How to Paint the Outside of Your HouseBefore you
begin your exterior painting project, here are some points to check
- Downspouts and gutters should be checked for cracks. If defects go
uncorrected, overflowing water can ruin your paint job.
- Caulking and flashing should be in good condition at windows, door
frames, and other structural joints.
- Loose boards should be nailed in place.
- Cracks or nail holes in wood should be filled with wood putty.
- All loose or flaking paint should be scraped down to the wood.
- Use rust inhibitive primer to protect iron or steel.
- All surfaces should be clean and dry before starting.
Paint should be applied in temperature over 40 degrees. Whether you are
painting siding or wood, wait until the morning dew has evaporated.
For new work - three coats are best - one coat of primer and two
finishing coats. For old work, when the existing surface is in good
condition, one coat is sufficient.
Always start at the top of the house. Don't lean out from the ladder -
keep your hips between the rails and reach out a normal distance. Always
keep one hand on the ladder and the other on your brush. You can make an
S-shaped wire hanger and use it to hold your paint can from a rung above
Since you're starting at the top and working down, you can choose to do
the trim at the same time as the rest of your home. Remember to bring a
separate, smaller brush up the ladder with you. Keep a wet rag dampened
with paint thinner with you to clean up drips immediately. Also, make sure
to have a drop cloth on the ground to protect shrubs and plants.
Remember that the paint used to paint the trim should be different from
the paint used for the main part of your home. Use trim paint or outdoor
Start with the gables and work down to the eave lines. Check carefully
for skips - missed areas - and take care of them before you come down the
Make sure the paint is thoroughly mixed even if your dealer
mechanically mixes it. Pour half into another can and mix with a wooden
stick until all pigmentation is mixed. Pour back and forth to be sure.
When applying paint to the brush, immerse the bristles in the paint to
about 1/3 the bristle length. Tap the brush before removing from can to
If you prefer a roller, paint the outermost edges of your job with a
brush and fill in with roller. Keep the overlap area narrow as there is
considerable contrast in brushed and rolled strokes, in different
A roller can be used on cinder block, stucco, brick, concrete or to
paint porches, steps and patios.
Other Painting Pointers
A great majority of painting failures
can be blamed on wet or hot surfaces. If you insist on painting in hot
weather follow the sun. In other words, paint where the sun has just been.
Then the sun's heat will not raise the oil content in the paint to the
Paint the main part of the house first. Then proceed to trim windows,
doors, and cornices. Afterwards, paint decks, porches and patios. Last of
all, do screens, storm windows, and shutters which can be removed and done
in your garage on a rain day.
When painting the porch steps, there are 2 popular techniques: one -
paint alternate steps, so you can walk on the dry ones. The second is to
paint on side of the treads and risers, wait for them to dry and then
paint the other side. Paint railings last of all since someone usually
manages to grab them while steps are wet (possibly you).
How Much Paint is Right?
Most house paint covers 500 sq. ft.
per American gallon, 625 per imperial gallon.
In three mathematical
steps, you can figure how much you'll need.
trim, you need about 1 gallon for an average six to eight room house.
- Avg. height of house = distance from top of foundation to eaves for
flat roof types, add 2 feet to this for pitched roofs.
- Average height x distance around foundation = surface area (square
- Surface area / 500 = # gallons required for each coat.
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