Painting the exterior of your home can breathe new life and completely change the curb appeal of your house. While it can seem like a daunting task to paint your own home, there are some tried and true steps that the professionals follow that leads them to a higher level result. If you can learn from the pros and follow this advice, you will be well on your way top upgrading your house and falling in love with it all over again. You will be able to stand proud and tell your neighbors that the work was done all on your own, which is certainly an accomplishment.
- Think About the Weather
Painting, especially on a home’s exterior, can absolutely be hindered by the weather and so it’s vital that you take this into consideration when starting a new painting project. You want to avoid the rainy season in your location, if you are able to. The best time to paint your house is going to be when your area gets the least rainfall and has the lowest average humidity. Paint needs to adhere to the surfaces you’re applying it to and they need be dry for that to happen effectively. That being said, very rarely will you be blessed with the perfect conditions for painting. In many areas of the country, there may not be the option of perfect dry air. For people who live in conditions like South where it’s always a little moist, the best course of action is to try and aim for relative humidity under 85%. Also, if you start the paint job very early so that the afternoon sun is heating up the paint, this will help it dry and cure more effectively even in higher relative humidity.
- Wash Surfaces Thoroughly
Before you can even start to apply your paint, you need to make the surface you are applying it to is totally clean and free of any debris. This will ensure your finished product will look smooth and clean later. The best way to achieve this on your home’s exterior will be to pressure wash the outside of your house very thoroughly, making sure you get all the old paint and mildew of the surface. While cleaning, make sure to cover any landscaping and plants you have close to the walls to protect them from cleaning solution and being over-watered. You can also put a drop cloth down around the exterior walls being washed, especially if there is a lot of old flaking paint that is going to be coming down.
- Scrape It Out
Scraping old worn down paint can be the most grueling of the tasks involved with an exterior paint job, but is also one of the most crucial. Getting all that old paint is going to go a long way at making the new layer look all the fresher. There are a few basic methods for scraping paint, which will all depend on your specific material or home. You can either remove the paint chemically, use heat to soften the old paint, or good old fashioned grinding. Make sure to take a look at your house and try to do some research into which of these methods will work best for your specific situation.
- Sand It Down
Sanding is key to making sure the surface you are painting is smooth and clear, but it also helps the paint adhere better. Depending on the surface in question, you may need to sand by hand with a coarser sandpaper (lower numbered sand paper is coarser). For large sections of uniform surfaces, a small orbital sander will go a long way to making quick work of the job. But, for more scrutinized areas, you will want to sand by hand with a medium grit sandpaper ranging from 100 to 120 grit. Make sure when sanding to wear proper protection over your mouth so that you aren’t inhaling the dust.
- Make Room for Repairs
Depending on how old the home you’re painting, there could be a varying level of cracks, dents, rot, and other issues that will need to be repaired before you can paint. Being diligent and repairing all this is going to be crucial to having a top quality finished product and transforming the house into the desired result. For most minor cracks and dents, you should be able to use a standard paint filler that will be able to be sanded down and painted over. For larger repairs, you may need to use something more involved like a multi-step epoxy. Make sure to consult a professional or possibly someone at your local home repair outlet to understand what is right for your project. For even larger repairs, like wood siding or trim, you may need to hire a carpenter, as woodworking can be a project many homeowners want to leave to professionals.
- Use Quality Primer and Paint
Many homeowners make the mistake of buying cheap materials to try and keep the cost of the project down, but this is a crucial misstep and can lead to painting your house more often over the life of your home. There are 2 main types of paint to choose from, latex or oil-based, and both have their pros and cons, so you should do a proper amount of research to see which type is best suited for needs. Also, you can research online about the specific paint brands associated with the type and reviews of their quality. Knowing the quality level of the paint before you buy it can go a long way to having a paint job that will last many years.
- Caulk All Joints
Going over each joint and using a quality silicone caulk will help protect the joints for the life of the paint job and home. Having these joints fail will be a huge headache and something you will certainly regret later. Caulk is usually rated in years specifically, and while they may not necessarily last as long as they are rated, the longer the better.
- Make Sure Everything is Covered
This tip does not apply to paint only, you will also want to cover all your exterior fixtures and doors so that they are protected against being painted. Go around and make absolutely sure that anything you want to keep unpainted is properly covered. Then, you are free to cover the areas you want in paint and not deal with the headache of removing any later.
While there are certainly many more tips for a perfect paint job, these will go a long way to freshening up your house and giving it that wow factor. While it can be intimidating at first, once you learn to consult the pros for advice, painting can be a very rewarding project. But, if your project is too big for you to handle, don’t hesitate to call in a pro and know that it will be done to highest quality.
About the Author
Michael Jaconetta is a Licensed Painting Contractor, a General Contractor, and the owner of American Painting & Property Service, a family-owned Florida painting company, dedicated to helping people make their home beautiful. He has over 15 years of experience painting homes and businesses and is passionate about home improvement and house painting.