One does not simply paint their home’s exterior. Exterior painting is a process not to be taken lightly. Not all those who paint are painters… I could continue conjuring cheap jokes, but I shall allow you to read ahead and discover our process.
If you are going to paint your home’s exterior, a good process will take you far! There are always things that turn up that might need extra skills or information not provided here, but for most situations, this will be the map you want to follow if you’re looking for a beautifully painted home! I am working on a blog about a painter’s tools and how to use them, so check back if that interests you!
1. Pressure Wash
First things first. Properly preparing your siding for paint requires this. You may not think you are a living in a witch’s cottage, but you would be amazed at how many cobwebs and spiders are hiding on surfaces that will need painted. Mildew, dust, and debris all build up on the outside of our houses over time. Even if you think your house is not afflicted by these things, it will only take a couple of seconds with the power washer on to realize that you were deceiving yourself.
Make sure to move outdoor furniture, grills, or any other objects away from the house. We begin at the highest points and work our way down. If you like to do everything twice, begin at the lowest points. 😉 Make sure to use a surface cleaner in your pressure washer and mix it as directed.
2. Repair Damaged Siding or Trim
Unfortunately; there are no short-cuts with this step either. Not even duct tape can save you here. What rotten luck. If you have any rotted pieces of siding or trim, you will need to replace them before painting. If you are not sure how to identify dry rot, click here! This is also a great time to make sure that any protruding screws or nails are dealt with.
When you hire us, we will identify these issues and take care of them for you!
3. Scrape, Sand, and Caulk
We don’t like wasting time! Skipping these first few steps makes everything else a waste of time. If you want your work to look nice, you will need to use a paint scraper to scrape any areas with loose or peeling paint to a point where they are no longer flaking off and you can sand them smooth. You will need to caulk (remember to use paint-able caulk) around windows and doors and often corner-boards or places where two different materials meet.
Remember to smooth out the caulking into the creases! This is sometimes the most painful part of the process. I do mean literally. There are exceptions though; such as falling off of your ladder, or an encounter with a wasp nest.
If you’re a lone wolf, you will want to mask off all windows, doors, and trim and anything else that will not be painted first. This often includes bushes and plants alongside the house. In some cases, these will need to be trimmed back so they are not touching the house. You could always paint them too… but only if you want them to die. I am working on a blog with tips for masking, so stay tuned!
If you have a helper though; you should work together to mask off the first side. After you have the first side masked; send the masker ahead to the second side while you begin spraying the first, and work your way around the house in this way. ***Start with your primer!
At Sir Paints A Lot, we like to make our 1st side the “sunny” side. Whichever side will be hottest later in the day is where we begin. Unless you enjoy being drenched in your own sun-boiled sweat, we recommend you implement this free tip.
Begin with a small spray tip to do your “cut-in” around windows and tight corners or smaller areas. Then use a larger spray tip and work your way steadily across the wall in the direction of the siding. Most often this will be horizontally, and it is best to begin at the top. Aim for about 40% overlap with each new row. A common mistake is to try and drench the wall to avoid having to do the second coat. Do not do this. Even if you do not like doing things twice, (insert laughter), applying 2 coats of paint is the best way to achieve smooth, even coverage.
After you have finished your two coats of wall color you can turn your focus to trim and fascia. There are many ways people go about painting these areas and it is very dependent on circumstances. In many cases, you can put a finer tip on your paint sprayer and use a paint shield as you go about painting the gutters. (You remembered to pressure-wash those right?!?)
Be very careful to avoid over-spraying onto your wall color or roof. For doors, we hang new masking around the outside of the door so it can have a smooth sprayed finish as well. Using a brush and roller on window trim and any other trim is usually the most efficient way to finish your trim work. Don’t forget the 2nd coat and to watch for paint runs! Paint runs are much easier to fix if you catch them right away!
6. Inspection/Touch Up
Once all the masking is removed; go back to the beginning and slowly look around for any spots that may have some overspray or paint drops or anything that may have been missed. Take your time here. This is the fine tuning that really polishes all your hard work.
7. Clean Up
If you own the house you just painted; proceed any way you want.
If you do not own the house you just painted; wash all brushes and equipment in a logical place (Not the kitchen sink or all over the driveway). A good way to avoid having any mess to wash away is to wash your brush in a 5 gallon bucket with water in it. A final step, which I regard as being nearly as important as good prep-work, is to make sure you don’t throw all the trash in their dumpster. Take it with you and dispose of all paint and cans appropriately.