Exterior Painting

Condominium associations are required to maintain the common areas. Unless the CC&Rs provide otherwise, that includes painting the exterior of all buildings. Stucco surfaces, wood trim, siding, and metal have different life spans.

Life spans for paint on an exterior surface depends on several factors including the quality of the paint, the type of surface painted, how well the surface is prepared, and environmental conditions. Subject to these factors, following are life span ranges.


  • Stucco: 8 to 12 years
  • Wood: 5 to 7 years
  • Metal: 2 to 3 years


In order to preserve warranties, HOA boards should ensure that the paint manufacturer's requirements are made part of the contract with the painting contractor. The following should be specified in the painting contract:


  • All surfaces must be properly prepared before applying the paint. This may require power washing, scraping loose paint flakes with a wire brush, sanding surfaces, and caulking wall cracks and around all windows and doors.
  • Masking all windows and covering the landscaping.
  • The types of paints required for the various surfaces should be specified, such as oil or water-based, and the manufacturer of the paint.
  • How the paint is to be applied and the number of coats should be specified. This information can be supplied by the manufacturer.


Problems that can occur:


  • Peeling is most often the result of painting over damp wood. It can also result from moisture within the structure finding its way to the surface.
  • Alligatoring occurs when paint shrinks into individual areas, exposing the previous surface, usually because the new coat of paint is not adhering to the paint below. The two coats of paint may not compatible or the second coat may have been applied before the first coat had fully dried.
  • Paint that rises from the surface and forms blisters is usually the result of moisture.
  • New paint can run and sag into a series of droops called wrinkling. This occurs when the paint was applied too thickly and forms a surface film over the paint below. It can also happen if the paint is applied in very cold weather.


Please refer to the Glossary of Painting Terms on this website for additional information.


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