The paint on the outside of a home is very important. It matters not just for the visual impact on the property, but as protection from wear and tear. Paint is your exterior’s first line of defense against rain, snow, moisture, dust, and the sun’s UV rays. When it’s time, painting your house should be part of your strategy to protect and improve the home’s value.


So how often should you paint a house exterior? The answer depends on the materials that make up your home’s exterior. Different surfaces need to be repainted within different time frames. As a general rule:

  • Wood siding needs to be repainted every 3-7 years.
  • Stained wood siding will need the stain to be reapplied every 4 years.
  • Aluminum siding should be repainted in intervals of 5 years.
  • Stucco will last 5-6 years before it needs to be done.
  • Brick, if unpainted, requires only occasional cleaning. Painted brick will last 15-20 years.
  • Cement fiberboard can last 10-15 years without needing repainting.

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The above are only general guidelines. Surfaces may need repainting sooner than indicated, depending on several factors. The three major factors that impact paint durability are:


A Previous Paint Job

A previous paint job will last depending on the type/quality of paint used, how many coats were applied, the color of paint, and how well the paint dried. High quality paint in lighter shades, applied in two to three coats, tends to last longer. Whether a house was painted on a sunny or cloudy day also affects how well the paint dries and how long it lasts. 100% acrylic paint is more resistant to fading and more durable.


Impact of Harsh Climate

Harsh climate and weather shorten the lifespan of paint on your home’s exterior. If the property is in an area with hot sunny summers and it’s not shielded by trees, the sun’s heat can cause the paint to bubble and fade at a faster rate.

This is particularly true for paints with darker hues, synthetic pigments, and oil based paints. Harsh winters, extreme humidity, salty sea breezes, and wind blown sand can quickly damage an exterior paint job. Additionally, conditions on the day that a house was last painted plays a huge role in how well paint lasts.

Exterior House Maintenance

Good preventive care and maintenance will help paint last longer. The opposite will accelerate the decay of paint on the property’s exterior. Perhaps the most important danger to watch out for is moisture. Other dangers to be aware of include dampness, rot, mold, rodent infestation, and chalkiness. The paint will last longer if problems are treated promptly, especially issues involving moisture infiltration.


Flaking, Bubbling or Cracking Paint

You may observe small bubbles and/or cracks on the surface of your paint. These bubbles are rot and mold. They may also be caused by extreme weather such as storms, strong sunlight, sandy wind, and high humidity. Bubbles and cracks on paint are uglier than fading. So they are a sure sign you need to repaint.

Hardened Caulk

Caulk should expand and contract, along with the house. Caulk that has been exposed to extreme weather cycles loses this ability. If caulking is hardened the home is not properly sealed and becomes vulnerable to moisture. If the beads are hard and resistant when you press down, it’s probably time to call an expert to re-caulk and check for damage. After replacing the caulking the house should also be repainted.

Fading Paint

Sun bleaching is common, and dark hues tend to fade faster than paler shades. It is normal for paint to fade after prolonged exposure to the elements. As paint fades, it becomes less effective at protecting a home.

Fading on shady sides of the house however indicates problems with the vapor barrier or water intrusion. Look for seemingly mysterious stains dripping downward on the paint. If water soluble materials designed for home interiors end up outside the house it’s a sign of water leaks. If you can’t pinpoint the source, call an expert.

Moisture Stains and Mold

Moisture stains can be a sign of serious damage, especially if the stains are difficult to remove. Moisture is the enemy of many construction materials and today’s building codes require contractors to take precautions during new construction to reduce the risk of damage, especially in areas subject to high humidity. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to protect all walls and ceilings in all situations and paint can eventually peel with repeated exposure to moisture. Fixing the problem includes addressing the moisture issue before doing any repairs.

Mold and moisture stains should be investigated by an expert and surfaces repainted after the main problem is dealt with.

Rotten Wood

One of the uses of paint is to protect your home’s walls. As such, rotting wood is a sure sign of your current paints inefficacy. Have the rotted wood replaced and repaint soon or run the risk of more damage and greater expense.

Damaged Stucco

To minimize costs without re-stuccoing the entire house, patch stucco cracks, then repaint the whole house. Otherwise you will be left with streaks or a patchwork from paint that doesn’t quite match.


You may not always get what you asked for with paint. Morphing is when paint fades and changes colors entirely in patches. For instance beige often morphs to pink when exposed to sunlight even after only several months. Morphing only affects exterior painting, but some brands are designed to resist the effects of UV rays.

Morphing can be a beautiful or ugly transformation and in the latter case, there is no option but to repaint.


Chalking is not always easily noticeable. To determine whether your home’s paint is chalking, you need to run your hand over the surface to feel it’s texture. If the paint leaves chalk residue and feels hard, it is a sure sign it is chalking.

Chalking is caused by years of exposure to harsh weather and other elements. It can be hazardous to your health and the environment, so you should consider repainting soon.


Peeling is probably the ultimate sign of the need to repaint. Paint is not supposed to peel off but poor quality paint eventually does. Other factors, such as exposure to strong sunlight, extreme humidity, or harsh winters can also contribute to peeling. When paint is peeling off it makes your home look old and dilapidated, and exposes walls to damage from elements such as extreme weather.

Aging out

Different brands of paint have varying life expectancies. High quality paint can have a life expectancy of 7 to 10 years, while poor quality paint can be less than five years. Normally, ageing out is accompanied by other signs such as bubbling and chalking, but they may not be profound. Nevertheless, you should repaint your home once the current paint ages out.

New House

Typically, contractors spray one coat of paint over pre-primed wood. That primer minimizes warpage at the lumber yard but generally is insufficient to prevent swelling or shrinkage. If possible, have the wood primed before installed. Then plan on painting a new home within five years to insure a good layer of protective paint before much damage has occurred.

Lack of Appeal

Besides providing protection, paint also has an aesthetic appeal. The current paint of your home may have appealed to you in the past but tastes and preferences change over time. Since your home is the best place you can call your own, you should ensure it suits you in every way. As such, consider redoing your paint if the current color no longer appeals to you.

Boost Curb Appeal

If your house looks faded, the trim no longer stands out, or there is nothing to make the house interesting against its surroundings, a fresh coat of paint will generally do the trick, making it look fresh and increasing the value of the home.

Ultimately, how often you repaint your house’s exterior will depend, to a large extent, on how well you maintain the property. It will also depend on the age of the paint on various surfaces.

You may be tempted to put off exterior painting in a bid to save money. But delaying the painting will not save you money. Instead, it will only make prep work more challenging and the paint job more expensive. Moreover, delaying painting will expose the property to avoidable damage.


Do you have a question about your home’s paint job? The professionals at Palmetto Paint Plus are here to help.


Do you need a professional estimate for repainting the exterior of your home? Reach out to us at 803-612-9456 for a free estimate today.