Painting Exterior Windows
LESLIE: Tony in Ohio finds The Money Pit on WLOH. And you’ve got a question about exterior paint. What can we do for you?
TONY: Well, I bought this new house and it has an addition on the back. And it has windows … really, it’s a 24 x 39 foot room. So it’s a big room and it’s got windows all around it. Okay? And they’re good windows; they’re Pella windows. But the paint’s starting to flake and I’ve got a guy that’s going to come and paint it, I believe. I’m going to get another estimate. And I’m just wondering how long … how long is it realistic for paint to last on an exterior surface?
LESLIE: Well, when was the last time they were painted?
TONY: Well, I don’t know. We just bought the house in November and I never got to ask the previous owner that. It looks like the … the guy that gave me the estimate said maybe … he said four years ago, maybe.
LESLIE: Well then, you’re almost about there. Because, generally, exterior paint tends to start breaking down in around five to seven years. And if it’s the south side of your house, it’s going to really take a lot of abuse.
TONY: Yeah, it’s … well, it’s on the south, the north and also the east side. So … but it’s … you know, it’s going to be quite a bill. And it’s not that big of a problem but I was just thinking about that and a little bit curious.
TOM: Yeah. Normally, five to seven years. The most important thing is going to be the preparation of that surface. Make sure that this contractor is going to use a primer.
LESLIE: Make sure they remove all the old caulk around the window, replace it with new caulk.
TOM: Yep. Make sure you get … when you get these estimates, have them spec out exactly what they’re due. It’s not just … you know, the estimate shouldn’t be …
LESLIE: Slapping on paint.
TOM: … “Tony, we’re going to paint your windows. It’ll be x dollars.” You know? It’ll be “We’re going to remove the old caulk. We use a caulk softener to do that. We’re going to strip off the old paint – all the loose paint – and we’re going to apply one coat of primer and two coats of top coat.” And what the kind of paint is that they’re going to use and so on. But if it’s done properly, you can … you can get five to seven, maybe even up to 10 years on a properly painted wood surface. It’s going to vary on … with exposure, like Leslie said. The sun, of course, being worse on the south, tends to break down the paint quicker but if you paint it properly, you definitely want to put the money into the labor so that you don’t have to replace it. Because, remember, with painting, the materials are the cheap part; it’s the labor that’s the expensive part. So make sure it’s done …
LESLIE: Mmm. And if you do good prep work, it’s going to last longer.
TONY: Okay. So make sure I’ve got a good, reputable painter that’s going to do all that. Is there a certain type of paint that I’d want to use that – not a brand name, but do I want a latex or an enamel?
TOM: Well, you can use a latex exterior house paint. And the latex paint has more … the exterior paint has more titanium dioxide in it, which makes it last longer. In fact, sometimes, when we have a touch surface to paint on the inside of a house, I will often tell people to use an exterior paint because it simply has more pigment in it.
TONY: Okay. Well, I appreciate …
TOM: Just stick with the same brand of primer as top coat because they work well together. They’re engineered to work together. Alright, Tony?
TONY: Thank you very much, guys. You’ve been a big help.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.
And that’s how you can call us, too. 1-888-666-3974. And you can also log on our website at moneypit.com and click on Ask Tom and Leslie and get a question to us that way.