How Long Should an Exterior Paint Job Last

An exterior paint job’s longevity depends on a few important factors. The siding material, preparation, paint quality, and painting process all contribute to a successful project. Whether you choose a neutral palette or are looking for something to make your home stand out, there are ways to extend the life of your paint job so it will look beautiful for years to come.

The Benefits of Painting Your Bay Area Home’s Exterior

A high-quality paint job will not only extend the life of the paint but will also help increase curb appeal and keep your home looking clean and well taken care of. A new color palette can help you fall in love with your home again by making cosmetic improvements.

This home improvement project is also a great opportunity to update your home’s style while enhancing its architecture. The Bay Area has beautiful older homes, and a new exterior paint job gives you the chance to embrace your home’s historic value while adding your personality.

What to Know Before Painting Your Home’s Exterior

These factors all contribute to how long an exterior paint job should last:

  • The lifespan varies by material and color.
  • Preparation is essential for success.
  • The right paint makes a difference.
  • You need the right painting process.

Exterior Paint’s Lifespan Varies by Material and Color

Your home’s exterior determines how long the paint job will last. Stucco surfaces typically last ten years, though wood surfaces typically only last five to seven before it begins to deteriorate.

Bright colors fade and will need to be repainted sooner than neutral tones. Some homeowners choose to embrace the bold colors (and we think it’s a beautiful result) but be prepared to repaint sooner than with a neutral choice.

One way to have the best of both worlds is choosing a neutral color for your home’s siding and a bright trim. You will still need to repaint, but it won’t be as time intensive of a process.

With this home, the primary color is a neutral tan, and the window trim and door are turquoise, making it a fun finished product.


Preparation is Essential for a Lasting Paint Job

In order to increase your home’s exterior paint, proper preparation is essential. When done correctly, it can be more time-consuming than painting! The biggest reason new paint chips or peels is due to the paint underneath. Creating a smooth, clean surface is key.

Preparation begins with sanding and scraping, as well as removing mold and mildew. These steps help the paint adhere to your home’s siding. The area is then primed, which is one of the best ways to ensure your home’s exterior paint lasts.

Primer can not only reduce the amount of paint absorbed by the surface, but it also helps hide small defects and evens out the surface. Applying the right kind of paint primer means each layer of paint properly adheres to your home’s exterior.

Another important step is caulking all trim, windows, cracked siding, and damaged wood. This gives you an even, beautiful final result. (If your home has stucco, Elastomeric patches are our go-to repair option.)

If your home was built prior to 1978, your paint crew needs to use all lead safety precautions while scraping the old paint away. The EPA specifies the necessary precautions for RRP contractors, which ensures your family’s safety. The old paint is wet scraped with full containment, and all areas are cleaned up using HEPPA Vacuums.

Once the exterior is properly prepared, it’s time to paint! Not all paint is created equal, though. A lasting paint job means the right paint applied the right way.

The Right Paint Extends the Lifespan

For lasting paint that withstands the elements, you want to invest in high quality acrylic latex paint. A high-quality acrylic paint offers a number of benefits:

  • When properly primed, acrylic paint adheres to many different surfaces, making it a versatile option for your home.
  • Acrylic also expands and contracts without splitting, making it ideal in changing environments. If paint cracks, water can seep into the material below and ruin the adhesion. This is particularly bad for wood siding.
  • Some manufacturers are adding anti-mildew chemicals into their acrylic paint, which increases its resistance to mildew. This is important for exterior projects!
  • Acrylic paints have better color retention than oil-based paints, which is helpful for paint that will be exposed to sunlight.
  • The sheen will last longer, helping maintain that freshly painted look.
  • You can apply a second coat sooner because of how quickly it dries. This makes the painting process more efficient.
  • While odor is less of an issue when painting a home’s exterior, acrylic paints do have a lower VOC than other options.

The right paint for your home’s exterior is also important when considering your budget. This isn’t the time to try to save money, because it will add expense in the long run. Ultra-premium paint as determined by the paint manufacturer provides a long-lasting paint job.

We prefer Sherwin-Williams paint because of their lifetime guarantee, low- and no-VOC levels, and superior quality. When you choose a high-quality paint and apply it well, you can ensure a paint job that will look great for years to come. 

The Painting Process Affects Paint’s Longevity

Your home’s exterior experiences different weather conditions. This is particularly true in the Bay Area, where there are both wet and dry seasons. In order to improve your exterior paint job’s longevity, it’s important to use multiple thick coats of paint.

Some painters try to minimize the amount of paint used, but these thin layers mean the wood, siding, or stucco is not properly protected. Instead, it’s essential to paint each layer to the manufacturer’s specifications. These thick layers of paint mean you’ll use more paint, but it also extends the life of your home’s exterior paint job.

Every exterior paint job we do will have two full layers of paint. This ensures your house is protected from the elements as much as possible, and that it will maintain its curb appeal.

Painting according to manufacturer guidelines also ensures your home’s paint is under their warranty. Sherwin-Williams offers a seven-year warranty on every project when painted to their specifications.

The changing temperatures are a factor while painting, too. If it’s too hot or too cold while applying each coat, the paint will not dry correctly. Painting in direct sunlight can also cause paint to dry too quickly, resulting in visible seams, uneven brush strokes, and a lower quality finished product.

With this home, we knew we needed to maximize the long-term color, which is why we used two thick coats of Sherwin-Williams acrylic paint. And it still looks beautiful today!


These elements contribute to the longevity of a home’s exterior paint job, and every step is crucial to its success. The right preparation and paint makes a difference and can be just what you’re looking for to improve your home’s exterior.

If you’re looking for a Bay Area highly rated painting company to guide you through this home improvement project, we would love to talk with you. Give us a call at (888) 977-2468.