A fresh coat of paint is much more than just a change of color. The paint covering the exterior of your home is a protective layer, and over time the natural elements wear it away. Most homes will need a fresh coat every 5-10 years, or when you start to notice cracking or peeling paint. Painting the exterior of your home is a big job and one that is important to do accurately.
These six tips will help you plan your next exterior painting job.
- Pick the best time to paint. Late Spring or early Fall make the best time for exterior painting. Paint will not apply or bond optimally when temperatures are outside the 50-85 degrees Fahrenheit range. During Autumn you are at less risk for pop-up rain storms and temperatures are more moderate. Otherwise, paint after the Spring showers and before the extreme Summer heat hits. Paint should only be applied to dry surfaces, so wait at least a day after it rains to begin.
- Take the time to prep. Thoroughly clean all surfaces before painting. Removing dirt, mold and mildew helps the paint adhere and cure better. Give your surfaces sufficient time to dry after cleaning before you begin to paint. Then scrap or sand away any peeling or cracking paint. The smoother the surface you start with, the smoother your finished product will be.
- Repair damaged or rotten wood or siding. Either replace the rotten wood or use a two-part epoxy to fill gaps. Painting over rotten wood is a waste of your time and money. Fill any gaps or cracks with caulk to keep out moisture, dirt and critters.
- Prime bare spots. Areas that are completely bare should be primed before painting; otherwise the topcoat will not fully adhere. An added benefit of many primers is that they inhibit mold and mildew. Primers also help the topcoat adhere better and leave you with a more uniform finish.
- Select the right paint. Permeable paints, like latex, allow moisture to escape before it damages the wood underneath. Latex paint is also slightly elastic and will expand and contract with temperature changes without blistering or crackling. Acrylic latex paint can handle seasonal stress and climate change, therefore works well in cold weather zones.
- Give doors, shutters, windows, and trim extra attention. If possible, remove doors, shutters and such, and paint them separately. Cover windows with tape or plastic to avoid additional clean up later. When painting trim, remember to protect fixtures such as lights, mailboxes, and doorbells. Anything close to the work area should be covered so it is protected from splatter or overspray.