The Proper Way to Paint Your Home's Exterior

Home Improvement

Preparing Your Possum Kingdom Home for Exterior Painting

Many homeowners approach the task of exterior painting with dread, often because they don’t feel qualified to do the job but lack the funds to hire it done. With information, the proper materials and plenty of preparation, you can paint your Possum Kingdom home as well as a professional.

The first task is to estimate how much paint you will need for the project. Measure the length of all exterior sides of the house, then multiply the length of all sides by the height of the house, adding two feet to the height for overhang. There’s no need to subtract doors and windows as you’ll probably need the extra for touch-ups. Take this information with you to the paint store. Paint cans display what’s known as “coverage rate,” which basically tells how much surface area the can will cover. Now divide the total square footage of your project by the coverage rate on the paint can you’ve selected.

Selecting the color and paint style is something you’re going to want to take your time with. If you live in a housing development with an HOA, be sure to ask if there are any colors that are not allowed. There are different kinds of paint as well:

-   Gloss exterior acrylic enamel is usually used only on smooth, flawless surfaces, as the high sheen accentuates imperfections. It’s also the most difficult and time-consuming exterior paint, not to mention the most expensive.

-   Satin exterior acrylic latex provides excellent coverage and good looks. Another advantage to this type is that it doesn’t attract dirt and dust like other paints. Also a good choice for trim.

-   Flat exterior acrylic latex is the most commonly used exterior paint thanks to its good coverage, reasonable price and versatility. It’s also easier to touch-up and doesn’t show imperfections as much as gloss.

-   Semi-gloss exterior acrylic latex is used mostly for doors, gutters and window trim as it is washable and resists stains.

-   Solvent-based paints are the most versatile, providing ease of application in a variety of temperatures and moisture conditions.

When selecting your colors, you make sure that any fixed colors, such as brick or stonework or stained wood, match your choice. If you have a smaller home, consider going with a lighter color as it helps the home to appear larger. Painting the trim, the same color as the rest of the house also makes a smaller house appear bigger. Light colors are also a good choice in warmer climates, as they absorb less heat. Light-colored paints also last longer than darker ones. Conversely, darker paints work well in cooler climates because they absorb heat.

Once you’ve chosen your paint type and color, it’s time to grab your painting materials.

-  Brushes: Nylon or polyester bristles work well with latex paints, and natural bristles tend to do better with oil-based paints.

-  Rollers: Great if you have a lot of surface area to cover and work well on siding. Don’t scrimp on a thin, flimsy roller – be sure to choose a thicker-rolled fiber roller for better coverage

-  Sprayers: While they can be costly, sprayers can also save hours of labor time.

-  Tools and other Materials: wide-width masking tape scrapers of various sizes and a utility knife.

Now that you have your materials, you’re ready to get started with the most important step: surface preparation. Proper preparation will prevent problems like cracking and peeling and will determine how long your paint job will last.

First, scrape loose paint until most of the surface is exposed. Next, use sandpaper to dull the surface and make it smooth. Use a pressure washer with commercial cleaning solution to wash the surface of the house and rinse thoroughly. Let dry at least 24 hours before painting.

You may need to prime the surface before painting for any of the following reasons:

-  If the surface is shiny, slick or hard to paint, primer provides something for the topcoat to adhere to

-  To fill and seal pores in bare wood or weathered masonry

-  Cover stains from water damage and sap

-  To make metal surfaces corrosion resistant

-  Provide surfaces that have never been painted before with better adhesion and coverage

After carefully covering windows, doors and trim with newspaper and masking tape, you’re ready to begin painting. Take your time and do a thorough job, and you'll have added value to your home, slowed deterioration and given yourself a sense of accomplishment.