Painting Your Home’s Exterior: What You Need to Know

A great way to refresh your home’s look and improve its curb appeal is with a fresh paint job. With the right materials and a few hours of work, you can make a dramatic improvement to your home’s exterior, adding value and increasing your appreciation of – and enjoyment in – where you live.

Without careful planning, however, things can quickly go awry. Painting outside surfaces comes with a unique set of challenges that you should know to get the job done properly. After all, this isn’t a project that you can take a break from halfway through.

Follow these steps for a hassle-free experience that will leave you with great-looking results.

Check the Weather

This may seem obvious, but it’s something that can be easily overlooked. Always make sure that the forecast calls for dry, mild weather before starting your home painting project. Dealing with a rainstorm at any stage will severely derail your efforts, but high levels of humidity can also sabotage your plans.

Your surfaces need to be dry for the paint to adhere, followed by enough time for it to fully cure.

Pressure-Wash Your House

Once the weather is ready to cooperate, ready your pressure washer with a solution and spray your house down, top to bottom. It’s amazing how much grime can build on the outside of your home without even being noticeable. Clear off all surfaces and then rinse with a second pass-over.
If you don’t have a pressure washer, a garden hose will work. Scrubbing it by hand is an effective way to clean off any dirt, but it’s very time consuming. Using a steady blast of water will get the surfaces tidy enough for you to apply paint to.

Repair Any Damage

Now that the exterior of your house is dirt-free, examine it for any damage, including gouges, cracks or holes. Fill these with an epoxy filler and, once dry, sand them smooth with a fine-grit sandpaper.

Also, note any loose or chipping paint. Scrape these areas clear, since any new paint applied over these spots will just chip away. But don’t let yourself get carried away. It’s too easy to scrape away more paint than needed. All you’re looking for is to get a flat surface. Prime these and any other bare spots, then let them dry.

After everything has been patched and dried, seal all your edges with caulking. Do this along any point where different materials meet, such as at window sills, flashing or siding.

Protect Your Property

Plastic wrap and painter’s tape are an excellent way to protect those areas that you want to remain paint-free. Cover your doors, windows and exterior lights with plastic to cut down on the risk of accidents.

Use drop cloths or tarps around the perimeter of the house and especially on your deck and patio. While paint will eventually be mowed away from the lawn, an unsightly stain on your patio can be there for years.

It does take a little more prep time to set all of this up, but this step will save you from having to do an emergency clean mid-project.

Paint Around the Edges & Trim

Working around the corners and edges of your house takes more care than larger spaces, so tackle these spots first. Edging brushes allow you to get into tight spaces cleanly, reducing your risk of getting paint on the wrong surfaces.

Continue on to the window and door frames. Adding a fairly wide margin with a roller will help you when you move on to filling in the rest of the space.

Paint the Walls

Now that the more detailed spaces are taken care of, you can move on to the larger spaces. A spray gun is the quickest way to do this, but rollers work well, too. Just be sure to start from the top and work your way down, so that you can smooth out any drips or splatter that may occur.

Store Your Materials & Let the Paint Dry

Whether you have to apply a second coat of paint or not depends on a few factors, including the quality of the paint, the level of humidity in the air and the shade of colour you’re using. Let your first coat dry before assessing the need for more.

In the meantime, make sure to properly seal your paint cans and clean your brushes and rollers. If you think a second coat will be needed, you can wrap your brush and store them in a cool space, as long as you know they’ll be used soon.

If you do need to add another coat, follow these last two steps, starting along the edges of the home and then working your way in.

Paint the Trim

While you’re painting the outside walls of your house, consider freshening up your trim and frames, too. They’ve all just been cleaned and repaired, so all that’s needed is to choose the right paint product and some new brushes.

Many people find house painting to be an intimidating prospect. After all, you’re taking on something the size of a house! Don’t let that scare you away, though. If you follow these steps and take your time, you’ll end up with a new look to your home that you can be proud of.