Beginning with the prep work and ending with last coat of paint or the finishing, an exterior paint job will last anywhere from one to two weeks. After completion, homeowners using low-quality paint will need to repaint every four or five years to keep it well maintained; homeowners using high-quality paint can go longer without a new coat -- usually about seven or eight years, depending on the type of paint and material.
O'Neil patches shallow holes and divots with Ready Patch because it dries fast, sands smooth, and stays flexible. Deep cracks and rotten spots are best repaired with two-step epoxies, such as those made by Advanced Repair Technology. (For a step-by-step instructions, see Repairing Rot with Epoxy.) The days of using polyester auto-body fillers on wood are over. "They cure too hard," says Portland, Oregon–based painting contractor Kathleen George. "They look good at first, but then they peel away."