!

A great exterior paint job is made up of a few great ingredients. A terrific painter (we know a few of those!), meticulous preparation, and high quality paint. The right paint can extend the life of your exterior paint job by years. And when it comes to paint, you get what you pay for. Premium brands and lines of paint really do perform better. 

How long should my paint job last? 

The biggest question most homeowners have is one that isn’t as straightforward as it seems. A quick Google search yields a wide variety of answers. Some experts say 5-7 years, while This Old House says “two coats of top-quality paint over primed wood might last 10 to 15 years.” The reality is that paint life depends on lots of factors, including paint quality, prep work, surface condition, and environment. Here in Florida, you can expect to land closer to the lower end of that range, as all the salt, sand, sun, and moisture take their toll on even the best exterior paint job. Thorough prep work and high quality paint can definitely extend the life, but it’s unlikely to last 15 years. Think 5+ years for siding, and 7+ for stucco surfaces.

Why Does Surface Matter When it Comes to Paint?

Although paint quality and prep work are the biggest drivers for the life of your exterior paint job, the surface being painted also matters. The rough, porous surface of stucco grabs paint and holds on tight, so if your home is made of stucco, you can expect to get a few more years from your paint job. Paint over wood or fiber-cement siding may last 5-7 years here in the Panhandle, while stucco surfaces will hold the paint for 7-10 years. Trim usually fades and peels first–expect to paint the trim every 3-5 years. 

stucco holds paint longer than siding
This beautiful Florida home with a mix of stucco and stone is relatively low-maintenance. The stone will never need painting, and the stucco should hold paint for up to 10 years.

So What Paint is the Best?

We’re Sherwin-Williams fans over here at Check Local Painting, and we love their Emerald Exterior Acrylic for wood and fiber-cement siding and trim. (We recommend bumping the sheen level up a notch for the trimwork to really make it pop.) The Emerald line is also great for brick or stucco, though you’ll want to be sure and specify a flat finish for masonry and stucco. 

Should I Use Masonry Paint or Elastomeric Paint?

You may have heard that some contractors recommend a masonry specific paint or an elastomeric paint for brick and stucco. We think a great flat acrylic paint like Sherwin-Williams Emerald or Duration–Benjamin Moore’s Aura–does the trick and keeps your surface breathing more naturally. But there are some instances where these more specialized paints can be the right choice. 

  • Masonry Paint has additives to make it bond more tightly, so it can extend the life of your paint job. On the flipside, this type of paint can reduce the breathability of your finish, potentially trapping moisture in your brick or stucco. You may also be limited in terms of colors and finishes. 
  • Elastomeric Paint also has additives that make it a thicker, flexible coating. If you’ve got cracks or other faults you want to cover or bridge, this paint may be the right choice for your job. But like masonry paint, elastomeric paint reduces the breathability of the finish. (This effect is more pronounced with elastomeric paint.) And in addition to the more limited options when it comes to color and finish, you are also stuck with elastomeric paint once you start using it. When the time comes to repaint, experts advise that you only cover elastomeric paint with more of the same. Regular acrylic paint will not adhere to the flexible, thick surface of elastomeric paint. 

Exterior Painting is a Huge Job–It’s Worth Doing it Right

An exterior paint job is a huge investment. Even if you’re trying the DIY route, paint and supplies can really add up, and once you factor in the cost of your time and peace of mind, the costs can skyrocket. We always recommend hiring a professional to make sure you get the best finished product. This is your home you’re talking about, after all, and you don’t want your curb appeal marred by an unprofessional job or peeling and faded paint. 

Let Check Local Help

If finding a painter sounds like one more thing on your endless “to-do” list, don’t despair. We’ve already done the work for you, and we’re here to connect you with the best painters in the Panhandle and Emerald Coast communities. We read reviews, check licenses, and interview contractors to make sure we’re matching you up with the best local experts for your job. Remember, before you decide, always Check Local!