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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What is a reasonable exterior painting warranty? Does it Cover the Cost of Applying the Paint?

What is a reasonable exterior painting warranty? Does it Cover the Cost of Applying the Paint?

There are a lot of paints starting to emerge that say things like "35 year warranty" or "Life Time Warranty" on the can. It sounds like a great deal but like most warranties before assuming that the paint will actually last 35 years you should read the entire warranty on the can.

If you do you will find that the "Life Time Warranty" is actually no warranty at all. The exclusions on ALL of the paints that I have used that claim to have a "Life Time Warranty" include the following:
Does not warrant against fading.
Does not warrant against paint on horizontal surfaces.
Does not warrant against damage as a result of water.
Does not warrant against damage as a result of vapor barrier issues, improperly installed windows, improperly installed siding, unclean surfaces, surfaces that were too hot or cold.
Warranty includes ONLY THE PAINT for the areas in question that are failing.
Warranty does not include the cost of application or labor.

So you can see that if your paint does fail, the likelihood of the paint manufacturer actually paying to have it fixed is almost none. Even if they do "take care of the problem" they will only do so by providing one gallon of paint. The homeowner is still responsible for the labor to apply it and all the other paint they will need to purchase because it won't match (being that the paint manufacturer will only warranty areas that are failing and the assumption is that not all of the paint on the entire house is coming off).

So the homeowner is left with choosing a good painting company that will warranty their work.
What is a Reasonable Exterior Paint Warranty THAT ALSO INCLUDES THE LABOR IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG?
Depends on the surfaces but as a general guideline,
The PDCA recommends 1 year on all surfaces.
It is reasonable to offer more than one year on the appropriate surface but the reason that the PDCA recommends only 1 year is because surfaces like wood, steel or areas that are exposed to excessive moisture are areas that will need maintenance.
Something like James Hardie Siding will last longer and if you are lucky your metal gutter paint job might last 10 years (even though they are warranted for 1 year). I painted my gutters and down spouts 7 years ago and they are still in excellent shape. I used one prime coat and 1 top coat. Even though they've had snow pile on them, they have not peeled. However, it would be a bad idea to assume that would be the case for all metal surfaces and go around telling customers that their paint jobs "will last a life time."
Everything in Minnesota needs maintenance if it is outside. Be wary of painters that say they are offering a lifetime warranty. Make sure you read the entire warrany on any can of paint. Not just the part that says "Life Time Warranty."