Tips on Painting the Exterior of a House
Plan ahead before you paint your home's exterior
By Shelly McRae
Even though you only have to paint the exterior of your home once every few years, you must take the time to prepare for the project properly. Painting your home's exterior is a big undertaking, and having the right tools and equipment can go a long way. After all, if you're only going to paint your home once in a while, you want to make sure that the paint job is done well and has a pleasing appearance. Learn more about how to prepare and plan for your exterior painting project before you begin.
- What You Need to Know
- Purchase enough primer for one coat and buy enough exterior paint for a minimum of two coats.
- Aluminum and vinyl siding present special challenges when painted.
- Moisture causes paint to blister, ultimately leading to mildew. Paint additives prevent mildew growth but won't kill existing mildew.
- Paint on homes built before 1978 may contain lead, which is hazardous to your health.
Weather is an important consideration when it comes to painting your home's exterior. Rain or high wind can put a stop to your plans or undo your hard work in a few moments. All paint needs time to dry, so don't plan on painting if you're in for wet, cold or windy conditions. If you can paint when temperatures are above 50 degrees and below 85 degrees. Heavy rain or high humidity on a newly painted uncured surface can cause blistering.
Preparing the exterior properly is key to good results. Use a wire brush and a scrub brush to scrape all loose paint from exterior walls and trim. Remove any rotted or damaged soffits or facias and replace them.
Pressure wash all the exterior walls and trim. Pressure washers are available for purchase or rent at home improvement stores. Make sure the pressure isn't too high or else you could damage your siding or break windows. If mildew is a concern, mix one quart household bleach with three quarts water and wash your exterior walls with it. Make sure to rinse the surface after your done.
Caulk around the windows and doors as needed. Make any further repairs needed to the trim, and scrape away any paint that may have been loosened by the power washing.
Tie large bushes or shrubs away from the house with heavy string, so you can paint behind them without them rubbing against the wet paint. Cover them with tarp.
Tape newspaper or lightweight plastic over all the windows and around the doorways. Also tape over electrical boxes and outlets, water faucets and air conditioners, and the doorbell if it's mounted on a surface that you intend to paint.
Apply a coat of quality primer to the all the surfaces you intend to paint. Primer reduces the amount of paint needed to cover the surface and prevents the previous color from bleeding through.
Do not use several different single gallons of paint. Even slight variations in shade can show up when all the paint is dry, so put all the paint into one five-gallon or larger bucket and mix thoroughly before applying.
Now you're ready to paint. Use a power paint sprayer to apply the primer and the paint to the large areas. This will reduce the time the project takes and provides smooth, even coating as well. Use a roller with an extending handle if you're not using a power paint sprayer. This reduces the amount of time you have to spend on a ladder.
Use quality brushes for cutting in on the walls, painting the trim and around the doors and windows. Low-quality brushes leave bristles behind in the paint. Check for missed spots or uneven coating as the paint begins to dry. Touch up different areas as needed.
About the Author
Shelly McRae is a regular contributor to DexKnows. She has experience with hydroponic gardening and other areas of the home improvement industry.
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