Ultimate Guide to Painting a House
Most homeowners would love to have a professional crew paint their house. However, the dramatically lower costs associated with doing it yourself tempt many homeowners into trying to do it alone. Besides cost savings, do-it-yourself house painting has some unexpected benefits. When the weather is favorable, outdoor painting can be almost pleasurable. If you opt to paint by hand rather than spraying, you can jump into the project for short periods of time that better fit in with your schedule.
Hiring a Professional Painter
Because professional painters have other jobs lined up, they’re motivated to get your job done on time. Most pros work in crews, not individually, making the job go even quicker.
Professional painters own all of the needed painting tools, some of which can be difficult or costly for a homeowner to purchase or borrow.
Choosing a Color
Picking a paint color for your home is, without argument, the best part of this project. Houses that are being painted for an upcoming sale need to appeal to the greatest number of potential buyers. Neutral colors and colors that fit in with the neighborhood work best for this.?
Otherwise, choose a color that you love, making sure that it fits with the style of your home and enhances its structural harmony. Buy paint samples in minimum 1-quart sizes and apply this paint to at least two sides of your house in order to see the colors in different lights.
When to Paint a House
Moisture: Do not paint a surface that is directly being rained on. But if it is rainy outside and the surface is dry, you can probably paint your house. When the relative humidity (RH) level reaches 50 percent, you are pushing into an uncomfortable range and the paint will dry slower.
Temperature: Temperature affects the paint curing process. Direct sun on the surface can cause the paint to cure in unattractive waves and ripples. On the other hand, temperatures below 34 F to 37 F mean that the paint simply will not dry.
Time of Day and Season: The best time for exterior painting is between late morning (after the dew has evaporated) and mid-afternoon (early enough to allow the paint to dry before temperatures drop). Summer makes exterior painting comfortable, but shoulder seasons like late spring and early fall tend to have less pronounced temperature spikes.
The paint itself is the main cost associated with painting your own home, followed by the much lower cost of tools and materials. If you’ve ever quickly estimated the amount of paint needed for an interior, that type of calculation will not work for the many different surfaces of a home’s exterior. Use a robust paint calculator that factors in wall texture, trim, windows, and doors. Generally, one gallon of exterior paint will cover 350 square feet.
Just because paint can fill in minor holes and cracks doesn’t mean that it should. Instead, take the time to properly fill with putty or filler. If painting by yourself, one mental trick is to think of each side of the house as a separate project. It’s less daunting that way. Flat paint sheen makes exterior painting go faster than satin sheen because paint flashing, a dullness created from one row to the next, is no issue. On the other hand, flat sheen does make cleaning siding more difficult.
Tools and Materials
- Good quality exterior acrylic-latex paint
- Trim paint (optional)
- Wood filler or wood putty
- Paint sprayer
- Paint roller set (roller covers, roller, and roller extension)
- Paint brushes
- Tape measure
- Laser measuring device (optional)
- Metal paint scrapers
- Heat gun
- Drop cloths, both canvas and plastic
- Painter’s masking tape
- Caulking gun and exterior-grade paintable caulk
- Six-foot ladder
- Extension ladder
- Inspect Your Home’s Siding
Notebook in hand, begin with a thorough walk-around of all sections of your home’s exterior that will be painted. On a rough map of the house, note every hole and crack in the siding that will need to be repaired, along with items that will need to be removed, such as gutters, drain pipes, screens, vent flaps, and house numbers.
Measure for Paint
Measure and jot down all areas on the home that will be painted. Use a laser measuring device to measure wall distances and heights, multiplying the two to produce area measurements. Subtract the windows and doors.
With the tape measure, figure out the size of smaller items to be painted, such as areas under the roof (eaves), cupolas, gables, and railing.
Window and door trim, if they will be a different color, should be a separate measurement. Purchase 10% more paint to account for wastage.
Remove or Cover Obstructions
Taking down minor obstructions like house numbers, the mailbox, attachments such as clotheslines, security cameras, and lights will make your paint job look far better and make your job easier.
Removing large obstructions like gutters is necessary only if you plan to paint the fascia. If you have obstructions that are too difficult to remove or which might damage the house when removed, wrap them with plastic sheeting and secure with painter’s tape.
Fix Major Problems
Painting your house gives you an unexpected reward: a fixed-up house exterior siding. This is the time to replace broken siding, fix split or decayed window trim, replace deteriorated corner trim pieces, change out broken foundation masonry, and more.
Remove Loose Paint
Existing paint that is flaky, bulging, or otherwise too weak to hold the next coat must be removed. Use paint scrapers in a range of sizes and a heat gun. Place a drop cloth directly below the area and gently push into the flaking area. Keep pushing until the paint resists, pull off the remaining section of paint, and discard. If dealing with lead-based paint, take appropriate safety measures.