If you notice paint on the exterior of your home that is peeling, flaking, and fading it is probably time to re-paint. This may not sound like the most exciting task to do and you may want to hire a professional painter(s) to do the job, however it is not a difficult job and doing it yourself will actually save you money! Understanding the types of exterior paint that are available for you to use is a good place to start.
Types of Exterior Paint
Water-based latex and oil-based alkyd are the two types of exterior paint that you can choose to use. There are pros and cons to each type of paint:
- Water-based latex paint: Of the two types of paint, water-based latex paint is the easier to use that alkyd paint. Water-based paint is quickly cleaned-up with soap and water. This type of paint does not have a strong odor and also dries fast.
- Oil–based alkyd: In comparison, alkyd paints take longer to dry and has a very strong smell. You will need paint thinner (mineral spirits) to clean up this type of paint. Professional painters prefer using alkyd paints because it goes on smoothly with very little brush marks showing.
If you decide to use latex paint to paint over alkyd paint, you will have the extra step of priming the painting surface otherwise the latex paint will not adhere to the alkyd paint.
Once you have decided on whether to use water-based latex or oil-based alkyd paint, the next step is not only to decide on paint color, but on how much you want to spend on paint. The cost of one gallon of paint can range widely from under $10.00 per can to over $50.00 per can. Typically, the more expensive the paint, the better coverage you will have since costlier paints contain more color pigments than cheaper ones.
You may be tempted to purchase paint that was returned because someone did not like the color they selected or because it is on sale at a bargain price. Be cautious about going this route. There may not be enough paint to complete your project. If that happens, you will need to have your paint color custom-matched. This may potentially result in a higher cost per gallon.
The best advice is to determine how much paint you need and then set a budget. According to Behr.com one gallon of paint covers between 250 and 400 square feet of painting surface. This is for one coat of paint.
How do you determine if you might need to put on multiple coats of paint? Look at the surface to be painted. If the surface falls into one or more of these categories, then chances are you will need to put on two or more coats of paint:
- You are painting a deep color and/or a change in color that is significantly different from what is currently on the surface.
- The surface is very rough, dry, and/or porous.
- The surface is textured.
- The surface has never been painted.
If the areas you are painting have these characteristics, you are most likely are going to need to plan for painting multiple coats.
What You Need To Start Painting
There are several items that you may need to have before you start painting the exterior of your home. These include:
- A ladder
- A stiff bristle brush
- 2 – 3 paint brushes
- Several rags
- A sander
- A scraper
- Primer (if needed)
The number of gallons of primer and paint that you will need depends upon the size of your house and the condition of the surfaces you are painting.
Preparing to Paint
Preparing the surfaces you are going to paint is very important. The better job you do in the preparation phase, the better that your paint will adhere to the surface. Preparation steps are easy, but they will take time:
- Thoroughly clean all surfaces that you are going to paint. Sometimes using a power sprayer works very well. For hard to clean areas, try using a very stiff bristled brush.
- Next, you will need to scrape away areas where the old paint is flaking, pealing, or blistering. Once the old paint is removed, sand the wood so that it is smooth.
- If you are not using paint that also contains primer, you will need to prime all surfaces.
With the preparation work finished, you are now ready to paint. Here are a few tips to make things go smoothly:
- Set out all your brushes, rags, and paint.
- Make sure that your paint is very well mixed.
- Start painting in the early morning when the weather is cooler.
- If the surface is wet, wipe it down so that it is dry before you apply the paint.
- And, begin painting at the top of your house, working your way down.
As you paint, take your time and take frequent breaks so that you continue to do a good job painting. If you need to use a large ladder, you may need the help of a friend. Make sure that the ladder is always level and is locked in place. And take the time to get off the ladder and move it when you are not able to comfortably paint.
Completing the Project
How long it takes to paint the exterior of your home will depend upon how large your home is as well as how much time you spend painting. Once you begin your project, you really want to paint every day until you are done. Usually painting projects that do not come out too well are those where the painter stopped painting for a few weeks, then started again, then stopped, then started, etc. Your goal should be to start and complete the project in a relatively short period of time.
In addition, make sure that you thoroughly clean your brushes when you are done painting and that you cover and seal the paint can. When you start painting again, stir the paint so that it is completed mixed.
Following these strategies should result in a beautiful new look for the exterior of your home.