How To Paint A House Exterior Total Guide
When it’s time to paint the exterior of your house, there is a lot involved in the process, and the greater the preparation, the bigger the payoff. Although the process may seem daunting, it doesn’t have to be complicated! We will show you how to paint a house in no time.
We will equip you to understand the process of painting, proper surface preparation, and more! Whether you are a beginner or an experienced exterior house painter, we walk you through the entire process, enabling you to do it right! The end goal is to give your home a paint job of the highest quality.
But we are merely scratching the surface of what all is involved! Let’s dive further into the process of house painting!
An Introduction On How To Paint A House
Painting the exterior of your home will require a few basic skills, and you certainly cannot be afraid of heights. Depending on your skill level, size of the house, amount of surface preparations, and how much help you have, a home can take a couple of days to several weeks to paint. It will take at least one month to restore a home or strip paint.
House painting will last anywhere from 4 to 10 years, depending on the surface, weather conditions, quality of paint, and how thorough paint preparations are.
If the paint is chipping, has faded, or is chalky, you know it’s time to repaint your home! The paint on your home may contain lead if it was built before 1978 and is oil-based. If more than 25% of the house requires scraping, a lead-certified paint contractor is needed.
Setting Up the Ladder
Two people will need to set up larger extension ladders if you have a tall home. We also recommend using ladder stabilizers by Werner. Werner stabilizers offer a quick-release feature allowing for easy removal and helping keep the ladder in place.
A second person also comes in handy to hold the ladder on slippery surfaces (also known as footing the ladder).
Lift the ladder upright to handle the ladder. Make sure to place your dominant hand lower to support the ladder’s weight while holding the highest ladder run above to stabilize the top weight of the ladder.
Once you have the ladder in place, use the string to raise the ladder, making sure the safety clips are securely engaged into the ladder run once you have found the appropriate ladder height.
Ladders should be placed at approximately a 75% angle. Refer to manufacturers’ specs for exact details.
How To Prepare Paintable Surfaces
First, you must understand that thorough surface preparation is critical to how to paint a house correctly. In our experience, roughly 90% of how uniform or durable a paint coating is, depends on how well surfaces are prepared.
So, if you are in a rush, be mindful to consider surface preparation before you even think about painting.
Initiating house painting preparations always involves light pressure washing. Inspect every surface with a keen eye and look out for mold, mildew, and moss growth – treating any mildew with chlorine bleach. Be sure to scrap and fully remove all moss growth.
Be sure not to apply too much pressure on the siding, and avoid heavy washing on windows and doors. The only places that you use high pressure are concrete or block surfaces.
Wait one day, allowing all surfaces to dry. Then, inspect the entire home for wood rot or soft, damaged areas. You can treat minor damages with a suitable wood hardener or epoxy filler and sand them. Although, we recommend total replacements for these problematic areas.
Peeling or blistering paint also qualifies as damages. They will need scraping, sanding, and priming to ensure ultimate paint adhesion. Removing loose paint should be done meticulously and with a quality primer.
Use a putty knife or paint scraper for extensive paint scraping. Be sure to protect the perimeter and wear a dust mask when there is a lot of scraping involved.
Caulking Gaps & Putting Nail Holes Before Painting
The second surface preparation phase is sealing all cracks, nail holes, and expansion joints. Proper sealing is also a vital step of the process. Here is a list of exterior caulks for specific applications.
If it’s your first time caulking or sealing a home, we recommend that you locate and mark the areas with masking tape, then come back to address those areas. This process will help prevent you from missing areas.
Cracks found within home exterior trim are most common around door and window frames, fascia boards, corner boards, handrails, and other moldings.
Allow one full day once you’ve sealed and repaired your home, giving time for the sealants to cure before moving on to the next step.
Tip: We use lifetime guaranteed caulking, which expands and contracts at 70% the size of the crack.
Sanding Doors & Trim
Sanding exterior trim may sound old-school and unnecessary to some. But doors and any exterior home trim containing lumps or foreign materials will undeniably need sanding.
Sanding glossy finishes will increase the paint’s ability to bond. We recommend using an orbital sander ranging from 60 to 120 grit paper when heavy sanding is involved.
