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Saturday, December 31, 2011
From a professional painter’s point of view, exterior painting is the most important home maintenance project that can be done. Often the paint and caulking is all that is stopping damage from the weather and water.
Damage to your siding alone can cost thousands to fix. This is just one surface that is vulnerable to the effects of the weather and an inadequate paint job.
Often the difference between a good exterior paint job and a bad one comes down to saving some money on the materials or labor (if a pro is hired). Another thousand dollars spent now can save many thousands later.
If you plan on doing the painting yourself be prepared, typically exterior painting will be the most difficult and physically demanding home maintenance project you will do. Exterior painting will involve considerable time and physical effort. Why not do it right and receive the best value for your money plus gain the most time before needing to re-paint.
It’s amazing that this thin film of primer and paint lasts as long as it does! Exterior house paint must stand up to the most extreme conditions that man and nature can dish out. Plus all buildings, including your home, are constantly moving around and breathing.
This happens as the temperatures rise (expansion) and fall (contraction). To top it off wood is constantly moving, splitting and warping. Now add the weather with wind, dust, rain, hail and snow. The best results will need a good method encompassing all aspects of exterior painting.
Following the best exterior house painting tips and using the best quality materials can add years to the life of the house paint before the need to repaint. Plus using top quality painting products, knowledge and practical experience will result in lower maintenance and less repairs in the future.
To top this off, there will be an increase in the value of your home, a win — win situation.
In order to achieve professional results you need to envision the exterior painting involving many steps or procedures. Each painting step will progress from one to another in a rational manner.
Every exterior paint job begins with an evaluation of the condition of the homes various surfaces and what is needed to produce the best foundation for the finish paint.
Exterior surface preparation is the most important part and can take the most time and effort. An essential part of this process is choosing the most appropriate primer to use. The primer is as important as the paint.
Don’t rush, taking your time now and doing things right will add years to the life of the exterior paint job.
After the preparation is done, you will need to choose the best exterior paint and application methods for your particular project. Unfortunately there isn’t an easy answer to either of these concerns. Each house is different to some degree and requires its own decisions.
If your homes exterior is stained, choose the best exterior stain possible. The most common stained wood siding and trim is cedar and redwood. In order to receive the maximum durability from any exterior stain, the surface must be porous to allow maximum penetration. Removing the previous stain might be necessary. As with painting, properly preparing a stained house is an absolute necessity.
Applying exterior stain to siding and trim is very similar to painting except the stain is thinner and a bit more difficult to control. The type and color of stain will influence its application. Some experimentation will be necessary.
The most common exterior painting methods are brushing and rolling or spraying. Both work extremely well and are suitable for most surfaces. Your own skill level and the particular situation will dictate which method is right for you.
For low homes, like single level ranch style,brushing and rolling can often be the best choice. Using an airless paint sprayer can speed up the finish painting, but will require more skill and experience.
The method you choose will depend on the type of paint chosen and the construction of your home. Often every home requires a combination of both methods in order to achieve the best results. No matter which method is chosenuse professional grade tools for the best results.
Every different type of surface on your home can require a different exterior painting technique. Plus, which painting technique that is used will depend on the type of finish you choose. Generally there is four categories of surfaces; the body, trim, windows and doors.
Wood siding is very common and can be painted or stained. The most common woods used here in Colorado are cedar, redwood and pine. They are usually in the form of lap siding. Hardwoods are rare but seen from time to time.
Another common variety of wood siding is T-111. This type of siding is very difficult to keep painted due to the enormous amount of cracks in the plywood. Painting T-111 siding requires a lot of work and paint. If you have this type of siding and it is stained consider not painting. Restaining T-111 siding is a good alternative to paint.
Masonite is another material that is very common and being used more and more every year. This is an artificial material that can be smooth or embossed, wood grained. Masonite is a very stable type of siding and not prone to warping and splitting like wood. But painting Masonite siding requires back rolling or risk possible damage from water in the near future.
