The walls are far too beautiful, and anything that hopes for a place in front of our walls will have to prove its worth first.
- Richard Medina, Palatine
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How Often do you Want to Repaint a Victorian Multicolor House?

We just repainted a Victorian house, Circa 1885, for a new client in Chicago. When you see a house of this size and this level of detail, a question comes to mind: How often do you want to have to repaint a house like this? The answer is simple: The least often possible! The related question is: What can you do to extend the life of a paint job?

Chicago Victorian House Circa 1885

Depending on its size, its level of detail and the condition of its coatings and substrates, a Painted Lady’s paint job can cost between $20,000 and $50,000, sometimes even more. Because of its clapboard and extensive trim and millwork, a Victorian house is especially vulnerable to deterioration. Before having us start the painting project, the owners spent about $8,000 on carpentry repair work to the house. To minimize the future cost of carpentry repairs and prolong the longevity of the paint job, we recommend what we call “Maintenance Painting” to our clients. What does maintenance painting entail?

Maintenance painting consists of doing a close inspection of the coatings of a house, every couple of years. What do we look for: signs of failure in the caulking and coatings. When the coating or caulking starts to crack, it is an entry point to moisture, which gets trapped, rots the wood and causes paint failure. Once caulk starts to fail, the deterioration of the substrate and coatings accelerates rapidly. This is why early detection is critical to maintain the integrity of the paint job. We then do caulk and coating maintenance on those spots we detected. When we notice the beginning signs of wood rot, we also do epoxy restoration in those areas.

A homeowner needs the assistance of a dedicated painting and decorating contractor in order execute this periodic maintenance. The challenge is two-fold. One, owners are typically unaware of the importance of coating maintenance. Two, painting contractors do not seem to recognize the opportunity of offering this service to their clients. So, these expensive paint jobs are allowed to deteriorate, which adds to the future cost of the repaints.

The kind of coating maintenance we are talking about can cost between $500 and $1,500 every two years. The money saved in avoiding expensive carpentry repairs alone more than justifies coating maintenance. Our clients who own historic Victorian home or other “Period” homes in the Chicago area really appreciate this additional service we offer them.