How to paint your house exterior

Painting your house exterior is one of the easiest ways to spruce up your home and add value.

Painting your house exterior yourself will save you mega bucks. Labor is the expensive part of painting.

A professional painter will charge around $50.00 per hour for labor, and the average total for a exterior paint job starts around $2500.

You can do many of the painting preparation work yourself, saving a lot of money. And if you have done all the preparation, why not finish the job and paint the house yourself.

It is a huge job to paint your home, but breaking it down into smaller steps is the way to go.

Follow the steps below and you will be able to paint your home with confidence.

preparation – clean & inspect your home exterior

Clean the exterior of your house with a pressure washer and inspect for any damage that needs repairing.Pressure washer to clean your home exterior

Remove and replace any rotten or decaying timber. Fill any holes or cracks with an exterior grade filler.

Remove any loose or flaking paint and sand any timber that has been exposed to the weather.

Tip – Get a power sander, we found it cheaper to buy a sander than to hire one, and have used it for other projects since buying it.

Different materials used on your exterior require different preparation.

Timber exteriors

As above, clean exterior and remove any loose or flaking paint. Repair any rotten timber or holes and cracks. Then give it a good sand with a power sander and clean off sanding dust.

Render, stucco and concrete exteriors

Render or concrete exteriors always require preparation before painting. New render or concrete must be allowed to cure for a minimum of 28 days before painting. Previous finishes on old render or concrete will need to be removed and sometimes special primers or sealants applied before you can paint. Fill and fix any holes, cracks or chips

Metal exteriors

Rust or damaged areas are the main concern when prepping metal exteriors for painting. After cleaning and repairing any damage give the metal a light sand to provide a key for the paint to bind to. A metal primer is required for any bare or new metal prior to painting. Never apply oil based paint directly to bare metal as the finish won’t last very long.

Vinyl cladding

Plastic or vinyl cladding is usually easy to clean with a sugar of soap and water. Once it is cleaned and any repairs made vinyl cladding can be painted.

Previously painted exteriors

If you’re freshening up your exterior or just changing the color to something more appealing, you should test the current paint finish. Scour the paint finish in several places with a sharp knife and apply adhesive tape to the cut. Remove the tape quickly and if any paint comes away the paint will need to be stripped or sanded back to¬† a solid paint finish.

Flaking or peeling paint

Paint that is flaking or peeling can be caused by several reasons. Moisture may be getting in behind the painted surface through cracks or condensation. If condensation is a problem, install vents to improve the air flow.

Or the paint may be exposed to the elements  for long periods of sunlight or heat. Dark colors are also more likely to flake or peel as they retain more heat from the sunlight.

When you have determined the cause of the flaking paint and repaired the cause. Remove any flaking or peeling paint with a scraper and heat gun and sand edges down to a smooth surface.

Mould

Mould can be removed from your exterior with a solution of 1 part bleach with 3 parts water. Apply the mixture to the surface with a scourer pad and leave for 15 minutes, then rinse off with water. It may take several applications to remove the mould.

Which paint is best, water based or oil based

For exteriors a water based paint is the preferred paint these days.

Water based paint retain their color better and last longer as oil based paints yellow and become brittle when they age.

Cleaning up brushes and rollers is much easier when using water based paints.

how much paint will you need for the exterior of your home

A gallon of paint will cover approx. 300 sq ft.

To work out your sq ft, measure the length and times it by the height.

For example a wall that is 10 ft high by 30 ft wide will equal 300 sq ft and will use a gallon of paint to cover this area.

Allow an extra 10% to 20% extra to insure you have enough paint for the job.

tools required to spruce up your home exterior

Painting your house exterior doesn’t require many tools, brushes and rollers, scraper and ladder are the bare essentials. Better quality tools do help make your painting job easier.

Depending on the size of your house will determine what size ladder you’ll need, a single storey house on level ground will only require a 12 ft ladder.

Paint brushes for painting your home exteriorFor cutting in around windows and doors a 2″ sash brush is required. A 4″ brush for larger areas and a 12″ roller and roller pan for the smoother wider areas. An extension pole for your roller is always handy for high areas.

Extra paint tins or buckets.

Tools for preparation include a scraper, heat gun, sander, chalking gun and a pressure washer.

Tip – Keep 2 brushes when painting in the summer, keep one in a bucket of water while using the other one. Swap them over to prevent paint drying in the brush.

Check out my post on basic tools for handymen and women HERE

Plan your painting job

Always paint from the high areas down, large areas then smaller detail areas. Windows and doors should be painted in the morning, giving them time to dry before having to close them for the night.

Avoid painting in direct sunlight, as it may cause lap marks or blistering paint. When painting in direct sunlight, paint smaller sections to keep a wet edge and avoid lap marks.

Windy days can cause pint to dry to quick and may blow dirt into fresh paint and don’t paint if there is a chance of rain.

Cover areas you don’t want paint on with cover sheets.

How to paint

All paint needs to be stirred to mix the color through completely.

When the paint has been mixed, decant a small amount into a easy to handle paint pot. Fill about 2″ of paint into the paint pot for cutting in.

Dip your brush into the paint and tap the brush on the side of the paint pot to remove excess paint then lay on paint to the surface. The aim is to get the paint on the surface as quickly as possible, then smooth the paint out once you have a good covering. Only paint an area big enough that you have time to smooth it out and continue to lay on paint along the wet edge.

If you don’t follow the wet edge, you’ll end up with lap marks.

To get a smooth finish use long sweeping strokes, working toward the painted area and lifting the brush while finishing the paint stroke over the wet edge.

Use doors, windows and natural breaks like siding lines to break large areas into manageable sections. When painting siding boards, paint 3 or 4 boards at a time from one end to the other,

Learning to paint with either hand will help with fatigue and will extend your reach when on a ladder.

Check out this video on painting the exterior of your home HERE

Results

If you have prepped your surface well and used the techniques outlined in this post, your freshly painted house exterior shouldn’t need painting for about 10 years. Annual maintenance of your exterior will also help prolong your paint job.

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