How to Paint the Outside of My House

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Painting the exterior of your house every few years is an important step in maintaining its visual appeal. A good paint job can also extend the life of your home's siding and trim, saving you money in the long term. Getting the job done right involves more than just applying a new coat of paint to your home's exterior. It requires careful planning and prep work. Follow the steps outlined in this guide and you will achieve professional-looking results.

Things You'll Need

  • Paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Sandpaper
  • Scrapers
  • Ladder
  • Drop cloth
  • Eye protection
  • Dust masks
  • Vapor masks
  • Work gloves
  • Bleach or professional mildew remover
  • Paint bucket

Steps for Painting Home Exteriors

  • Determine what color you want to paint your house. Your local paint dealer should have a variety of sample colors to choose from. If you want to keep the same color, bring a small piece of your siding and trim with you and your local paint store dealer should be able to match it.

  • Estimate the amount of paint you will need to complete the job. The precise formula used will vary depending on the type of surface you are painting, but the process typically involves determining the square footage of the area to be painted. Consult with your local hardware or paint store to find exactly what formula you should be using.

  • Use a scraper to remove any loose old paint from the surfaces you will be painting. Place a drop cloth beneath you to collect paint chips.

  • Fill any holes and cracks in your siding and trim using an appropriate filler or caulk.

  • Remove any mold or mildew using a bleach-water solution or a professional-strength remover.

  • Sand all surfaces to be painted smooth using sandpaper. Employ a power sander to save you time and energy.

  • Clean all surfaces to be painted using a brush or power washer.

  • Apply a coat of primer to all of the surfaces you are painting.

  • Apply a first coat of finish paint.

  • Apply a second coat of finish paint.

Tips & Warnings

  • A variety of scraping tools are available on the market today, each designed for dealing with different situations you may encounter while removing old paint. No one scraper is likely to do it all, so purchasing multiple scrapers can make the job a lot easier. When painting, start at the top and work your way down so any paint drips won't land on a surface you've already painted.
  • Never paint a wet surface, and always check the weather before you start to paint. You should paint only when dry, sunny weather is forecast for the next 24 to 48 hours. Inhaling paint dust and fumes is hazardous to your health. Always wear protective gear, including safety goggles and a dust mask when scraping and sanding, and a vapor mask when painting. Homes built prior to 1980 may contain hazardous lead paint, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Test old paint to make sure it is not made from lead. If lead paint is present, do not proceed on your own. Contact a professional who can remove lead paint safely.

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