Exterior Painting Tips and Techniques
Painting Your Home’s Exterior: Do You Know the Difference Between a DIY Job and One for the Pros?
If the exterior of your house or condo needs painting, you may be thinking of tackling the job yourself. Not every exterior paint job is created equal, however. Here are some tips to help you complete the job and to know when it’s best to call professional exterior house painters.
Size and Height of Your Home
The size and stature of your home is a major factor in deciding whether or not you can handle the job yourself. If your house is three stories high, for example, you won’t likely have the equipment to paint it. You’ll need more than an extension ladder; in fact, even professional painters who don’t have scaffolding can’t take work painting the tallest homes.
To decide how much time your exterior painting job will take, try finding an out-of-the-way corner of the home and doing a test swatch, complete with preparation. Now, use that time to gauge how long it would take to finish the entire job.
Level of Painting Skill Needed
Have you ever painted a house before? Interior painting is a good place to start. You’ll learn how to maintain a wet edge and how to cut in, which is the art of painting two adjacent areas in different colors with nothing dividing them.
To gain more experience before taking on the exterior of your house, try painting other outdoor structures like a small garage, garden shed, children’s playhouse, or doghouse. You can experiment with how thick to lay on the paint and see how quickly it dries.
Of course, not all house painting jobs require the same level of skill. A residence that is all one color with little to no trim will be much easier and faster to paint than a gingerbread Victorian with four paint colors and multiple embellishments.
Do you intend to stay in the home, or are you putting it on the market? If you’re planning to sell your home, expect buyers to scrutinize your paintwork much more closely than your neighbors. In general, it’s better to hire exterior house painters if you’re listing your house soon.
Current Condition of the Surface
The condition of the surface you plan to paint can make or break the job for you. Indicators that tell you to call in a pro include:
- Peeling surface that requires excessive scraping
- Damage to the underlying surface that must be fixed first
- Heavy amounts of mold or mildew present
- Underlying lead paint (homes built before 1979)
- Difficult surface to paint, such as stucco
Plan to wash the surface thoroughly before you paint. Washing your house may entail renting or purchasing a power washer, if your garden hose isn’t sufficient, or hiring a professional power washer.
You should also plan on priming the surface with a special primer coat to help the exterior paint adhere and wear better. Both of these steps not only involve extra labor but drying time as well.
Potential Hazards and Extra Work
Exterior paint jobs almost always wind up being more work than what you expect at first. You may find you need to caulk cracks, remove storm windows, or temporarily take down items like house numbers, mailboxes, and door knockers.
Take a walk around your home and make a note of these little extras before starting any job. Don’t forget about masking areas that shouldn’t receive paint and laying drop cloths to protect areas like porches and front stoops. Will you need to work around gutters and downspouts, or will they have to be removed?
Exterior house painting can actually be dangerous too. Even the shortest home requires the use of a ladder, which must be positioned on a firm, level surface. Other potential hazards include:
- Bees, wasps, spiders, and stinging/biting insects, as well as snakes
- Working around landscaping or utilities
- Hot weather, sun exposure, and heat injuries, like heat stress and dehydration
- Strains and sprains from reaching, climbing, and repetitive work
If at any point you feel the job would be hazardous, it’s time to get on the phone to inquire about professional exterior painting services.
Tools and Supplies Needed
Your tools and supplies can make the difference between a stellar job and an amateurish one. Always buy the best quality supplies you can afford. If starting from scratch, plan on purchasing the following:
- Washing solution, such as trisodium phosphate
- Power washer or garden hose with powerful sprayer
- Other cleaning supplies to prep the surface, such as scrub brushes and pails
- Bleach or treatments to remove mold and mildew, as well as possibly mildew-resistant additives for your paint, which the paint store can add when they mix the paint
- Exterior primer, required on surfaces that are not already in excellent condition
- Special exterior paint, which is more weather resistant and durable than interior paint, made to handle sun and ocean salt, as well as temperature changes (you will likely use acrylic latex exterior paint)
- Sandpaper or sander
- Brushes of various sizes, depending on the surfaces to be painted, made for the type of paint being used, such as latex or oil paint
- Long brush handle or extender for added reach
- Cutting tool for cutting in two adjacent paint colors
- Smaller containers to hold trim paint while you work
- Roller pan, liners, rollers, and roller covers, depending on the surface you’re painting
- Sprayer, depending on the surface (this typically requires experience)
- Bucket hook for your ladder
- Paint remover for old paint and clean up
- Canvas drop cloths
- Masking tape
- Paint can opener
- Mallet to hammer paint can lids closed
- Stir sticks
- Caulk, caulk gun, and other repair supplies, like window glazing
- Screwdrivers to remove items like house numbers, rather than painting around them
- Plastic bags to hold wet brushes during breaks or if interrupted
- Work gloves and painting clothes
Weighing Your Options
As you’ve probably surmised by now, painting the exterior of your home involves a lot of work and preparation! Other considerations are:
- Your level of fitness
- Weather forecast
- Ability to stick with the job until it’s finished
While painting your own home can certainly be rewarding, you may decide the job is too time-consuming, outside your skillset, or too costly. By the time you invest in all the materials listed above, plus take off time from work, you may be approaching the cost of having a professional painter do the work for you. In fact, it may even cost less to hire professional painters!
If you have questions about painting your home or would like to hire exterior house painters in the Fernandina Beach, FL, area, contact Hall’s Quality Painting today. When you select Hall’s Quality Painting, you are choosing a genuine, family-focused business.
Our management team consists of four Hall family members, and we treat our painters like family too. When you meet our talented field technicians, you’ll experience the difference in courtesy and respect. We are licensed and insured, and your satisfaction is guaranteed on every paint job.