House Painting

Steps for Exterior House Painting

Some might think that painting your house is a daunting task. And yes it can be, but then if you have patience and not try to rush through it just to, “get it done” it can be something you may want to take on yourself. Having that sense of accomplishment is always a good feeling. I will be sharing the steps I take for every exterior house painting job I have done. Remember sometimes just having the right tools and the time is really all you need. There are a ton of how-to videos that can help you walk your way through just about any experience, you just have to look, but I thought I would give you a step by step break down.  What I want to share with you are things you may not even think about before getting started.



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First of all surface preparation is a must and it includes cleaning up the entire exterior to provide a neat, smooth surface for paint application. If the surface is not prepped correctly first you can run into many problems that could have been avoided which you will have to go back and fix and that are just more time, money and headaches. I always pressure wash each house before starting. First check for peelings, chipping and other flaws, then scrape away the peelings and perform a power wash. After the pressure wash and everything is dry mask off concrete and if you are spraying mask off around the windows, that does not have to be done if you are brushing and rolling. If you get a little paint on the glass you can scrap that off after it dries. Something that I presently stated doing is using cardboard shields along the bottom. it works much easier and faster than trying to use plastic or heavy drop cloths.



It is important that any and all cracks are sealed. The type of caulk will be different for whatever type of siding you have. Be sure to read them carefully to make sure you get paintable caulking. If it’s a non-paintable, whatever color caulk you get it will stay that color. The paint will just bead and you will not get the clean look you want. Make sure you seal all open joints to keep the moisture which will cause rot and mold. The fascia that has separated and split can be fixed with the caulking or a wood patch. (This is for areas that are not containing wood rot or termite damage. Those areas will need to be cut out and replaced.) Any spots that have chipped stucco you can patch with stucco patch.


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Priming is the application of a base sealer that the paint will then be applied to. When it comes to the primer don’t take any short cuts. A good quality primer contains a high concentration of resin. The primer not only covers the old paint is also seals the surface and gives the new paint a nice surface to grip onto. Another thing I do when purchasing the primer is having it tinted the color of the paint or a shade or 2 off, lighter or darker doesn’t matter but getting it close does help when applying the paint. (You can read more about why it helps in my recent priming article.)


Picking out the color of paint isn’t the only thing to look at. Getting good quality paint will make the paint last longer. Did you know that hotter climates may have a paint quality just a little different than a colder climate? So be sure to check which one is best for the area you are in. Good paint is made up of acrylic latex. This is water-based paint and makes it for much easier clean up unlike the older oil-based paints and you had to use lacquer thinner or mineral spirits for clean up.



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Choosing the color may be an easy decision because you’re just going to freshen up the existing color, or you may know you want a change but just not sure what color you want. When picking the color try to go neutral body color and you can have a wider selection of color for the trim or anything you want to give that extra little “Pop” to. I have seen which I am sure you have also, been driving along and think, “What were they thinking with that color?” If you do not want to give off that impression or look go with the softer tans, greys, and whites. Remember you can add the darker or brighter colors without painting the entire house “that” color. You want to pick a color that not only looks good from the street and adds the curb appeal; you want a color that best suits you. When you pull into the driveway you get the feeling of “home.”


How much paint to buy is a pretty typical question and important. Here is a chart that will help when the time comes to purchase the primer and paint. You will only need half the amount of primer than that of paint. One coat primer and two coats paint. I would recommend only buying about 80% of the estimated paint you need at first and then buying the remainder when you’re almost finished. This keeps you from overbuying paint. A general rule is that paint stores will not take back un-used tinted paint and it isn’t cheap. Having enough left over for touch-ups is good if you can keep it stored in a dark cool place. Here is a chart that may help:

Exterior House Paint
House Size       Body    Trim    Total Gallons
1500 sq ft.          8            2              10
2500 sq ft.         12           3              15
3500 sq ft.         15           4              19
5000 sq ft.         20           7              27

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