Curb Appeal 101: How to Paint the Exterior of a House the Right Way
While some experts might suggest that you can wait 15 years between when you paint and when you repaint your home, that doesn’t work for everyone. Some people need to start looking into how to paint the exterior of a house every few years because of weather or because of an accident. If this is the case for you, you need to know how to prep your house to get it cleaned the right way.
Here are the six steps to take for improved curb appeal.
1. Clean the Exterior
When you’re first getting started, you’re going to want to paint on a clean and clear surface. If you paint over dirt, either you risk disrupting the surface or you end up painting that dirt into the paint job. You want a smooth surface that you’re not going to have to repaint sooner than you have to, so it needs to be clean.
Remove all the dirt and debris that’s built up on the exterior of your home using a pressure washer. This will give you the smooth surface you’re looking for, prepared for your next steps.
To get the most out of your cleaning, work from the top to the bottom of the house. Use a smooth and controlled motion so that you don’t have to repeat your work. Follow the directions laid out by the pressure washer manufacturer so that you know what to do.
2. Fix Problems Now
If you’ve got any problems with the surface of your home, fix them now. Trying to fix them after you’ve painted requires you to match colors, get all of your equipment out again, and risk having disparities between new and old.
Walk around the entire outside of your house and make notes of any damaged surfaces you see. If there are issues with wood, be specific as possible so you find the right replacement. If you’ve got damaged stucco, siding, or masonry, you might need to hire a professional to help.
You can fix some of the issues on your own if you walk around with a spackle knife and some epoxy filler. After the filler has dried, you can sand it all down with a sanding block to ensure that the repaired portion looks smooth. When you fix your problems in advance, you can use the paint to make the damaged surfaces disappear.
3. Scrape Loose Paint
One of the ways you can really spoil your paint job is by leaving loose paint around. Any paint that’s started to peel or to flake off should be removed so you can keep your next coat of paint as smooth as possible.
After you’ve washed and fixed issues on the exterior, walk around again making a note of any chipped paint or paint that looks ready to peel. Throw down some drop cloths and start getting busy on those spots with a scraper. Catch the pieces that come off because you never know how toxic they could be.
After you’ve scraped, pull out your sanding block again and clean up the surface. This way you can get an even surface for when you start putting some paint on your house.
4. Fill in Gaps with Caulk
While you might be itching to get painting, you still have some prep work to do. Now’s your chance to make sure that any gaps are going to be filled in before you get to painting. That way you can paint over the filler and keep things looking smooth.
Get yourself some caulk and a caulk gun and make your way around the exterior of your house. If you have a mix of siding and brick or any two materials like this, add a layer of caulk along the line where the materials meet up. This will ensure that there’s no undue wear on the edge of either.
5. Think About Doors, Windows, and Lights
When you’re painting and come across a door or a window with different colored trim, it can mess up your whole flow to have to work around them. If you have exterior light fixtures, paint on them can damage them, cause them to short, or just ruin the way that they look. You need to protect all of these things carefully before you paint.
Cover these elements with carefully fitted plastic sheeting and some painter’s tape. This will keep you from spoiling the details of your exterior.
After you’re done painting the exterior, you can go back and take off all of the plastic sheeting from these elements. Then you can add two coats of semigloss paint that’s optimized for exterior surfaces.
6. Get To Work Painting
When it’s time to get started, you’re going to want to use a sprayer to get things done evenly. Put flat or eggshell paint into your paint sprayer. If you have a strong color that you’re going for, you’re going to need to apply two coats to get the color you’re looking for.
As you go back and forth, make sure you overlap each stroke of your sprayer by 8 inches. This ensures that you’re adequately covering all of the gaps that are missed on the first pass and not creating any kind of strips that denote each stroke.
Go from top to bottom in a smooth way so that you’re not overapplying paint and that any drips can be caught on the next pass.
If you’re going from light to dark or dark to light, consider a layer of primer beforehand. This will allow you to get the coverage you’re looking for. When you’re finished, remove your drop cloths and dispose of debris properly.
If the actual task of painting feels daunting, check out what this painting company can offer you.
Deciding How to Paint the Exterior of a House Is Challenging
If you’re working on deciding how to paint the exterior of a house, look at what other people in your neighborhood are doing. Do you want to stand out or do you prefer to blend in? As long as there aren’t too many rules governing house painting, the choice is up to you.
If you’re doing all of this work to sell your house, check out our guide for tips.