Vinyl and steel siding can be painted if a new color is desired or is the original color has degraded over the years. There are a few things to think about. Overall painting steel siding is the same as painting other types of siding. Painting vinyl siding and trim will require some extra steps plus you have other options instead of painting. Vinyl siding can be revitalized, bringing back the original color.
Stucco is a very popular exterior finish used throughout the south west and as well as other parts of the country. It’s understandable, with the ease of maintenance and low cost to usable lifespan. Painting stucco is a great way to change the color or hide unsightly stains.
Concrete block is another wonderful building material. My favorite is split-face block, often used on commercial buildings. This material can be painted or stained to achieve many decorative affects. Painting concrete block is very easy and if done correctly will last a very long time with easy maintenance in the future.
Exterior Brick can also be painted. If you want a new look or just hate the color of your brick consider painting for a low maintenance finish that will last a long time. These are the steps I take to paint exterior brick, whether it is unpainted or previously painted.
Almost any exterior surface can be painted. This is just a partial list of surface types I paint every year.
The most satisfying part of exterior painting is putting the finishing touches on the trim. This draws the entire house together.
The parts that I consider trim are fascia boards, gutters, vertical and horizontal pieces of wood forming bands, corner boards and door frames. Soffits can also be included if this is the look you like. Most of the time soffits are painted at the same time and the same color as the body.
Types of materials most often used for exterior trim are wood, Masonite and exterior grade MDF. Even vinyl and steel can be used as a decorative cover over other materials. All are paintable with the proper preparation and primer.
Exterior painting methods while applying the finish paint to exterior trim include brushing, rolling or spraying. Typically brushing is used but rolling can speed thing up a bit. Spraying exterior trim is done only rarely; example is painting a large Victorian with extensive amounts of wood trim.
Wood windows and doors often need some TLC. These items are constantly on the move and usually will require refinishing before the siding. It is very hard to have lasting results with old windows and doors, but it is possible.
Window and door construction can consist of wood, exterior grade MDF, steel or fiberglass. All of these materials can be painted. Wood and fiberglass can also be stained.
Painting wood windows is a very common project while most steel or steel clad windows are prefinished. These to can be painted if the factory finish has faded or a different color is desired, but I recommend staying with the factory finish whenever possible.
Many homeowners are installing new doors manufactured out of steel and fiberglass. These modern materials last a lifetime and can be stained or painted. Painting a steel door or painting a fiberglass door is a straight forward project with several application methods.
Staining and finishing an embossed fiberglass door can be a bit tricky. A few tricks will help, but patients will be the most important skill you can have. Staining and finishing exterior wood doors is much easier.
These are all good projects for the weekend warrior requiring just a little time and effort.
If you are building a new home, consider spending extra money on the exterior paint job. Often builders and customers try to save a few dollars from all of the trades. This is unfortunate especially with the exterior painting.
You will have only one chance to have the exterior painting done right. If done incorrectly it will cost you much more down the road. From the first day, the paint job is protecting your house. This protection is based on the foundation provided by the primer and caulk. If these items are inferior or missing the paint job will never be right, no matter how much you pay in the future. Each application of paint will be laid on top of this faulty foundation.
This takes its toll on your homes ability to protect and insulate, and tends to lead to higher maintenance costs in the future. If you have to make a choice, at least budget enough money for the exterior painting and have it done right from primer to finish.
If you made it this far, you might be thinking “Do I want to do this?” Although there is a lot to think about and do, be assured that anyone can correctly accomplish their exterior painting project. A lot of the effort is in understanding the steps and using common sense.
You do have a few things to think about before jumping in and starting to paint.
If you can handle any of this then go ahead and get started, but if any of the above is a problem consider hiring a qualified professional painter. Finding a painter that is right for you can be a challenge.
I have put together a few thoughts about finding a professional painter. If you already know a good painter then give him/her a call and have a thorough inspection with options, a comprehensive exterior painting proposal. Ask a lot of questions and gain a new understanding of the condition of your home and what it will take to receive a good exterior painting job.
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