This article was crafted with the help of Kenneth Axt from Kenneth W. Axt & Associates

After finishing the massive task of painting your house, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the new look of your home. But whether you hired a contractor or tackled the job on your own, painting your house’s interior or exterior can be a big investment of your time and money. Now that the job is complete, you’ll want to extend the longevity of your paint as much as possible, so follow the tips below to maintain your new paint job.

Maintaining Interior Paint

Checking for spots and stains. Over time, spots and stains will accumulate on your new paint job. To ease the pain of cleaning hard-to-remove spots from your walls, it’s best to treat them immediately. This technique may sound simple, but consider that you may not be aware of spots as soon as they appear. Taking the time to examine high-traffic areas will help you locate potential spots that need to be treated. Kenneth Axt, owner of Kenneth W. Axt & Associates in Atlanta, says that high-traffic areas include staircase walls, hallways, kitchens, and kids’ bedrooms. Homeowners should also pay attention to areas where children or pets like to play or where furniture, such as couches or chairs, touches the walls.

Cleaning spots and stains. Once you locate an area that needs to be cleaned, Ken recommends “washing it with a damp sponge and water.” If deeper cleaning is necessary, add a small amount of dishwasher detergent to a damp sponge—damp, not wet.

Dealing with mold. Mold thrives in high humidity and warm areas. For warm and humid rooms, such as bathrooms and basements, Ken says that homeowners can purchase special paints that prevent the emergence of mold. If you do find a wall with mold or mildew on it, examine the affected area to determine the severity of the infestation. You can clean it using a solution of one part bleach to four parts water (make sure to test the bleach solution on a small spot first). If the area is larger than nine square feet, it may need to be cleaned by a professional.

Battling fading paint. One of the best ways to avoid fading paint is to invest in a high-quality paint beforehand. Ken notes that color fade with a high-quality paint—even in bright sunlight—is generally not a significant problem. However, if you’re unsure of the quality of paint currently on your walls, another way to combat fading is to use shades or curtains to block incoming sunlight. If you want sunny rooms year-round and a long-lasting paint job, consider tinting your windows with a UV protectant.

Maintaining Exterior Paint

Avoiding rot. Paint provides more than just color to the surface of your home; Ken explains that it “slows down the process of rotting and weathering of your surfaces.” When painting your home or working with a painting contractor, make sure to check that the undersides of corner boards are fully painted. “If you don’t paint the bottom of it, it will absorb water and cause the board to rot,” says Ken. He also suggests checking the tops, bottoms, and backs of wood shutters to make sure they are painted.

Frequency of maintenance. Exterior paint maintenance depends on the material or the siding that is used on your home. Ken says that paint on stucco generally lasts longer than it does on wood trim, which means that homeowners with wood siding should expect to repaint their homes more often than their neighbors with stucco. Environment also plays an important role in the life of your paint job. Homeowners in milder climates will experience longer-lasting paint jobs than those who live in harsher climates, but generally, homeowners should expect to repaint their home every six to ten years.

Dealing with mold and mildew. One problem homeowners may face when trying to protect their exterior paint job is the growth of mold and mildew. To avoid this problem, homeowners can purchase exterior paint with special additives that will help prevent mold and mildew from attacking any surfaces. If you happen to encounter a mold or mildew infestation, read some important tips on cleaning mold off your house’s siding on the EBSCO Research blog.

Three-coat system. With an exterior paint job, problem areas could develop due to exposure to the elements. After years of vulnerability to wind, rain, sun, and snow, it’s no surprise that your paint can begin to peel. “If you have problem areas on the exterior of your home, such as peeling window seals or fascia boards, it’s a good idea to put two finish coats on those areas,” says Ken. Start with a high-quality primer paint, and then follow with two coats of finish paint—a three-coat system. The extra protection will help problem areas endure the abuse doled out by Mother Nature.

Pressure washing. After some time, you may notice a slight buildup of dirt and grime on your house’s paint job. This can easily be solved by pressure washing your home. Ken recommends pressure washing about five or six years after the initial paint job, especially if mildew is visible. Even using a garden hose to rinse porches and under overhangs once a year is beneficial to your home. “This helps to dissolve atmospheric salts that accumulate on surfaces that the rain or humidity don’t reach,” says Ken. These salts can affect the adhesion of new paint.

Chalking paint. Inexpensive paint breaks down quicker over time and becomes chalky, which can cause it to flake off easily when the surface is touched. Depending on the severity of your chalking paint, you may need to repaint your house. Ken says that homeowners should start the repainting process by hand-washing or pressure stripping the chalky areas. Next, apply a primer that is designed for chalky surfaces, and follow with a high-quality finish coat to avoid future chalking.

A quality paint job will bring new life to your interior and exterior, and when properly cared for, it can last for years. By following these tips, you can keep your paint job looking like new throughout the full lifetime of your investment and enjoy the look of your home for years to come.

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This spotlight article was crafted with the help of Kenneth W. Axt & Associates, a Best Pick Painter in Atlanta. While we strive to provide relevant information to all homeowners, some of the material we publish may not pertain to every area. Please contact your local Best Pick companies for any further area-specific advice.