Painting the outside of your home is a significant undertaking. The most common problem is deciding on the right colors, but there are other important issues to consider.
Should you try your hand at painting with a brush? Is priming truly important, and what should you know about good preparation? Learning the tricks and tips can help you complete a successful exterior painting project.
Painting unprepared surfaces will only lead to disappointment, whereas quality pre-paint work pays enormous dividends. So now that you are aware that preparation is king when it comes to painting, here are the top tips to make your exterior paint prep projects go quicker, look way better, and cost less.
Prioritize Quality Over Price
Better paint means you will have to paint less frequently over time, and you will get better coverage when you do. Paint technology has advanced dramatically in recent years, with colors guaranteed to last longer than ever before. You may want to save money upfront by purchasing a lower-priced brand, but you will undoubtedly encounter problems and end up paying more in the long run.
Determine Your Palette
Consider the materials on your house, such as the roofing, whether brick, stone, or stucco. Cooler hues complement stone materials, while earthy tones complement wood finishes. Consider emphasizing architectural details. You can paint a house with vertical and horizontal sidings in two different color schemes. Use bright colors for doors, trim, and window mullions for a more neutral look.
How can you forget the siding while painting your exterior! In reality, most people must recoat their siding every 7 to 10 years. When painted, fiber cement siding, aluminum siding, and vinyl siding present specific challenges.
When it comes to painting, fiber cement type of siding comes in two varieties: pre-painted and primed. However, people tend to choose primed siding to select an exact color. But expect to have to repaint it every few years. You should follow these steps to paint fiber cement siding.
Aluminum siding is prone to excessive chalking and may have dents and imperfections. To eliminate chalk, pressure wash or scrub by hand, then rinse. Satin or low luster paint is the wisest option for aluminum siding since it conceals dents and minimizes the appearance of imperfections. You can achieve the best look with the correct spray application.
Vinyl siding has almost the same issues as aluminum siding, but with one additional limitation: it tends to buckle or warp when exposed to hot, direct sunlight. Darker colors absorb more heat, so choose a paint color that is no darker than the original color of the vinyl.
Apply Multiple Coats of Paint
If you are painting over bare wood or metal, start with a high-quality alkyd primer for your base coat, which will be stipulated on the paint label and help keep the paint from bleeding. Some painters tint the primer toward the final paint color to reduce the need for two finish coats of paint. Others prefer to tint the primer with a contrasting color, which draws attention to any areas the final coats did not completely cover.
Use the Proper Tools
Use a high-quality brush, roller, and, in some cases, an airless sprayer, which you can rent from most home improvement stores or tool rental stores. To ensure adhesion, spray primer and paint onto textured surfaces with an airless sprayer and then back-roll it by hand with a roller.
If you have never used an airless sprayer before, pay close attention to the equipment’s instructions and gain some practice by painting a less visible side of the house first. With a five-gallon paint bucket, use a paint strainer to prevent paint from clogging the sprayer.
Set Up Ladders and Scaffolding
Exterior paint prep projects typically involve multi-story buildings, so you will need a ladder or a scaffold to extend your reach safely. Setting up a ladder or scaffolding is more difficult outside than inside because you must consider the ground’s stability. While you can confidently put your weight on a ladder that is stable on a concrete driveway, it may sink into soft dirt. Worse, the ladder may not move at all until you are ten feet in the air.
Clean the Exterior of Your Home
Before you begin painting, you must wash the dirt and grime off the exterior of your home. Once the outside of your home is free of paint-repelling soil, the primer and paint will conform better, extending the life of the paint.
A simple wash with a hose, a pump sprayer, and a scrub brush will suffice most of the time, but if you would want a professional to assist you, a power washer in the hands of a professional can deliver a superior clean.
Scraping and Sanding
Surface prep accounts for the majority of exterior paint prep work. Sanding and scraping are the most difficult parts of the preparation. If you are working on an unpainted surface, you can quickly prep and proceed. However, you need to scrape flaking paint and keep edges sanded flush on previously painted surfaces. This is a time-consuming and exhausting process, but it is critical to the project’s overall success.
Painting over chipping paint will only result in additional flaking paint, and avoiding the sanding process will result in large, unsightly “divots” on your walls. Power sanders may assist speed up the process, but they must be handled with caution and sufficient ventilation and dust control.
Wait for Good Weather
Do not paint on hot days, in the rain, or when it is windy. Temperatures between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal. Hot weather, as well as direct sunlight, causes the paint to dry too quickly. Wait for shade whenever possible. Temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit may prevent the paint from adhering correctly to the surface. Surfaces can bubble due to dampness or dew.
Cover Everything Else
Use drop cloths or plastic sheeting to protect decks, shrubs, gardens, patios, and walkways from paint spills and splatters. This prevents major cleanup issues later on. Masking and covering are essential when using an airless paint sprayer; overspray can even coat your neighbors’ cars.
Get Bids and References Before Hiring a Professional
Request detailed bids from at least three painting contractors and the names and phone numbers of previous customers. Call two or three of those customers or visit them to inspect the work. Google’s Network List can help you find local professionals and read reviews from previous customers.
Perform Annual Maintenance
Experts agree that washing the house—or power washing with caution—and extracting dust and cobwebs at least once a year will liven up the look and prolong the life of the finish between repaints.
A fresh coat of paint can completely transform the appearance of your home in less time and for less money than any other remodeling project. Your investment is also protected by that light coating of resin and color, which shields it from the sunlight, wind, or rain—at least until the paint starts to crack and peel. Then it is time to layer up with some new coats.