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Exterior painting on a multi-family community by Custom Exteriors

The Essential guide to exterior painting for commercial and multi-family buildings

Protection against the elements

As the owner or manager of a commercial or multi-family building, you know the value of a good first impression. The exterior of your building is the first thing anyone sees when they arrive. You don’t need the reminder that a good-looking exterior or a freshly painted building can significantly enhance the appeal of your property to prospective tenants and customers alike. In addition to looking great, a properly maintained building sends a message that you care about your property and, by extension, about your tenants and visitors. A well-maintained exterior can attract more customers or tenants, making your property a place where people want to live, work, or shop. 

If you have owned your property for any amount of time, you also understand the need for exterior maintenance for your multi-family or commercial building. When left unchecked, even the smallest of issues, like a clogged gutter, can result in severe and expensive damage to your property. 

Beyond appearances, there’s a practical side to exterior painting that plays a huge role in the health of your building. Quality exterior paint serves as a shield to protect your building. It keeps severe weather, pests, and moisture at bay and can prevent costly repairs down the line. Keeping your building’s exterior in good condition should be viewed as a small investment that can and will save you from larger expenses down the line. 

Long-term costs savings

Because we are talking about commercial properties, the bottom line matters. So, let’s talk about the financial sense it makes to keep your building’s exterior painted and maintained. Ignoring peeling paint or the buildup of dirt and grime can lead to problems that become more expensive to fix over time. For instance, water damage from lack of proper sealing and maintenance can lead to costly repairs in both the interior and exterior of your building. By investing in regular upkeep, you are proactive about preventing future issues, leading to significant cost savings in the long run. Plus, a building that looks good and is well-maintained increases its value over time, which is good for your bottom line. 


Choosing the right painting contractor

Selecting the right painting contractor for your commercial or multi-family property isn’t about finding just any contractor. It’s about partnering with a professional who understands the unique needs of your property and can deliver results that enhance its value and visual appeal. It’s about finding a company with the experience required to complete the remodeling tasks at hand with minimal impact on tenants or visitors. From our experience, there are key factors you should consider to make sure you are making the best choice for your property. 

Infographic created by Custom Exteriors explaining 3 top things to look for in a commercial painter

1. Experience and Specialization

First and foremost, look for a contractor with a solid track record of working on commercial and multi-family buildings. These types of properties have specific challenges and requirements, from the scale of the project to the need for durable materials that can handle high-traffic areas. An experienced contractor will not only provide insights into the best practices for your project but also anticipate and manage any potential issues that may arise during the process. Experience also allows a contractor to complete exterior repairs and improvements with minimal impact on the tenants and visitors. 

2. Licensing, Insurance, and references

It’s essential to verify that any contractor you are considering is fully licensed and insured. This protects your property in the event of accidents or damage. Even the best contractors have accidents from time to time. So, ask to see proof of insurance and check that their licensing is up to date. 

Additionally, ask for references and follow up on them. Speaking to other commercial property owners or managers who have worked with the contractor can give you a clearer picture of what to expect. They can share insights on the contractor’s reliability, quality of work, and ability to complete the project on time and within budget. A reputable contractor will be proud to show off their work and provide references without hesitation. 

3. Detailed estimates and contracts

A professional painting contractor should provide you with a detailed estimate outlining the scope of work, the materials that will be used, the timeline, and the cost. This document is crucial because it sets the expectations for both parties and helps avoid misunderstandings later on. Make sure everything you’ve discussed is included in the proposal and that you completely understand each part of it. Don’t hesitate to ask questions if anything isn’t clear.

The contract should also specify the payment schedule, warranty information, and how changes to the project scope will be handled. A clear, comprehensive contract is the foundation of a successful project. It ensures that you and your contractor are on the page from start to finish. 

Choosing the right painting contractor for your commercial or multi-family property is a decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. By focusing on experience, verifying licensing and insurance, and requesting detailed estimates and contracts, you can select a partner that will not only meet but exceed your expectations. Remember, the goal is to increase the value of your investment, and the right contractor is an important step to achieving that outcome.  

Selecting the right paint for your building

When you think about choosing the paint for your building, your first thought is likely, “What color?” However, choosing the right paint for your building is much more than picking colors that look good together. You need to consider finding the right paint to make your building look great while protecting it for years to come. Based on our experience, there are several key factors you need to consider to make the best choice for your property. 

Infographic made by Custom Exteriors to explain three steps in choosing the right paint for your exterior painting project

1. Types of exterior paints

  1. Acrylic Paints: These are water-based paints known for their durability and flexibility. They work great for most exterior surfaces because they can expand and contract with the building materials during temperature changes, reducing the risk of cracking. Acrylic paints are commonly seen on stucco surfaces or areas that need increased durability. 
  2. Latex Paints: Also water-based, latex paints are the most commonly used paint. They are popular for their ease of application and clean-up. They dry quickly and offer good coverage. This makes them a practical choice for larger projects. 
  3. Oil-Based Paints: Known for their robust and durable finish, oil-based paints are excellent for high-contact areas because they’re resistant to wear and tear. However, they take much longer to dry and require more effort to clean up. 

