Your home is your biggest investment. A fresh coat of paint every few years will keep it looking good and protect your siding, windows and trim. It’s not that hard to do it yourself if you know all the essential steps.
It's All in the Prep
The secret to a successful paint job is in the prep. If you take your time to do all the essential steps, the results will be a spectacular paint job that will last for years. Here's what you'll need for a quality paint job: exterior flat or eggshell paint; exterior semigloss paint; a pressure washer; a paint sprayer; a paintbrush; painter’s tape; drop cloths; a ladder; a paint scraper; stain-blocking primer; epoxy filler; a medium-grit sanding block; a putty knife; exterior caulk and a caulk gun; and plastic sheeting. Make sure you cover whatever you do not plan on painting.
1. Consider Mother Nature
Plan ahead when painting. The time of year is key, so understand your local weather patterns. Select a dry time of year when there is little rain and lower humidity. Paint needs time to dry and will not adhere to surfaces that are not dry.
2. Quality Over Price
Better quality paint means you will paint fewer times over the years, and you'll get better coverage when you do paint. Paint technology has improved dramatically in the past few years, with colors guaranteed to last longer than ever before. You may be tempted to skimp on paint to save money up front with a cheaper brand, but you're bound to have trouble and eventually pay more in the long run.
3. Sand and Wash
Paint won't adhere very well to dirty or rough surfaces, so be sure to clean the siding and trim thoroughly, use a pressure washer if needed, it will get most dirt off and will also get those hard to reach places. Allow to dry, and sand. Be sure to sand (or scrape as needed) any peeling paint to create a solid surface for the paint to adhere.
4. Paint Doesn't Stick to Rotten Siding
Rotten wood and siding material are nearly worthless to paint, as they will do nothing but to continue to deteriorate. You have a couple of options. Replace the siding or wood trim with new components, or in the case of small areas, use a wood hardener and match with an exterior filler product, such as a wood filler. Be sure to prep and sand either one prior to painting.
5. Use Primer
The rule of thumb has always been to apply a good coat of primer, sand, then apply your color coats. This is still a good rule to follow, but new paint technologies have combined primer and paint into one product, which manufacturers assert will cut down on the number of coats you will have to apply. This newer paint is more expensive, but may be comparable to the purchase of separate primer and paint. Look at reviews of these newer paints, particular from folks that have used it in your area.
6. Combine Cans of Paint
Mixing multiple cans of the same color of paint into a larger container, such as a five-gallon bucket, will help ensure a uniform color is applied to your home's exterior. This step, called boxing the paint, is a method the pros follow. This step is important if, for example, you initially bought a gallon or two of paint less than you needed and then picked up the extra gallons at a later time.
7. Paint From Top to Bottom
Starting at the top and working your way down while painting helps control streaks, as you will be working with gravity rather than against it. Drips are inevitable, but this method will allow you to feather out mishaps in the direction you are working.
8. Seal It Off
Properly close your paint containers with their lids after you finish for the day to keep the paint from drying out. Use a rubber mallet to lightly hammer the lid shut. You can also add a plastic wrap film over the opening to ensure a tight seal.
9. Add Grit
Painted porches (particularly steps) and other painted floors can become a bit too slick with a coat of paint alone, so add a little bit of fine sand to the paint to add traction. You can use play sand or additives that manufacturers have begun producing to provide this extra texture.
10. Prep The Landscape
It's easy to forget how messy painting can be, so be sure to cover the ground, bushes and any other vegetation below the area you are painting. Also move or cover up any outdoor furniture, hoses, grills, etc. Use drop cloths and weigh them down on the corners or securely wrap them around the items you are protecting.