By the time you read this blog, it will be February. January certainly came in with a whimper and left with a cold bang, as I’m writing this, it’s about -40 outside, and moisture is turning to ice almost instantly. This isn’t necessarily the time of year when most people are thinking of how to get the best exterior painting done, but there are a few principles that are worth talking about that relate back to the cold weather; things you should know about building materials, and how moisture and expansion can affect them over time.
Think about concrete, an extremely popular building material, and one that is commonly used in commercial and industrial buildings, if not so common on your home’s exterior. Most of the time, when you see concrete, it’s in a fairly raw state. That’s actually quite dangerous in Winnipeg winters, because uncoated concrete can be quite porous, so water gets into the concrete. When winter comes around, that water freezes and expands, and the pressure can cause the concrete to crack. This same principle is why we see so many potholes in our roads come spring, and why our old brutalist buildings tend to be in such disrepair. One of the advantages of paint, especially elastomeric paints, is that they add a level of impermeability to the materials onto which they are painted; concrete paints don’t just make concrete look better, they also make it more durable.
Bricks, which you’ll much more commonly see in home construction, are also quite porous. People can be a bit hesitant to paint their bricks, because the look of brick is so beautiful; I’d be remiss to disagree, brick can look incredible. Fortunately, you can paint your brick with a clear coating, so the brick still looks incredible, but water can’t permeate the surface, so you don’t end up with cracked bricks once winter ends. There are also examples of beautiful brick houses that have been painted; sometimes red, to keep with the brick theme, but sometimes deep blues or vivid purples, to add a funky aesthetic to what is mostly seen as a rustic look.
There are also exterior structures you might not have even thought to paint to protect. Wood is porous, of course; when’s the last time you painted your wooden fence? The same goes for old wood gazebos; they can sometimes be neglected when you’re thinking of painting your home, but without maintenance, you’ll find your gazebo investment has gone to waste. There’s also the soffit and fascia to paint; most folks don’t even know what those are (they’re near your eavestroughs), but painting them to reduce their permeability is incredibly important, because eavestroughs carry a lot of moisture in them.
Painting your home’s exterior isn’t just about creating a beautiful aesthetic; it’s about protecting your most valuable asset. Take the time to find colours that suit you, and hire professional painters to make sure the job is done right, and you’ll be sure to be happy with your decision. Just make sure not to try to get it done in -40!