When should you paint?
When should you paint?
Isn’t asking a painter that question just like asking Colonel Sanders how often you should eat chicken? I guess it could be. But who else can you ask?
I just got off the phone with a very nice property manager with an association that was looking at painting their perimeter wrought iron fence. Wrought iron needs painting every three to five years. They had gotten their painting bids. And they were NOT happy.
They have a very big fence. Some of the bids were in the 6 figure neighborhood. The idea of spending that much money every four or five years just went against their grain. With 400 homeowners it adds up to $4.65 a month per home. They researched other options that don’t require maintenance. Vinyl came up, along with the 7 figure number. If they spread the expense of a vinyl fence over 4 years it’s $46.29 per month per door.
But they will never have to paint again.
So they haven’t made a decision.
A few years ago another condo property manager called and asked, “How much to paint 145 doors? Two or three of them need to be replaced.” I answered and wished him good day. The next three years he called me each Spring and asked a price for 145 doors. Each year more doors needed replacement. The final May I got the call. “How much to paint 145 doors? Twenty five to thirty to be replaced now.” The price of procrastination had reached 15 to 20 thousand dollars. I asked him why they hadn’t just painted the doors before. “The board couldn‘t make up their mind.” he responded ruefully.
Napoleon said, “Not making a decision, is a decision.” Actually, not making a decision is just not making a decision. But in the real world, not making a decision often has the EFFECT of making a decision. Maybe that’s what Monsieur Bonaparte meant. If a general can’t decide whether to attack, the enemy won’t wait for him to make up his mind. Exterior paint deterioration is just like that. It doesn’t wait for you to make up your mind.
Folks, paint on the outside of a building is not merely adornment. It preserves your building. In the case of things which rot and rust like wood and steel, it saves you money. Just like changing your oil protects your car’s engine, a paint job protects wood and steel. And just like “saving money” by putting off your oil change for a year or two can cost you your engine, “saving money” by putting off your paint job can cost you the exterior of your building. Deterioration happens inexorably, sunny day after rainy day. (Luckily, there is scant paint breakdown on clear nights, so your poor hardworking paint gets a little time off!)
When should you paint? Wood and steel? Every five years. Sooner, if it looks bad. If it looks bad, you have damage. Paint the damaged areas NOW.
Stucco? A different story. Paint it every 10-12 years. Stucco doesn’t deteriorate as fast as wood or metal.
There you are: exterior painting in a nutshell.
By the way, the Colonel just called me back. He told me, “Every day, boy. Every day.”
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