Exterior Maintenance Requires Constant Vigilance

Exterior Maintenance Requires Constant Vigilance

We often think about the need to protect our home’s exterior in the winter months. Storms dump snow and ice on exposed surfaces and can even introduce moisture beyond the home’s outer shell via damaged wood, mortar, or caulking. When water penetrates a home’s exterior fabric, the cycle of freezing and thawing can lead to damage that is unseen until a much bigger problem presents itself, usually on the inside.

But damaging weather isn’t confined to the winter months.

Strong storms – whether summer afternoon downpours caused by soaring temperatures or fall hurricanes that can dump inches of rain over hours or days – can also do much damage to a home that isn’t properly safeguarded.

The best way to ensure a home is protected is to examine it – closely – on a regular basis.

“We’re always happy to send someone out for an assessment,” says H.J. Holtz & Son President Rick Holtz. “Our team knows what to look for, whether that’s evidence of rot, mold, or just a few cracks. The key to maintenance is to be ahead of it, whenever you can.”

Any flat exterior surface is vulnerable, and it doesn’t matter how wide the surface is; water can sit anywhere. Home features such as window sills, porch floors, wood decks, door thresholds and framing, decorative trim, and fencing must be maintained thoughtfully with the recognition that nothing lasts forever.

“Sometimes, we can address a problem with a fresh coat of paint or sealer,” Holtz says. “But if the damage is too advanced, replacement carpentry is required. In most situations, we can handle that repair, too, with our in-house carpentry team.”

The goal is always to find and address issues before they become complicated … and expensive.

“The best way to save money is to be proactive,” Holtz says. “We’re here to help with that. Just give us a call.”

Updated Look for Beloved Home Through Exterior Painting

Updated Look for Beloved Home Through Exterior Painting

It was time for her home’s exterior painting, and Robin knew just who to call: H.J. Holtz & Son.

Only a year ago, Robin and her husband had hired the local firm to paint the interior of their house, following a kitchen remodel. It was an easy decision to hire Holtz & Son then, too.

“We wanted to get it done, correctly,” she says. “We knew their reputation and knew they were good. I didn’t even think of someone else. They’re probably a bit higher in price than some, but we never worried about it; we just wanted it done right.”

Exterior painting requires a slightly different skill set from interior, though repairs often come into play in both situations. With exterior work, sanding and scraping can reveal unexpected damage from water, mold, and even animals. As the Holtz team prepped the exterior of Robin’s house, issues were uncovered.

“We’ve replaced boards here and there, but there was more extensive carpentry work that needed to be done than was expected,” she says. “The carpentry guys are so good; they have such great attention to detail.”

One fun aspect of the exterior paint job, Robin says, was changing the look of the home, which her family has lived in for 25 years. Previously, the house was gray wood clapboard with black shutters, white trim, and yellow doors. Now, the house is blue with black shutters and doors, and pearl gray trim, which was suggested by a member of the Holtz team.

Robin had seen the blue on an acquaintance’s house, which has fiber-cement lap siding. Wanting the same hue – Deep Ocean – but not the siding itself, Robin requested a sample from the manufacturer, and the Holtz team had Sherwin-Williams Emerald Rain Refresh paint tinted to match their wood siding.

“The color is spot-on,” she says.

Robin says it was a pleasure to work with Holtz painters again. “Their people are very nice; they must be treated well,” she says. “They’re so considerate, clean, and very punctual.” During the exterior project, Robin was startled when the team replaced patio furniture and planters every day, as they were finishing work. “I told them that wasn’t necessary,” she says. “But they said they wanted to make it right for the evening, in case we wanted to use the patio.”

There was a gap in time from when Robin and her husband signed the contract in early 2023 and when the painting happened in the fall. “We knew we would have to wait,” Robin says. “We’re very in tune with keeping up with our property, because it’s an investment. We’re not going to let things languish. And they did a really good job.”

Protecting Your Home’s Exterior in Winter Months

Protecting Your Home’s Exterior in Winter Months

While cold weather often means homeowners turn their attention to indoor projects, it’s possible – and may even be essential – to paint some or all of a house’s exterior during the winter months.

“Paint is the protective coating over top of the wood substrates,” says Thomas Freeman, sales representative for The Sherwin-Williams Company. “Wood, when exposed to the elements – whether moisture or sun – over time, is going to rot. The paint is what protects it from rotting.”

While prolonged exposure to moisture can lead to problems at any time of the year, the issues become more pronounced in cold weather, as ice crystals form and expand, enlarging cracks. Because damage occurs under the surface, it can be easy to miss.

“You can have structural issues, not just damage to windows and siding,” Freeman says, adding that masonry may also suffer and should be part of any exterior assessment.

For many homeowners, their house is their largest investment. The exterior should be surveyed regularly, but especially as colder and wetter weather looms, to ensure that cracks are sealed and small issues are repaired, either through caulking or painting. H.J. Holtz & Son offers this exterior review at customers’ request. Necessary repairs, including replacing rotted or damaged wood, can be handled by the in-house carpentry team.

If painting is required, the good news is that certain premium exterior paints can be applied at temperatures as low as 35 degrees Fahrenheit. Sherwin-Williams offers four options: SuperPaint, Latitude, Duration, Emerald, and Emerald Rain Refresh. “Each has different characteristics with durability, how they work, and how they perform in different weather conditions,” Freeman says. “Some are even self-cleaning.”

These premium exterior paints can be used at lower temperatures and resist moisture in just two hours – 50% faster than typical exterior paint. Still, Freeman says, it’s important to pay attention when painting in the winter.

“In summer, painters can start as early as 6 or 7 a.m. and work until 5 or 7 p.m., as long as they’ve got sunlight,” he says. “But just because the sun’s up in winter, it doesn’t mean conditions are conducive to painting. You need to start later – to make sure it’s warm enough – and you need to finish earlier, to give the paint time to dry before the sun sets and evening dew creeps in.”

It may take more days to paint a house’s exterior in the winter, but the actual number of hours needed may not be as high as it seems, as work hours are stretched over more days, to ensure painting is happening with optimum conditions. Prep work can take a bit longer, as it’s not wise to leave wood exposed, waiting for paint. A crew is more likely to prep in sections, rather than all at once.

The key, Freeman says, is to hire painters who know how to work in winter. “Some guys aren’t responsible about waiting for the right conditions,” he says. “[Company president Rick] Holtz isn’t like this, fortunately. He’s going to get it right whether he makes money or not. Not all these guys are.”