Any Las Vegas painter will tell you that repainting the outside of a home or commercial space is a labor-intensive endeavor. The amount of preparation and attention to detail involved ensure that it’s something you don’t want to do very often.
The questions then become “How long does an exterior paint job last?” and “How can you extend the life of your paint?”
The answers, products, and methods could vary depending on whether you’re a residential painter or a commercial painter, but there are many similarities between different types of painting project.
Factors That Affect Exterior Paint
According to both house painters in Las Vegas and product manufacturers, the typical exterior paint job could last for as long as 10 years. The duration of your paint job depends on several factors, including:
Climate and Exposure
This is probably the biggest factor in exterior paint longevity. Even if you properly prep and prime, exposure to elements like salt air, direct sunlight, or winter storms will diminish the look of your exterior and increase the need for maintenance and upkeep. Even if your house is sheltered by trees, falling branches, dropping nuts or berries, and tree dwelling animals can contribute to scratches, stains, and other damage that leads to peeling or a worn, unkempt appearance.
Type of Paint
Choosing a generic brand that you can buy in bulk at a discount might seem to be an easy, cost-effective solution for exterior upkeep. However, cheap paint that requires many coats and frequent touch ups can cost more in the long run than just buying a high-quality paint in the first place.
There are few house painters without stories about undoing the damage of Battleship Gray exteriors purchased from the military surplus store.
As far as type, most people assume that an oil-based paint is best for outdoor painting. It repels rain and resists peeling or flaking better than a water-based paint. However, it isn’t suitable for all types of exteriors, and it can become dull or yellow over time. Oil paint also takes longer to cure, especially in moist climates, and requires more prep work before the final coats are placed. Some locations prohibit using oil-based paints because they’re mixed with harsh chemicals that emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Latex is just another name for a water-based paint. It’s an economical choice with a high degree of color selection, but typical latex paints don’t offer any added protection from the elements.
A better choice is an acrylic paint that’s specially formulated for exterior use. They combine the longevity of an oil-based paint with the ease of use and care that you’ll find in the best latex brands. However, the addition of acrylic offers a longer lasting finish.
Your surface material affects the durability of your paint as well as the amount of prep and number of coats you’ll need. Stucco tends to hold paint longer due to the materials used to create it. A properly primed and prepped stucco home can look good for up to 10 years. Building that are made from wood will begin to look weathered and old within five years. Masonry holds color well, but it’s a porous material that needs primer and weatherproofing to keep the coats from sinking below the surface as you paint.
Solid, lasting results often come down to the amount of preparation your Las Vegas painter puts into your exterior painting project. The presence of dirt, peeling paint, and grime provide a less than ideal surface.
Even in the best of circumstances, painting prep involves many arduous steps if you want your paint job to last past the next season.
1. Clean the surface completely. You should at least hose the structure down completely if power-washing is out of the question. That means getting into nooks, cervices, and corners to get rid of any debris. Allow the exterior to dry for 24 hours before painting, if possible.
2. Sand or scrub down to a smooth base layer. Any old layers of paint or peeling, flaking surfaces will prevent the new exterior from adhering properly to the surface. It’s best if you can remove everything down to the substrate, but an even, flake-free layer will suffice.
3. Prime your surfaces. This tip goes for all types of exterior surface, not just masonry or wood. Primer improves grip and provides even porosity across all surfaces.
Just make sure that your primer base is the same composition as your paint. Acrylic or latex paint will not stick to an oil-based surface.
4. Caulk around trim, windows, doors, and any other gaps. This will seal them from weather and keep paint from seeping into cracks.
Reading this list (and our blog here) sheds light on why many property owners turn these projects over to professional Vegas painters.
Colors and Finishes That Best Withstand Weather, According to a Las Vegas Painter
The color and finish can make or break your paint job. Darker colors require more maintenance overall, and light colors tend to show stains and imperfections. Dark color also hold heat, fade faster, and suffer moisture damage more than lighter shades.
In general, the longest lasting exterior paint colors are in the beige/brown family. These neutral tones also blend better with surrounding structures and natural settings. In hot, arid climates such as those experienced by Vegas residents, reds, yellows, greens, and blue shades break down faster due to UV exposure.
As for finishes, the body of the structure will look best with a flat finish. Eggshell or satin look nice, too, and they’re easier to clean than flat paint. Save the semi-gloss, enamel, or high gloss finishes for trim and doors.
How to Get Long-Lasting Exterior Paint Results
The exterior of your home or business building sets expectations for visitors and passersby. You want to make sure that the impression your give is one of dedication and pride. No matter the size of the building, getting great results with exterior paint takes some finesse and experience.