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Guest Commentary: Repainting – An essential post-hurricane repair

By DAN MILES - | May 18, 2023

Dan Miles

Hurricane Ian damaged thousands of homes and businesses in Southwest Florida, but the storm’s impact was disproportionate.

Some structures were rendered uninhabitable or required significant repair work, while others appeared unscathed. It’s those property owners who may have prematurely breathed a sigh of relief.

Homeowners and property managers often overlook one piece of post-storm maintenance – paint. Ian’s fierce winds and rain hit structures with a force nearly equivalent to a pressure washer powerful enough to chip or strip paint off exterior walls, fascia boards and trim.

For any home or business, paint is the first line of defense against the elements – rain, moisture, sun and insects. In subtropical climates, rainwater can foster mold growth, rot wood and create safety hazards. Paint helps create a waterproof barrier that makes it more difficult for water to damage concrete blocks, stucco or wood structures, as well as vinyl siding.

Since the hurricane, it’s been relatively dry in Southwest Florida. With the rainy season starting, though, strong UV rays, heat, rain and humidity can expose any walls, doors, shutters, trims, patios and handrails that have been compromised.

Unlike painting interior spaces, where the environment is climate controlled, painting a structure’s exterior requires planning. Always professionally clean surfaces before painting; this ensures the paint will bond well with the exterior. Also, experts recommend painting in the morning, when the chance of rain is typically lower.

There are three primary considerations before starting an exterior repainting project:

• Paint color: Beige, tan, white, light yellow and light blue are popular exterior colors in Southwest Florida, but gray has emerged as the trendiest color for homes. Light and medium grays look great when paired with either white or dark trim colors. Before choosing a color, check neighborhood regulations; homeowners associations often specify a paint color palette within the bylaws.

• Paint finish: Low luster and satin finishes are good options because they offer resistance against dirt and grass clippings. A premium acrylic latex paint is waterproof, mold resistant, fade resistant and flexible, an important characteristic for a climate with rapid temperature changes.

• Paint manufacturer: For some products, generic or store brands are essentially the same as name brands. Unfortunately, paint is often not one of those products. Low-quality paint brands often require two coats of paint or fade quickly, eating away at any cost savings. Benjamin Moore, Clark + Kensington, Royal and Magnolia Home are among the most respected brands in the industry.

Every home improvement project or property enhancement is an investment of both financial resources and time. The goal for exterior paint jobs in Southwest Florida is eight years – if you can make it last a decade without showing wear and tear, fading, chipping, chalking or cracking, you invested wisely in the right paint and the right painter.

Dan Miles is the commercial paint division manager for Sunshine Ace Hardware, which operates retail stores in Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Manatee and Pinellas counties. For additional information, please visit SunshineAce.com.