Priming Before Painting A House
Don’t cut corners when choosing your primer. A high-quality primer will help extend the overall life of your siding & trim, drastically increasing the paint’s ability to stick to the surface. Primers with strong binders and a high resin count will also seal the surface, limit moisture transfer, block stains, and hold the topcoat in place.
Chalking, (also known as paint oxidation,) happens when the elements wear down the binders of old paint, turning them chalky. For this, you’ll want a chalk sealing primer, also known as a paint conditioner.
If you are painting raw wood or unprimed surfaces, invest in a high-quality 100% acrylic latex bonding primer. Acrylic primers can be used for both siding and trim.
For brick, stone, or stucco, you’ll want to use a masonry primer for best results. Always check the label for manufacturers’ recommendations on waiting before painting over the primer.
You can either spot prime only the areas needed, or prime all surfaces, depending on the condition of the home.
Tip: All primed areas should be spot primed with paint so that these areas get multiple topcoats.
Tip 2: Tinting the primer will help reduce the number of coats needed for coverage.
Buying Premium Exterior House Paint
Quality exterior paint is essential to long-lasting results. But what determines paint quality. We have covered how paint is made in a previous article, but the most significant components are listed below.
- Solvents (water or alkyds)
- Binders (resin or materials left behind)
- Pigments (color)
Pigments and binders account for paints’ total volume of solids. Pigments give the paint color, while resins bind pigments and bond to the surface. Solvents blend the resins and pigments and evaporate once applied.
Premium exterior paint contains high volumes of acrylic solids mixed with limited vinyl polymers. When choosing a high-quality 100% acrylic paint, choose one with more volume solids.
Be mindful a paint label can be deceiving and is primarily marketing. The E.P.A. loosely sets paint standards for verbiage such as “Premium.” So, you will want to view product data sheets to compare solids by volume and weight.
To determine how much exterior wall paint is needed, multiply the height by the length of the home and total the square footage for each wall. Each door and window will reduce the square footage by 15 to 25 square feet.
A gallon of exterior paint will roughly cover 250 to 400 square ft. We recommend buying trim paint incrementally since it may be hard to determine how much trim is needed.
Painting A House With Lasting Colors & Curb Appeal
Choosing your color scheme is a commitment. Check with your H.O.A. and compare colors to close neighbors. Considering how the color will fit within the neighborhood before falling in love with a specific color combination.
It would also be best not to choose colors prone to U.V. damage. Red, yellow, and light gray exterior colors are more likely to fade.
You can increase your inspiration by taking pictures of homes that you admire. Hold swatches of varied shades up to your home at different times of the day. They’ll look different in the shade than in the sun.
Before finalizing your colors, consider how your paint colors compliment your roof, brick, and other naturally static features.
House Painting Spraying & Back-brushing or Rolling
There are several techniques to apply paint to siding and exterior walls but working from the top is standard practice. The easiest and most durable method involves a combination of spraying and back-rolling or back-brushing.
The process of spraying involves two people for larger homes. One person will spray while the other person serves to move the ladders. For back-rolling, there is a third person involved.
The person back-rolling rolls a wet paint film directly after the paint is sprayed. When you combine spraying with rolling, you get the speed of a sprayer applying the paint and the uniform spreading of paint from a roller.
If you are painting with the same color and finish, and the home is in relatively good condition, one coat of premium paint will suffice. Otherwise, two coats of paint give new colors better coverage and long-lasting surface protection.
How To Paint House Trim, Doors, & Windows
Some house painters first start with trim such as soffits, fascia, porch ceilings, and columns. This technique allows the trim to be sprayed, eliminating brush strokes.
Some trim can also be painted using a brush or hotdog roller. Quality brushwork is needed while painting doors, windows, and other more detailed exterior trim.
A painter should have a steady hand, keeping all brush strokes even and straight. Never paint against grain or textures.
You can always tell if professionals have painted by looking at the paint patterns of a front door. You can also add Floetrol to the paint to help the paint level reducing heavy brush strokes.
When to Get Started
Don’t let the weather hinder you from painting! Most exterior house paints allow applications as low as 35 degrees. Pollen is not a deal-breaker either. Prepare early when weather conditions are extreme, so when the day arrives, you’re ready to get busy!
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