5 Steps to Exterior Home Improvement

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Whether you are a new homeowner or lived in the same abode for years, it's important to know answers to certain exterior questions. Before diving into renovations, this knowledge will guide expectations and ensure that each project is addressed properly. 

1. Know the Year of Construction

Homes built prior to 1978 likely contain contaminated paint on interior and exterior surfaces. There are federal regulations when handling lead contaminated paint. Look for flaking and peeling on wood surfaces. Chips can end up in groundwater and ingested by pets. Search paperwork received during the home purchase or perform your own lead test with an inexpensive kit available online and at local stores. And don't forgo asking a painting contractor how they deal with lead. After all, Milwaukee is facing a lead problem right now. 

2. Inspect Siding and Trim

If you have metal siding, you're in luck. This durable surface lasts for decades and is easily brought back to life with a pressure washing and fresh coats of primer and paint. 

Fiber-cement siding, often known by the common brand HardiePlank, often withstands the Wisconsin elements for seven to eight years. However, many report paint fading due to sunlight and minor peeling after five years time. This surface may also be pressure washed and gently scrubbed before priming and painting. Note, cement board should not be scraped. 

For those with wood siding and/or trim, you already know the struggle. Expansion and contraction, oh my! Surfaces should be hand scraped, sanded, and then repaired before applying primer and paint. 

Regardless of siding type, two finishing coats is the professional standard. And what do painting contractors want you to know? Not all siding or trim can be saved with minor repairs and paint. While it may be pricey to opt for new siding, it's a better investment than repainting a failing surface every two to three years. Explore pros and cons to different siding options.

3. Check Your Deck and Pathways

As outdoor entertaining approaches, it's important that wood decks, patios, and pathways are repaired for safety and sealed for longevity. Most painting contractors are ready to assist with staining, sealing, and painting features around the home. 

4. Set Your Priorities

Is it more cost effective to address multiple areas at once? Yes. Yet it's understandable that due to condition or budget, you're not ready to commit resources to refresh every surface. Ask potential paint contractors to break down pricing, explain warranties, and determine what simply cannot wait another year. 

5. Give Yourself Enough Time

You're calling painting contractors in Greater Milwaukee. But the company is already booked until July! Believe it or not, this is likely true. Early winters, late starts to spring, and rollovers from the previous year can all create a booked calendar. Plus, the better the painting company, the more in demand their services. Try to plan a year ahead. That will give you time to collect estimates, select colors, and make the right selection without feeling rushed. 

Use Empire Painting's project survey to guide your exterior transformation. Once you define project scope, you're at the stage to compare bids and products. 

Jenna Villanova