An Outline of the Exterior Painting Process
Painting the exterior of your home can be a big job, but it’s a job that has to be done. The benefits of painting your home though are well worth it; with an immediate boost of curb appeal and improved extended protection for your home from the elements. For a small price, you can easily make your home look like its brand new again.
A good paint job requires knowledge, careful preparation and attention to every little detail. Even a small home can require countless hours for proper preparation and immaculate execution. Even seemingly unimportant things like the weather have to be taken in to account.
You’ve got to be able to work confidently on and move around tall ladders, have the patience not to rush and a steady hand. Luckily for you and most other homeowners, you have the option to hire professionals to do all the work for you and give you one less thing to worry about.
DIY is not a bad thing in any case, but an exterior paint job is one that’s totally different from an exterior paint job. Here any mistakes can be seen by any passerby on the street and they can be more costly to make. Another thing to note is that doing an exterior paint job on your home by yourself is going to take a lot longer than it would a team of experienced professionals.
Whether you want to do it yourself, hire someone else to do it or just know how a good paint job is generally done, we’ve got you covered. This article will walk you through a quality paint job from beginning to end.
Your first step of preparation when it comes to an exterior painting job is obviously to choose your paint and gather your tools. If you hire professionals, you don’t need to worry about the tool part. But the initial step after this, and one of the most important, is to clean the exterior of the house. Giving it a good pressure washing will remove any loose paint chips, dirt, grease, mold or grime. A garden hose is not going to do the type of cleaning that you need.
With generous amounts of eco-friendly home cleaners (to make sure the exterior truly gets cleaned), pressure wash the area to be painted in small sections and soak them thoroughly, starting at the ground and working your way up. Let it sit a moment to soak in, but not long enough to dry, before you rinse it all off again, working this time from the top on down.
Expect to get wet and expect to give the house ample time to dry. The washing isn’t a blast, but it is a crucial step.
Pressure washing your home should remove a lot of the older flaky paint chips, but it’s not as easy as that and the next step is kind of monotonous. You’ll need a large curved scraper or blade and a smaller one for tighter, more detailed work. Here you scrape, scrape and scrape. Occasionally you’ll use a putty knife to grab paint your scrapers can’t get at or a hammer to push in or pull out loose nails.
The point of scraping is to remove all of the loose, un-bonded paint, so ignore paint that is still sticking; often the only way to remove that kind of paint is to damage the surface, which is not what you want to do. Go with the grain with pressure, and lightly scrape against the grain after.
Realistically you aren’t going to be able to remove all of the paint yourself. That’s fine, there’s nothing wrong with that. Professionals or renovators should be able to, or at least have the knowledge of how much to remove to provide the best available paint job.
This is the part where you stop worrying about the paint and try to make sure you have a smooth surface before you start trying to apply your primer or paint. The craters and cracks and what not in your exterior walls from the years of weathering, the lack of protection from the old paint, or the result of you getting frustrated as you scrap, will need to be filled in and blended back in to the rest of the wall. So get out your siding spackle and trowel.
You’ll need to make sure you have exterior grade filler so that it will dry to withstand the elements. With your various putty knives, you’ll want to fill everything and anything in but don’t use too much or it’s just more work for you having to sand it off later. Let it dry and then come back and sand it later. Make sure you’ve got all of the visible areas especially taken care of and then you should be good to go. This is also a good time to see to any other potential trouble spots.
While you’re at it, for consistency at least, now is a good time to go around the exterior of the house and caulk it up. With the good caulk, we’re not cheaping out, generously apply it to cracks and around windows, door frames, chimneys and corner boards or any places the original caulk has shrunk. You can even put it in foundational cracks. Make them smooth as possible and don’t fill in any natural gaps so that the house can still vent.
Next you can prime the house. Get the best primer available and have at it. Use a roller and a paint brush, but first test a small area and come back later to make sure it’s sticking; otherwise you might have to clean again. Another step that you might want to do before this, though you can also do it after, is to cover everything that you don’t want paint on, and tape your windows and doors. Go ahead and go drop cloth crazy.
Want to know another tricky part of exterior painting? Remove the downspouts. Label them so you know where they go. Move everything else as well – mailboxes, outdoor lights, bird feeders, hanging plants, etc. Move ground items too so you don’t have to step around them.
There may not seem like it but there is a lot that goes in to the painting part of painting your home; from brush types (endless) to buckets, ladders and technique. So we’ll hit the basics. Spray your paint or brush your paint, whatever works for you and paint shady sides first and avoid direct sun. When you paint go from left to right or vice versa, and then lower a level so you aren’t repainting over dry areas. How you paint deserves on your surface type so be sure you know what your siding entails and use quality paints with more than one coat.
Finally after the whole house is painted, paint your trim and your doors. Then you can put back everything you took down. You can carefully inspect and do any necessary touch ups and then there is just one thing left to do. Now you have to clean up any mess you’ve made and pick up and put away your materials. Wipe up any paint that’s where it shouldn’t be and that’s it.
Then you’re done! We’re done. Isn’t it all so tiring just even thinking about it? Maybe we’ll let the professionals handle this one instead. They’ll be able to do the maintenance for you to so you don’t have to do it again any time soon.