September 17, 2021

House painting tips

A new coat of paint can completely transform the look of your home. Painting a house is a significant commitment usually left to professionals.

House painting tips
If you hire a professional to paint your home, expect to pay from $4,000 to $8,000 or more, depending on the size and condition of your house, according to Home Advisor. You can consider making it a do-it-yourself project, which can often save you more than half of the cost. But just understand in advance that painting your home will take some serious effort and commitment.

Regardless of whether you hire a professional or take on the work yourself, you’ll want this project done correctly, so you don’t have to repeat it in a few years. Here are exterior house painting rules we never break.

Plan your painting project in advance

Don’t Skimp on Materials

Pay for top-quality paint, primer, and caulking compound. Top-quality paint lasts longer, flows better, and covers better than poor-quality paint. Purchase paint that has a lifetime warranty against defects in the finish. You get what you pay for with most house paint, and the best ingredients are expensive. High-quality exterior paint typically costs from $35.00 to $40.00 per gallon, and specialty paint can cost $80.00 per gallon or more. Top-performing exterior paint brands include Behr Premium Plus Ultra, Clark + Kensington, Sherwin-Williams Duration, and Benjamin Moore Aura. Flat finishes are preferred for siding and do an excellent job hiding defects and irregularities. Satin and semi-gloss enamels are more durable and easier to wash. Be sure to choose 100% acrylic paint.

Do the Necessary Preparation

For paint to adhere well, it must be applied to a clean, dry surface, and not be flaking or peeling. Depending on the condition of existing siding and trim, this often means considerable scraping and sanding before you can paint. Begin by washing the surfaces. You can use a hose and a scrub brush with water and detergent or a pressure washer. If you use a pressure washer, be careful not to drive water deeply into the joints between siding or erode the surface of the wood with the high-pressure water spray. To remove loose, flaking paint, you’ll need a scraper. A 5" disc power sander or a random-orbit sander will work well to smooth more challenging paint surfaces. Start with 60-grit sandpaper and follow up with 100-grit sandpaper. The idea isn’t to remove all the paint— just to remove loose paint and smooth the surface. Use a putty knife and wood filler to fill cracks and holes. Let the filler dry, and then sand these areas again. Brush off the dust, caulk the joints, and allow the caulk to dry before applying primer.

Beware of Lead Paint

Although today’s house paints do not contain lead, paint applied before 1978 is likely to have lead. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warns that any home improvement work involving lead paint can create a cloud of lead dust or chips that can be hazardous to the health of children and adults. For lead testing and removal, the EPA recommends you contact a local lead-safe certified renovation contractor, which can be found through the EPA’s website.

Interior painting. Ancient Modern Finishes, Bonita Springs, Florida 239-494-8888

Apply More Than One Coat of Paint

Begin with a high-quality alkyd primer for your base coat if you’re painting over bare wood or metal, which will be specified on the paint label and will help keep the paint from bleeding. Some painters like to tint the primer toward the final paint color to minimize the need for two finish coats of paint. Others prefer to tint the primer with a contrasting color, highlighting any spots that the final coats haven’t completely covered. After the primer, apply the first finish coat. When it becomes tacky, apply a second topcoat.

Use the Right Tools

Use a high-quality brush, roller, and, for some houses, an airless sprayer that can be rented at most home improvement centers or tool rental outlets. The easiest way to apply primer and paint to textured surfaces is to spray it on with an airless sprayer and then back-roll it by hand with a roller to ensure adhesion. If you have never used an airless sprayer, pay close attention to the directions, and gain a little experience by first painting a less-conspicuous side of the house. Work from a 5-gallon paint bucket, and use a paint strainer, so paint doesn’t clog the sprayer.

Be Realistic

Do not paint your house yourself unless you have the time, tools, skills, and stamina to do the work. Depending on the size and height of your home and the condition of the existing siding, preparing and painting a house on your own can be a tedious, demanding job.

Wait for Temperate Weather

Don’t paint on hot days, in the rain, or during windy weather. Ideal temperatures for painting are between 50–90º Fahrenheit. Hot weather causes the paint to dry too quickly, as does the direct sun. When possible, wait for the shade of cloudy days. Temperatures below 50º may prevent the paint from adhering to the surface properly. Dampness or dew can bubble surfaces.

Cover Everything

Protect decks, shrubs, gardens, patios, and walkways from paint spills and splatters with drop cloths or plastic sheeting. This will save you from big cleanup problems later. If you use an airless paint sprayer, masking and covering are imperative—overspray can even coat your neighbors’ cars.

Paint Using Proven Techniques

You can find lots of free information online, including videos by experts that break techniques down into steps. Work from the top down, starting with overhangs so fresh paint won’t drip on newly painted surfaces. Paint the siding, and when that’s dry, tape around windows and doors, and paint the trim. As soon as you’re finished painting the trim, remove painter’s or masking tape so it won’t leave a residue. After the paint has dried, touch up areas where paint hasn’t fully covered the surface.

If You Hire a Professional, Get Bids and References

Request detailed bids from reputable painting contractors and ask them for satisfied customers’ names and phone numbers. Call two or three of those customers or (if possible) visit their homes to inspect the craft. Networks like Angie’s List, Home Advisor, and even Google and Yelp can help you find local professionals. Be sure to read these reviews from previous customers.