Painting exterior trim can be assumed to cost less than completely painting all exterior surfaces, but here are a few things to consider from a painting contractor perspective.
A lot of us look to save where and when we can, especially in today’s harsh economic conditions. House painting is not exempted when it comes to saving money. A home’s exterior diminishes in quality, as a result of exposure to harsh elements of heat, cold, sun, and snow. Exterior paint ages over time needing repainting. Exterior trim, being that of solid wood is mostly the first to show signs of wear or wood rot. Often a homeowner makes a call, requesting for the painting of trim alone. Trim paint jobs sound enticing, but some underlying thoughts may have not been considered. Below are the points to consider when considering painting of trim only.
Most exterior trim on a home is painted on the front only, popularly tagged front-facing the trim. Sides of trim are often painted with main body color. Few homes have trim painted on all the three visible surfaces, known as 3-D'ed in the painting industry.
Either the edge of trim is painted with body color, and is where caulking is applied at most 90 degree angles. Painting trim only, cannot feasibly encompass caulking, as this fails and cracks over time. Most homes need new caulking when painting the exterior and a close inspection can decide that.
If new caulk is applied, main body portion needs to be touched up, and most times new paint will not perfectly match aged paint even when making use of exactly the same paint from the same paint can, as sheen difference will come into play. Usually due to sun exposure.
Painting trim requires the use of roller and brush as it can only be done manually and not automated through sprayer. This adds to the cost of manual labor employed which amounts to 60-80% of the total exterior painting job.
When painting the exterior completely, the first thing to be painted after all preparations have been made is to spray/brush/roll the body 2 coats wet-on-dry. This implies allowing the first coat to dry before applying the second coat. In doing this, trim is over-sprayed covering the initial coat as well thereby getting a total of 3 paint coatings rather than the actual 2 coats required for maximum protection. This overspray is not charged in the painting cost, but it adds up to the elements of exterior duration and warranties.
Set up costs are normally included with any home improvement job, painting separate times for complete exterior painting can essentially cost double, unless agreed before work begins in painting quote.
Before you make the decision to paint the exterior trim of your home, you should put this point into consideration; how long do I plan to live in this house? If your answer is any longer than 1 year, you may reconsider painting trim only to painting the whole exterior. From a quick glance, fresh trim paint will work from an aesthetic point of view, but not even close from complete protection and value points. Therefore, being frugal with exterior painting does not always mean painting just enough to get by; sometimes it costs much more in the long run.
Mark Leon is painting contractor and industry writer. His authoritative writing and painting company's award winning performance for high-end clients can be found documented in many professional publications.