Choosing between these paint types depends on the specific needs of your building, including the materials of the exterior and the climate of your area. Your painting contractor will assist you in determining which paint will best serve your needs. 

2. Considerations for Climate and Building material

Your local climate plays a significant role in selecting the right paint. For example, properties in areas with high humidity need paint resistant to mold and mildew. Similarly, buildings in regions with intense sun exposure, like Colorado, require UV-resistant paint to prevent fading and deterioration. 

The material of your building is also a determining factor. Wood, masonry, stucco, and metal each have different requirements for adhesion, durability, and protection. A knowledgeable painting contractor can advise you on the best type of paint for your building’s material and the environmental conditions. 

3. Color Selection and Curb appeal

While functionality should be your primary concern, the aesthetic appeal of your paint selection can’t be overlooked. The right color can transform your property, making it more attractive to tenants and customers. Did you know that according to Zillow, homes with black front doors can sell for up to $6,000 more than similar homes? With this in mind, consider colors that reflect your brand image or blend well with the surrounding environment. Additionally, many areas have regulations on the colors you can use, so it’s important to be aware of these guidelines before making your final decision. 

According to Zillow, 77% of realtors recommended their customers repaint the exterior of their homes before a sale. A newly painted property can boost your curb appeal and selling price for a relatively low installation cost. 

When selecting paint colors, also think about longevity and maintenance requirements. Darker colors might fade faster in sunny areas, while lighter colors can help hide dust and reduce heat absorption, making them a great eco-friendly choice. 

Choosing the right paint for your commercial or multi-family property is a critical decision both in protection and increased curb appeal. Remember, consulting with a professional painting company can provide valuable insights and help you make the best choices for your property. 

Exterior Paint Maintenance: Ensuring durability and Curb Appeal

Maintaining the exterior paint of your property is a crucial part of property management that protects your investment and ensures its continued value over time. Based on our firsthand experience, we can speak to the fact that regular maintenance can significantly extend the life of your paint and your property and prevent costly repairs down the line. Here is what we recommend to keep your building in its best condition with exterior paint maintenance. 

Regular Cleaning and inspection:

Dirt, grime, and pollutants can gather on your building’s exterior over time, not only distracting from its appearance but also potentially damaging the paint. Regular cleaning, at least once a year, can help preserve the paint’s integrity and appearance. This can be done by hand for smaller projects or with a low-pressure wash to remove dirt without damaging your paint. 

informational pro tip to use the lowest setting when using a pressure washer to clean your building

Equally important is the regular inspection of your building’s exterior. Look for signs of wear and tear, such as cracking, peeling, or fading paint. These can be early indicators of potential problems. Pay special attention to areas exposed to harsh weather conditions like direct sunlight, as these are more likely to show signs of deterioration. 

Touch-up Strategies:

When you notice minor issues during your inspections, such as small cracks or chips, it’s important to address them promptly. Touching up these areas can prevent water infiltration and further damage, extending the life of your paint job and the investment you made in it. Matching the original paint color, type, and sheen is crucial for a seamless repair, so always keep records of the paint used on your property. Your painting contractor should be able to provide these details for your records. 

Professional Maintenance and Repainting:

Even with diligent maintenance, exterior paint will eventually need to be repainted. The frequency of repainting depends on several factors, including the quality of the previous paint job, the type of paint used, and the local climate. Typically, a well-done exterior paint job can last in excess of 10 years. 

When it’s time to repaint, consult with a professional painting contractor. They will be able to assess the condition of your existing paint, prepare the surface properly, and apply the new paint in a way that maximizes its lifespan and curb appeal. 

Wrapping it up: The lasting benefits of quality exterior painting

The appearance of your commercial or multi-family property is significantly influenced by the quality of its exterior paint job. Each step is crucial in protecting your investment, from the initial selection of the right paint and contractor to the ongoing maintenance and eventual repainting. A well-chosen and maintained exterior not only creates a positive first impression but also serves as a protective barrier against environmental elements, extending the lifespan of the building itself. 

Regular cleaning, inspections, and touch-ups play a vital role in maintaining the building’s curb appeal and structural integrity. By promptly addressing minor issues, you will avoid more significant repairs. 

Ultimately, the effort and resources invested in selecting the right paint, hiring the right contractor, and maintaining the exterior of your property pay off by increasing its value, attracting and retaining tenants, and projecting a professional image. As a commercial building owner, your proactive approach to exterior maintenance is a testament to your commitment to excellence and the long-term success of your property. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your property remains a desirable and profitable asset for years to come. 

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