Pro Tips to Prolong the Life of Your Exterior Paint Job
If you have a home here in Florida Panhandle, you know how wonderful coastal life can be. Yet the very things that make life here so lovely – sun, salt, and that warm ocean breeze – can wreak havoc on your home. As your home’s first line of defense, exterior paint is particularly vulnerable to the ravages of the coastal climate. When it’s time to repaint your home, it’s worth seeking out a local painting contractor with expert knowledge of the unique challenges and conditions in your area.
Even the best painting contractor can’t work miracles. If you’re lucky enough to live in a coastal area, you probably already know that the exterior of your home will need more frequent maintenance. Planning, preparation, quality materials, and solid workmanship can help, but nothing can permanently delay the effects of sun, salt, moisture, and wind.
Homeowners in coastal Florida are used to the sun’s strong rays, and most take cover with shade, protective clothing or hats, and sunscreen when they’re outside in the summer. Just like human skin that burns with too much direct exposure, the paint on our homes also suffers from too much direct sunlight. Sun-related issues fall into a few categories:
Bleaching – Ultraviolet rays in sunlight break down the chemical compounds in paint, causing fading and paint failure. Dark colors are more likely to fade, but the UV rays can also turn crisp whites yellow.
Bubbling or Blistering – Like skin that blisters with a bad sunburn, your exterior paint can actually bubble or blister. The paint becomes so hot that it begins to boil. When the bubbles pop, the surface beneath the paint becomes exposed to the elements. When this happens, you should take steps to repair it immediately. South-facing doors in coastal Florida are particularly vulnerable to this problem, and they will often require extra prep work when it’s time to repaint.
Chalking – The dehydrating effect of the sun can cause chemicals to rise to the surface, leaving a powdery white film on top of the paint. Using high quality primer and paint can delay this chalking effect somewhat.
WIND, MOISTURE, SAND, & SALT
That wonderful breeze blowing in from the ocean brings moisture, sand, and salt to your exterior surfaces. Exterior paint can fade, peel and chip as a result of constant exposure to salt water. #Saltlife may be a popular hashtag for aspiring beach bums all over the country, but your house doesn’t appreciate the barrage of sodium. Salt crystals build up on the surface of the paint, and sand particles carried on the wind can add insult to injury. And it’s not just minerals that attack your home’s exterior surfaces – the humidity that’s pervasive to the Emerald Coast causes its own set of problems. Moisture build-up causes mold and mildew to grow rapidly, and increases the likelihood of rot and decay.
Homes located right on the ocean should realistically expect annual or biennial maintenance to painted surfaces. The most important thing to do is to make sure that your paint job is done right the first time. Hiring a local contractor – with local experience – is your best first step. Once the job is done, monitor your house vigilantly, and catch any damage early. Careful and frequent inspections of coastal home exteriors can help prevent costly repairs.