How Often Should You Paint Your House?

Painting pros weigh in on when it's best to paint both interior walls and your home's exterior.

If your walls are starting to get a little dingy, the color is outdated, or your exterior doesn’t quite have the curb appeal it once did, you might be wondering if it’s time to throw on a fresh coat of paint. We hate to break it to you, but chances are you’re well overdue.

The trick to saving money when it comes to painting your home is scheduling a paint job before it becomes an issue—not after. To uncover exactly when that is, we enlisted the help of Anthony Kulikowski, owner of Five Star Painting of South Bend, who sheds light on how often homeowners should plan to paint both their home interior and exterior, how to get more life out of a paint project, and even signs that it’s time to call in professionals. 

blue house with backyard patio
Brie Williams

Signs Your Home Needs to Be Repainted 

On interior walls, look for signs of wear, like chipped corners, dents, dings, and other factors brought on by heavy traffic. Cracks in caulking, drywall, and plaster are additional signs it’s time to repaint. 

It’s one thing to want a fresh look for your home exterior, but it’s another if you find cracked caulking, rust, raw wood, or bare metal, or your paint is faded, blistering, or peeling. All of these are signs that you’re in need of an exterior paint refresh, according to Kulikowski. 

exterior shot black and white tudor home

Better Homes & Gardens / Marty Baldwin

How Often Should a Home Exterior Be Painted?

Because of natural elements, exterior paint tends to wear more quickly and often needs to be repainted every 5 to 10 years. That said, there are two factors to keep in mind. The first is that one or two sides of your house will take the brunt of sun damage, meaning they’ll likely need attention before the other areas. The second is that you should plan to paint early rather than holding out for all-over signs of wear. “You don’t want to wait until your paint is peeling in several areas before you call a local house painter,” warns Kulikowski. “If caught early, this will reduce the amount of front-end prep work, such as scraping and caulking, and can potentially save you money.”  

living room with dark blue accent wall

How Often Should a Home Interior Be Repainted?

“The interior of a home can last much longer than the exterior because it's not exposed to the elements of nature, such as wind, snow, rain, high temperature fluctuations, and the sun,” says Kulikowski. While he typically sees homeowners requesting an interior paint refresh every 5 to 15 years, it’s primarily due to wanting a change in color rather than wear and tear.

As with just about everything, there are some outliers. “Some exceptions to this might be if your home was painted with a subpar paint product or if your family has children and pets since everyday living can often wear on a paint job,” he says. 

How to Extend the Life of Your Paint

If your exterior was repainted just three years ago and you’re already seeing the tell-tale signs that a paint job is in the near future, you might be falling prey to some of these paint pitfalls. 

Rely on High-End Paint

Indoors, Kulikowski recommends painting walls in a flat or matte finish and satin or semi-gloss on trim and doors. However, the single most important factor in ensuring your paint is in it for the long haul—for both the interior and exterior—is avoiding subpar paint. “Using a high-end product will ensure higher washability, durability, and ultimately will provide more longevity,” says Kulikowski.

Keep It Clean

Of course, high-traffic areas where children and pets have left their mark will often need repainting sooner rather than later. Selecting a high-end product can help lengthen the life of your paint so these messes can be cleaned up routinely without the worry of paint peeling or wearing prematurely.

“When washing your interior walls, make sure to use a non-abrasive cloth with a mild soap, since using an abrasive material can burnish the paint,” says Kulikowski. “A soft, synthetic sponge or a microfiber cloth is ideal for cleaning walls.” Care should also be given to home exteriors in the form of routine washing once a year. According to Kulikowski, this reduces the risk of contaminants like mildew compromising the paint. 

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