How Can I Tell If I Need To Paint My Home's Exterior?

Chapter 1

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Chapter 1: Does my South Shore home need exterior painting?

There are two reasons to paint your home’s exterior:

Painting protects your home from moisture.  Paint & stain offer a barrier that prevents rotting.

Painting beautifies your home – otherwise known as “curb appeal.”


How to determine if your home is still protected from its current coat of paint or stain:

We’ve developed a 20-second exterior painting quiz to determine if your exterior needs painting.

Take the quiz, and if you don’t need to paint to protect your South Shore area home, there’s no need to read on unless you’re interested in beautifying your New England exterior (color change, the look of a fresh coat of paint).

In general, here are the signs your home needs painting:

Faded or discolored paint

Water intrusion or leaks

Rotted wood on clapboards, shingles, and trim – especially near the ground and at miter joints.

Flaking or cracked paint

Shrinking caulk, which means holes in your home’s seams where moisture can penetrate

You can see mold or mildew (which often appears as a black growth on your cedar shingles)

Curb appeal that isn’t so appealing – especially important if you plan to sell your home.

A brand new home – did you know many building contractors often only paint one coat during construction? You’ll need another coat of paint for protection.


The Benefits of Painting Your Home’s Exterior:

Exterior painting increases your home value. We do a lot of work for realtors and their clients on the South Shore and in the Boston suburbs, and time after time, a home that’s been freshly painted will sell for more than it costs to paint it.

Important: If your home won’t sell for more than it costs to paint it, there’s no need to paint your residence! Use our handy guide to paint pricing to see the average cost to paint your home’s exterior in the South Shore, Plymouth, and Boston areas.

blue and white painted home with yellow front doorPainting enhances curb appeal. You can add subtle exterior paint touches to make your home’s exterior different from your neighbor’s without being too bold or over-the-top.

These subtle touches don’t have to break the bank and include everything from painting the window trim a darker color than the home’s body and adding painted house numbers above your front door.

Painting protects your home’s exterior surface (usually, homes in the Boston area are made of wood, but some are made of brick, vinyl, stucco, concrete, aluminum siding, and PVC composite material).  Paint sits on top of the surface of your home and protects it from the elements.

Alternatively, stain seeps into the wood to protect it “from the inside out.”

Most of all, paint and stain protect the wood on your home from moisture damage.  If the coating has faded or peeled off, the moisture can enter the wood underneath, causing the wood to rot.

Painting is an inexpensive “bang for your buck,” especially if you change exterior colors. Look for a painter with a free designer on staff who will work with you at your home to get your colors just right.

Repainting your home lends itself to a sense of pride.

Since you’ll be looking at the exterior color for about 7 years, it’s important to get the exterior color “just right,” so spending time sampling exterior colors and working with a designer is well-spent.

How often do I need to paint my South Shore home?

Our South Shore’s harsh winters and hot summers significantly impact exterior painting.  With climate change upon us, homes along the coast are particularly vulnerable.

Homes near or on the coast:  Need painting or staining every five years

Inland homes:   Need painting or staining every seven years


What months is it safe to paint outside in the South Shore area?

Exterior painting in the Boston area is limited to Spring through Fall because temperatures to paint outside must be consistently above 50 degrees Fahrenheit for the paint to cure properly.

Gray shingled home in Scituate maExterior painting cannot be done when it’s wet or moist. Since our New England weather is so often rainy and foggy, your Boston area exterior painter must depend on their moisture meter (a little gadget to help determine the moisture content of a surface) to determine if your home is dry enough to paint.


Paint on vertical surfaces lasts far longer than paint on horizontal surfaces:

This is because gravity sheds the water faster on vertical surfaces like your home’s siding or shingles, the water dries quickly, and the paint or stain remains protective for longer.

Water takes longer to dry on horizontal surfaces such as deck and porch floors.  Long-standing puddles on these horizontal floors eat away at the paint or stain coating, causing it to last a short time.

The hot sun of our summers beats down on our homes – especially on horizontal surfaces like deck and porch floors, causing South Shore and Boston customers to need to restain their deck floors every two years to keep them protected and beautiful.  This constant deck staining can be resolved by using composite decking for the floor of your deck, like Azek, which needs little to no maintenance.

Salt air and wind beat coastal homes on the South Shore, impacting the types of paints we use in these towns.

Click on your coastal town on the list below to see town-specific painting recommendations – yes, it’s important to hire an exterior painter that’s familiar with your town’s unique climate:

Quincy, Cohasset, Hingham, Hull, Scituate, Marshfield, Duxbury, Dartmouth, Plymouth, and Marion

Need painting?  Schedule a quote online.

Go to Chapter 2 – How to choose an exterior painting company

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