10 Helpful Tips for Painting Your Home’s Exterior
With warm weather right around the corner for many, now is a good time to start preparing for annual home maintenance, repairs and updates. If exterior painting is on your to-do list this year, here are some helpful tips to ensure it’s done right.
1. Time of Year is Key
It’s important to plan ahead when dealing with exterior painting — know your local weather patterns. Choose a time of year when there is little rain and lower humidity since paint requires time to dry, and will not properly adhere to surfaces full of moisture.
2. Choose Quality
When you opt for higher quality paint, it means you’ll get better coverage and ultimately have to paint fewer times over the years. Since paint technology has advanced significantly in the last few years, colors are guaranteed to last longer than ever before. It can be tempting to skimp on quality paint to save money, but keep in mind that by doing so you increase the risk for trouble and will pay more in the long run.
3. Clean Surfaces
All siding and trim should be cleaned thoroughly, allowed to dry, and sanded before painting. Paint will not adhere well to rough or unclean surfaces. In addition, scrape or sand any peeling paint to ensure a solid surface for the paint.
4. Replace Rotten Spots
It’s pointless to paint rotten wood and siding because the paint won’t stop them from continuing to deteriorate. Instead, you can do one of two things: Replace the siding or wood trim with new; or if the affected area is small, use a wood hardener matched with an exterior filler, like wood filler. In both cases, make sure to prep and sand the area before applying paint.
5. Yes to Primer
Traditionally it has been standard practice to apply a quality coat of primer, sand it, and then apply the color coat of paint. While this is still a good system to follow, new paint technologies have created a primer/paint product that combines the two into one. Manufacturers claim this product cuts down on the number of coats you’ll have to apply. While the new primer/paint product is pricier, it may be comparable to purchasing separate primer and paint. Be sure to educate yourself before purchasing these newer paints — check reviews, and try to find feedback from individuals in your particular area.
6. Combine Multiple Cans of Paint
A method followed by the pros, this step is called boxing the paint. It is important to ensure the color applied to your home is uniform, which is especially critical if you didn’t purchase enough paint initially and had to pick up a couple extra gallons at a later time. All you do is mix multiple cans of the same paint color into a bigger container, like a five-gallon bucket, so that any minor variations in color are combined, making it uniform when applied.
7. Top to Bottom
It’s easier to work with gravity rather than against it, so make it a rule to start at the top and work your way down while painting. This method helps control streaks, and while drips are inevitable, allows you to correct any mishaps in the direction you’re working.
8. Seal Paint Containers
Always seal your paint containers with their lids after you’re done painting for the day. This prevents the paint from drying out. Consider adding plastic wrap over the opening before applying the lid to ensure a tight seal. Use a rubber mallet to lightly tap the lid shut.
9. Add Grit for Traction
Painted porches, steps, decks, or other painted exterior floors, can become too slippery when covered with a coat of paint on its own. To combat this, try adding a bit of fine sand to the paint for traction. Play sand is a good option for this purpose, or you can look into other additives produced by manufacturers to provide extra texture.
10. Protect the Landscape
Painting can be messy — indoors and outdoors. Be sure to cover the ground and any other vegetation beneath your paint area. Also, move or cover any grills, hoses, or outdoor furniture. Use drop cloths, but you’ll want to weigh them down on the corners or wrap them around the items so that they are secure.