How Long Does Exterior House Paint Normally Last?

Do you think the exterior of your home or business needs a new paint job? Exterior paint lasts 5-10 years before you likely wait too late to paint. Once the indications of peeling paint, cracked caulking, and paint oxidation are present, you have waited too long.

In this article, we’re covering everything you need to know about exterior house painting. You’ll know how and when to paint your home or business and what type of paint to use for lasting results.

What You Need to Know About Exterior Painting

The key to success when painting the exterior of your home is preparation. Here are some tips, tricks, and insights to help you achieve a long-lasting exterior paint job.

1) Paint Selection Matters

One of the most critical factors in achieving a long-lasting exterior paint job is your choice of exterior house paint. Acrylic latex paint is usually the best choice for exterior painting applications because it’s versatile and can be used over water and oil-based primers.

Acrlic-based paint takes longer to harden over time. As a result of their malleability, they are less likely to blister. They also don’t mildew as frequently as oil-based paints and emit fewer VOCs, making them a more environmentally friendly option.

However, if you live in an area that experiences more fantastic rain or storms, it may be best to go with oil-based paint. These paints repel water and resist wear and abrasion more than an acrylic paint can. Rustoleum oil-based paint is also an excellent option for metal railings or areas like steps or porches that get a lot of foot traffic.

2) Longevity Differs on Surface

Every home is different, so it’s difficult to say how long your exterior paint job will last. Most painting experts will tell you that most homes must be painted every five to ten years. However, based on where you live, the general climate, and how good your previous paint job was, this timeline can differ significantly!

The longevity of your paint job can also differ significantly based on the surface. Here is a breakdown of how often you’ll need to paint the exterior of your home based on the surface type:

  • Brick: Every 10-20 years
  • Vinyl: 10-20 years
  • Wood siding: Every 3-7 years (or 4 if it’s stained)
  • Aluminum Siding: Every 5 years
  • New or Mixed Materials: Every 7-10 years
  • Stucco: Every 5-10 years

Factors That Age Paint Sooner

It’s important to note that the timeframes above are based on ideal scenarios. Certain factors will significantly impact the overall durability of your paint job. Here are some of the most impactful factors and how they affect how long your paint job will last.

1) The Elements

The weather and climate of your home will significantly impact how long your exterior paint will last. If your home experiences harsh, direct sunlight all summer, the paint will fade and peel more quickly than if your home is in a shady area. Alternatively, if you live in an area with long, harsh winters, high humidity, or bad storms, your paint could fail sooner and cause the exterior paint film to age faster.

2) The Previous Paint Job

You may not know when the property was last painted if you’ve just bought or moved into a new home. You should find out when that was and determine the type of paint used, as this will help you determine when you’ll need to repaint the home. Things like the type of paint used, the quality level, and even the color can all speak to the overall longevity of the exterior paint surface.


In general, high-quality paint in lighter hues tends to last longer. Exterior paint jobs in which painters have applied multiple coats also last longer.

3) Improper Maintenance

Your home’s overall maintenance and care can also impact how long your paint job lasts. You should regularly inspect your home for signs of wear and tear, such as dampness, mold, and rot. You should pressure wash your home regularly, removing dirt and organic growth before these surface contaminants break down the paint.

What Makes Paint Last Longer

As you can see, many factors can impact how long your exterior paint job will last. The good thing is that there are easy ways to maintain and preserve your paint job to maximize lifespan. Here are some tips on expert exterior house painting applications that will allow you to enjoy that beautiful home for years.

1) Using a Quality Primer

Every paint manufacturer has raced to market “Paint and primer in one.” However, primer is still needed for raw, unpainted surfaces. Primer serves as a base coat for the exterior house paint to adhere. It will also help (bridge) or smooth out any surface imperfections.


If you have decided on acrylic latex paint, you can use water- or oil-based primer. However, you should use an oil-based primer if you’re using oil-based paint for your topcoat. Doing this makes your top coat substantially more likely to adhere correctly without blistering or peeling.

2) Apply Several Coats

Another important thing that increases the lifespan of your paint job is applying multiple coats. Additional paint coats are a barrier that protects your home from damage from weather or other elements. However, ensure you apply these coats correctly and double-check that the sides and bottoms of all corner boards, window sashes, and additional exterior trim have been painted. Painters commonly miss these areas.

Generally, it’s best to apply three coats (1 primer, 2 top coats) to areas especially at risk for damage.

3) Don’t Paint in Direct Sunlight or Extreme Heat

When painting your home, it’s best to do it when it’s cooler. Direct sunlight can cause paint to dry too quickly. Quick-drying paint means more challenging work for exterior house painters and allows for visible brush strokes and general unevenness.

Only paint on days with mild weather or follow the sun if possible. You can paint the opposing side while the sun is on one side of the home. House painters call this chasing the sun.

4) Keep Your Exterior Surfaces Clean

Keep the exterior of your home clean to prevent paint damage, and your paint job will last up to 20% longer. Plan to pressure wash your home almost every year. Wash away any dirt or mildew that has made your paint look faded or discolored.

Additional Thoughts on Exterior Painting

Homes in Raleigh seem to match the national average, lasting 5 to 10 years. But by painting your home correctly and practicing the proper maintenance and care, you can extend the lifespan of your paint job and keep your home looking fresher for longer. Do you need to paint the exterior of your home?

Remember, if you have waited for the visual indication that the paint is starting to wear, you have already waited too long.

Making Caulk Joints Last Longer

Climate and humidity are essential factors in caulking joints and sealed surfaces. Under these conditions, durable exterior paints and the best exterior caulk must be used. Primers and putty are just as important. Exterior house paint will likely last longer than caulked joints, and improvements in caulking and other sealers are well-needed.

But until then, it is imperative to purchase a caulk that expands and contracts at a 70% rate. Allowing expansion joints to contract in the winter and expand in the summer without cracking is a reason to spend the extra couple of dollars on caulking.


The Importance of Maintenance

Properly maintaining your home is extremely important. If you want to maintain the exterior of your home correctly, don’t wait until you see paint flaking before you consider hiring a painting contractor. If the paint is visibly peeling or has started to oxidize (chalking), you are already past due for exterior painting service.

Contact us today for a complete and thorough exterior paint quote in Raleigh, Cary, Durham, Wake Forest, or Knightdale, NC!

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