Fading House Paint Reasons & Explanations
Paint fade refers to color/ pigment degradation that can occur over a long or short period of time. When chromosphere paint molecules break down, the ability to see the paint pigmentation is lost. Paint oxidation can also appear as color degradation.
Paint fade is most often associated with surfaces outdoors, as areas inside are typically not exposed to harsh conditions or direct sunlight. All exterior paint colors, with the omission of white, will eventually fade over time – but naturally, some colors fade quicker than others.
If you want the paint outside your home to last as long as possible, know that exterior house paint type and color selections will heavily influence that outcome.
How Long Does It Take Paint to Fade?
Quality exterior house paint offers improved durability and resists paint fade. But most overlook the significance of how color will affect paint durability, as most exterior painted surfaces experience substantial paint fade within 1-7 years.
Inspiration and trends can blind the overall reason for painting a home’s exterior, which is to protect it. With the rising cost of paint materials and labor, developing a general expectation of how long surfaces will last is essential.
Paint fade is often a slow process that goes unnoticed unless a picture, hanging, or shutter is moved or when areas not exposed to direct sunlight are unveiled.
Outdoor living areas such as sun and all-season rooms are also subjected to paint fade – therefore, the colors for these areas should be carefully considered.
Why is your exterior paint failing so quickly?
- Low-Quality Paint
- Vulnerable Color
- Intense UV/ Lack of Shade
- Less Durable Paint Finish
- Insufficient Paint Coverage
How to Restore Paint Fade
Restoring paint fade is easy but will require repainting the entire area. Attempting to touch up faded paint will result in an unprofessional finish, as the new paint will not match in color or sheen.
There are car paint restore kits that bring older car paint finishes to life, but homes are painted with water-based acrylic paints that require complete repainting to restore heavy paint fade.
Here is the process to restore your existing paint finish.
- Pressure Washing
- Sanding the surface when needed.
- Priming the surface, if required.
- Sealing cracks with caulking.
- Filing nail holes with painter’s putty or wood fillers.
- Apply the paint.
Exterior Paint Colors that Resist Fade
Flat paint sheens oxidize faster than satin and glossy finishes—lighter paint colors also last longer than vivid and deep colors.
Subtle paint colors, such as light creams and earth tones, last the longest and resist fading. Light gray colors will often last longer than medium and dark gray, but white and cream colors remain the most resistant to paint color fade.
Manufacturers like Benjamin Moore contain “Color Lock Technology,” which offers a marginal increase in color retention. Although, in our experience, we have not been able to quantify a noticeable difference.
Quality paint is vital for long-term durability, but some colors are naturally more prone to fade due to UV exposure. So, it’s important to lower expectations with paint colors inherently susceptible to fade, even with higher-end exterior paint offerings.
Exterior House Paint that Resists Fade
Outside of color, cheap exterior paints will wear and break down faster. Often, lower-quality paint will fade more quickly, even when choosing “safer colors.”
Due to its oil and acrylic formula, Benjamin Moore More Glow is an outstanding choice when color retention is most important. But this product can only be used in particular situations and under specific weather conditions.
Exterior Paint Colors to Avoid
Reds, pinks, orange colors, all yellows, vivid, & energetic colors should be avoided when painting outdoors. Even colors such as medium grays are problematic color choices that will fade on west-facing sides of homes and under harsh conditions.
Higher-end paint brands like Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams provide pre-packed red and yellow paint bases that come pre-tinted. Colors available in these bases will provide better paint coverage, requiring fewer coats of paint, but should also be avoided outdoors.
Even with increased TO2, some paint colors will not hold up outside. Major paint brands also have data and research that predetermines the potential of problematic colors.
Colors labeled “interior use only” should never be applied outdoors and are not warrantied by contractors or manufacturers. We also recommend against painting colors marked as a multi-purpose or limited edition – they are great for inspiration but often fade and are hard to touch up.
Paint Colors that Fade the Fastest
Exterior paint fade will occur within 1-3 years when painting yellow, red, and vivid colors. If you are inspired by the colors today and are willing to risk premature paint fade, know that they will not be the same in a year or so, and you will likely have to repaint frequently.
All colors with little black pigment or translucent/ deep bases will fade the fastest. Heavily shaded homes will help slow the fading process by blocking UV and direct sunlight, making potentially problematic colors more permissible.
Exterior Paint Trends that Fade the Quickest
Dark paint colors on siding or trim are the trends in exterior house painting. Dark colors often suffer from low paint adhesion, draw heat, and fade quickly. So, if you are considering painting exterior doors or windows black, use quality paint and prepare to paint your home more frequently.
Dark colors also hide mold and mildew growth, so establish an annual cleaning regime despite the lack of visual cues.