If you are planning to paint the exterior of your home, your first decision is do I hire a painter or do the job myself. More than half the cost of using a professional painter is labour so doing the job yourself can be a big savings. Painting your home is a dreaded and labour intensive job but a little preparation and hard work can produce very satisfying results.

If you decide to do the job yourself the following tips will help produce a great looking cost effective job.

Tips:

1. Tools and Equipment

Using the proper tools will help produce a safer and higher quality job. Make sure you use the correct ladder or scalpel for the job. Follow the recommendations for ladder and scalpel safety. Most ladders have warning labels posted on the ladder.

Use a good quality brush and roller. Good quality tools last longer and help make the job easier. Make sure you have drop cloths readily available to cover areas that need protection such as sidewalks, driveway, porches, patios, decks and shrubbery.

2. Surface Preparation

Surface preparation is a critical step to producing a quality, professional looking job. All damaged wood should be repaired. Use a paint scrapper, putty knife and sander to remove all flaking, peeling and blistering paint. Minor damage to wood surfaces and be repaired with a quality wood repair product from your local building supply store. I recommend using goggles, gloves and dust mask while scrapping and sanding. This is hard time consuming work but it will help produce and outcome that will make you proud.

3. Choosing Paint

Choose high quality paint. Choosing a lesser quality paint may save you a few dollars now but you will pay over time. A high quality paint is easier to apply, easier to maintain and more durable than the cheaper paints.

4. Painting the Exterior

Paint from the top down to avoid dripping paint on surfaces you have already painted. Start with the gutters, fascia and eaves and work your way down the wall surface. Using a good quality 4 or 5 inch brush will make for an easier faster job. Check for and correct drips and runs as you go along.

Painting the main walls can be painted with a brush, roller or both. If you have grooved siding, the grooves should be painted first. Paint the grooves in a 4 to 5 food section and then roll or brush the flat surface before moving to the next 4 to 5 foot section. If you have lapped siding paint the underside of each lap in a 4 to 5 foot section and then roll or brush the flat surface before moving to the next 4 to 5 foot section.

5. Painting the Exterior Trim, Windows and Doors

I recommend using a 2 or 3 inch angled brush to paint trim. Paint in line with the woods grain to accomplish a smoother finish.

When you are Painting windows, paint the stiles, rails, casing and then the sill. There is no need to mask the glass when painting window or door glass. Paint should lap onto the glass by about 1/16 inch. Clean up any excess paint on the glass by wrapping a cloth over the end of your putty knife while the paint is still wet. Any paint you miss can be easily cleaned up with a razor blade after it dries.

Painting doors in much like painting trim and windows. Paint in the direction of the wood grain if the door is made of wood. Paint the insert panels and panel mouldings first making sure to get paint into the joints and creases. Now paint the rails, vertical stiles and mullion. Don’t forget to put a drop cloth under the door or better yet, take the door down and place it on sawhorse to do your painting.

6. Clean Up

Always clean your brushes thoroughly immediately after painting. The cleanup will be much easier and a clean brush will last much longer.

Cleanup will depend on the paint you use for the job. Latex paints are cleaned with soap and water while oil based paints are cleaned with paint thinner or any solutions recommended for cleaning oil based paints. Never pour paint thinner or excess paint down the drain or onto the ground. Check with your local government for proper disposal.

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