Few home-maintenance projects are as important as exterior painting because paint and caulking form the first line of defense against rain, snow, and ice. A nice paint job will improve the curb appeal and resale value of your home, too. You want to repair and repaint as soon as you notice paint starting to crack, blister, and peel. Ignoring these problems will lead to a much more extensive and expensive issue down the line. Below are our top exterior painting tips everyone should know before undertaking an exterior painting project, whether you’re planning to paint the house yourself or hire a pro.
As always, make sure you be careful when painting an exterior. A ladder will almost always be used on exterior jobs, and you want to make sure you take care when climbing on and painting from a ladder.
The higher quality paint and supplies you use in your exterior painting project, the higher quality the end result will be. That means longer lasting and more effective protection for your home. It might be tempting to save some extra money by going with cheaper paints, but in the long run it will end up costing you more if the coat doesn’t stand the test of time. Keep in mind as well that exteriors can be harder on brushes and rollers, so a cheaper product might not make it through the whole project.
Make sure that before painting the new coat, you scrape off any loose or chipping paint and sand the surface. After that, you want to apply a coat of primer before getting to the paint itself. Prepping the surface properly and using a primer will ensure the applied coat will adhere better and be a smooth, professional looking finish to your exterior. Don’t skip these steps thinking that the paint will cover up any blemishes on the surface or it’ll stick without the primer. Giving the surface a wash is also a great idea before painting.
When using a brush, load the brush by dipping about 2 in. of the bristles into the paint and then remove excess paint. Paint from a bucket with 2 or 3 in. of paint in the bottom rather than a full can of paint. Lay on the paint thickly with two or three back-and-forth strokes, not worrying about smoothing it yet. Then reload the brush and repeat until you’ve covered about 3 or 4 sq. ft. Smooth the paint without reloading the brush. Use long, sweeping brush strokes, working from the unpainted area toward the painted area. Lift the brush while it’s still moving at the end of each stroke. You’ll want to apply similar technique with a roller, but then work the paint in with a brush once it is applied thickly.
Avoid painting in direct sunlight as the heat dries the paint too fast, making it nearly impossible to avoid lap marks. It can even cause blistering and peeling. Avoid painting on very windy days. The wind causes the paint to dry too fast and can blow dirt into wet paint. Don’t apply latex paint when the temperature is below 50 degrees unless it’s formulated for cold weather application. Read the label to be sure. Don’t paint when there’s a chance of rain.
An important rule of thumb is to work from the top down with an exterior project. This will prevent any paint from running down into already painted area if you start at the bottom. You’ll also want to paint the largest areas first then work into the detailed areas. Also, if two colors meet, let one dry before starting the next color.
Maintaining a wet edge is one of the most important techniques in painting. Always try to brush or roll back into paint that’s still wet. The result will be a uniform, seamless-looking coat of paint. The larger the area you’re painting, the more difficult this task becomes. Use natural breaks like door and window casings or courses of siding to divide large areas into manageable chunks. Then complete each section without stopping. Paint three or four courses of siding from one end to the other, for example. Then move down to the next four courses and repeat the process.
These are just a handful of tips and tricks that are good to keep in mind when taking on an exterior painting job. For any other questions, reach out to us at Flying Colors Painting for answers to any questions you might have!