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Exterior House Painting Tips

Painting the exterior of your house can cost thousands when you hire a pro to do it. But if you do it yourself, it can cost you only a fraction of that price. You can do it within a few weekends and you only need to buy paint and supplies. A good paint job can last for 10 years, and the key to it is proper preparation and execution.

In this article, learn some tips and tricks on how to paint your exterior properly, as well as the steps on how to do it.

1. Consider the weather

If you want to paint your exterior, plan ahead. Timing is key, so understand your local weather patterns. Choose the time of the year when humidity is low and it’s not too hot nor too windy or cool. Make sure that during that time, your exterior walls would be dry.

Painting in direct sunlight can cause the heat to dry the paint too fast. This will cause lap marks, and even blistering and peeling. Painting during windy days can also dry the paint too fast, and blow dirt into the wet paint. Avoid painting in these conditions. And don’t ever paint when there’s a chance of rain.

2. Use the right type of tools and exterior paint

Use paint that is specifically formulated for exterior walls, as it is designed to withstand weather changes and the elements. Exterior paints also resist mold and mildew better than the usual or interior paints.

When picking up painting tools, make sure you use the right tools for the job. Choose paint brushes and rollers that are also designed for exterior walls, since these tools generally have longer bristles or pile to hold more paint and be able to apply to textured and uneven surfaces.

3. Pick quality over price

In both paint and painting tools, choose the best you can afford. Investing in high-quality materials pays off in a faster and better quality paint job. Choosing a better quality of paint will help you get better coverage, and it will last longer than others, helping you save more money in the long run. New paint formulations have improved, as colors are guaranteed to last longer than ever. For exteriors, it’s best to buy paint with a slight sheen, either eggshell or satin. These paints are more fade-resistant and easier to clean than flat or matte paint.

When picking tools, getting the best will make your paint job professional-looking, considering proper use. It’s best to buy at least two top-quality synthetic bristle brushes for applying paint – one for large areas and one for detail work. If you need a roller brush, buy a roller set-up consisting of a heavy-duty roller cage, nap roller covers (one for each color) and a roller screen.

4. Do the maths

Determine the amount of paint you need in advance to help you budget accordingly. This will also prevent instances like running out of paint then going to the store only to find out they ran out of stock of the color you’re using, or wasting money on excess paint you’re not going to use. There are paint calculators available on websites of paint brands to help you. You can also ask help from employees from the paint store. All you need is to have an estimated measurement of your house, note the type of surface it has, and count the doors and windows.

5. Make sure you paint a clean surface

Paint won’t stick to dirty and rough surfaces, so before you actually do the painting, you have to do a deep cleaning of your outdoor walls and surfaces first. You need to wash your exterior and let it dry before painting.

6. Use a primer

To achieve the best results when it comes to painting your exteriors, apply a good coat of primer, sand, and then apply your color coats. This will help your desired color and effect pop up much better. There are now paint formulations that have combined primer and paint in one. Generally, these are more expensive, but the price may be comparable to separate primer and paint. This can also help lessen your painting time. But before you try it, read a lot of reviews about it, and ask if there are folks in your area who have used that kind of paint.

7. Combine your paint

Before actually painting, it’s better if you mix multiple cans of the same color of paint into a larger container to help you get a uniform color and ensure the paint is mixed well. This is called boxing the paint, and it’s what pros do.

8. Paint from top to bottom

Believe us, there’s a difference. You’d be ensured of a better painting job if you start at the bottom. Working your way from top to down can help you control streaks, because you are working with the direction of gravity, rather than against it. If there are drips, at least it will drip on the area not yet covered, while also allowing you to fix mishaps in the direction you are working.

When painting, work your way from top to bottom in a smooth and controlled way, and overlap each stroke by 8 inches.

9. Use a good ladder

Your safety when doing your painting job largely depends on the ladder you choose. So, make sure you invest in a sturdy, high-quality ladder.

10. Avoid over-reaching

Be patient and try to move the ladder as much as possible so you can paint properly and consistently in up and down motion. If you try to overreach to paint a larger scope of the area instead of moving the ladder so you can reach it more comfortable, you’d risk injury from falling down. It also makes a poor finished product as streaks would be obvious.

Here are the steps to preparing and painting your exterior:

1. Prepare the landscape and protect nearby objects

Painting is a messy job, so be sure to cover the ground, the bushes, plants and any other vegetation below the area next to your wall. Move out any outdoor furniture or items like hoses and grills that might get dripped upon. Use drop cloths to protect items, as well as the flooring of your patio or deck before painting. Cover doors, windows and lighting fixtures with plastic sheeting.

2. Wash the exterior surfaces

Paint won’t adhere well to dirty and grimy walls, so be sure to wash it before painting. (Do this after keeping away outdoor furniture but before laying down drop cloths.) Cleaning will also prevent mildew problems in the future. The best way to do this is by pressure washing the walls since you’ll be dealing with a big area. Using a cleaning solution and some sponges will take forever unless you’ve got a handful of help from other people. A pressure washer can also ensure the best coverage and removal of dust and dirt buildup.

3. Scrape off loose paint

Once the walls and boards are dry, remove loose or chipped paint. You can use a handheld scraper or a medium-grit sanding block for the job. Before doing this, wear a mask to prevent lead inhalation. Spray water on the paint as you scrape and collect the flakes of paint.

4. Repair damaged surfaces

After washing and scraping, check if your house has damaged surfaces, like those with holes, dings, and chips. Whether it’s masonry, metal, cement, siding, wood or stucco, it needs to be filled in and repaired to ensure smooth paint application. Apply epoxy fillers or a patching putty using a spackle knife. Choose a filler that suits your material best. Once it’s dry, sand it lightly using a grit-sanding block.

5. Caulk trim and joints

Fill in any gaps between the walls and trim around windows and doors using caulk. This can ensure a smoother, more pleasing final output, but it’s more than aesthetics. Tightening trim and joints can prevent water penetration when it rains, and also block air leaks. Add caulk where the different materials meet.

6. Apply primer

Once your exterior surfaces are cleaned and repaired, it’s time for applying the primer. White, gray or tinted primers give an even base for your top coat and makes the color look uniform all throughout.  If you’re painting over existing latex paint or bare wood, choose a latex primer. But if you’re painting over oil-based paint, use an oil-based primer.

7. Apply your top coat

When it comes to applying top coats in exteriors, less is more. Applying more layers can result to paint flaking off over the years. If you’re painting over a white house, you’d get by with only one layer of top coat. But if you’re going from light to dark, or dark to light, then you need two coats.

Remember to use a paint material that suits your primer – if you’ve got an oil-based primer, then go for oil-based paint. But if you’re painting over bare walls, it’s better to choose latex. Latex dries quickly, applies easily, and cleans up with soap and water.

Don’t forget to paint your trim and doors as well.

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