A Guide to Properly Painting Your Home’s Exterior
If you’re looking for a great project to start once the warmer months roll around, then you should consider your house’s exterior. Your landscaping could probably use some work after all the snow and ice, but you know what else probably needs a touch-up? The exterior of your home! Many people don’t think about updating the color of their home’s exterior unless they’re selling. However, a fresh paint job has the power to absolutely transform your home’s entire look. It’s the perfect warm-weather home improvement project. If a new look is what you’re searching for, we’ve created a guide to properly painting your home’s exterior. Check it out!
Keep Back Landscaping
Typically, people think about this step halfway through their painting, and that can be quite the hassle. Do yourself the favor and trim and maintain shrubbery and other landscaping before you even start painting. Especially for those bushes and flower gardens that are close to the home, you’ll want to keep those out of your way and covered from any paint drips. Cover nearby plants with drop cloths or tarps, AC units, lighting fixtures—basically, cover anything you don’t want painted.
Pressure Wash the Walls
With any painting project, you want to ensure that you’re working with a clean surface. Paint won’t stick nearly as well to dirty and grimy surfaces—the exterior of a home is one of the dirtiest and grimiest places to paint. You’ll want to pressure wash so that you can get all that dirt off the home. If you’ve never used a pressure washer, then you’ll want to work from top to bottom, in smooth, even strokes. Don’t get too close, be careful near glass, and don’t drive water behind siding and trim.
If you don’t feel comfortable enough with it, use a hose, a pump sprayer, and a scrub brush for a safer cleaning process. It’ll be slower, but just as effective!
Repair Damaged Surfaces
Once you’ve washed the walls, you need to repair any damaged surfaces. This will take quite a bit of time, but it’ll make for a much more professional paint finish. Walk around the house’s entire perimeter and note any damaged surfaces—this should go further than the siding. Take a look at the masonry, metal, stucco, wood, and siding.
Add filler to cracks or holes. Once you’ve finished and those areas have dried, you’ll need to sand it down. You won’t necessarily need to sand the whole house, but definitely the areas you’ve spackled or the areas with peeling paint.
Chip Away Loose Paint
If you really want your new paint to stick, then you’re going to need to chip away the loose paint. Any paint that has peeled, bubbled, or blistered must go. It may only be a small area of the home, or it could be most of it; just make sure that you take care of it before you prime. If you’re updating an older home, then you need to check if the lead is present—especially in homes built before 1978. If the paint does contain lead, then you’ll need to take special precautions during this step to protect yourself and the environment from toxic dust. If the scraping process is taking too long, you can also use a heating gun to soften the old paint and scrape it off that way.
Just as it’s important to fill any holes or fix up any dents, also fill any gaps between the house and trim. Use exterior caulk and a caulk gun for the cleanest fill. Filling the gaps around door and window trim will create less of a draft in the home, but it also ensures that the paint doesn’t leak anywhere it shouldn’t as you paint. Once you’ve done that, check the home for meeting points between any mixed materials, like siding meeting brick. You’ll want to add caulk along the surface where those materials meet as well.
Use a Quality Primer
As with any painting project, you need to lay down a layer of quality primer before you paint. This is even more important when you’re painting exterior surfaces. A home’s exterior can get quite stained, and a primer will help cover those and ensure they don’t bleed through into your new paint job. For example, you’ll want to get a quality stain-blocking primer and put a coat of that on to ensure that your new paint job stays fresh.
If you notice that your home has any exposed nail heads, use a metal primer to prevent any rust from bleeding through the paint. This is especially important if you’re going with a light-colored exterior.
Paint from Top to Bottom
After all those steps comes the actual painting! As much as you want to get straight to giving your home a new look, you need to follow all of the steps above to ensure a proper, successful painting experience. But once you’ve finished those tasks, you can get into the actual painting of the house. One of the most important tips is to paint from the top of the house to the bottom. We have a few other important exterior painting tips listed below!
- Work in the shade: A bad exterior paint job begins with sunshine. You have to pay a lot of attention to the weather when you paint the outside of the home. You don’t want it too humid, you don’t want any rain, and you don’t want to work in high sunshine. Find shade when you can.
- Decide between roller or sprayer: If you’re a novice painter, then you should avoid using a paint sprayer. In beginner hands, paint can get in all the places you don’t want it, can go on uneven, and generally won’t turn out well.
- Pick a quality paint brand: You don’t want your paint to chip two years later. Turn to ECOS Paints for a quality, non-toxic* exterior paint, that’s built to last.
- Combine paint cans in a big bucket: You don’t want uneven shades across the home. Mix all your paint cans in one large bucket so you get an even tone and color throughout the siding.
- Paint trim and doors last: Once you’ve painted the siding, remove the protective sheeting from doors, windows, and lighting fixtures. Touch up the paint on the trim and woodwork and you’ll be all set!
For all your exterior painting needs, turn to ECOS Paints. We have the primer and all the exterior paints you need for a successful new look for the home. We pride ourselves on our health-focused paint, which is just as important when painting outside as it is when painting inside. Protect your home and the environment with our paints—you won’t regret it once you see the finished product!
* Non-toxic: Conforms to ASTMD-4236, specifically concerning oral toxicity, skin irritation, and respiratory effects.