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May 25

Tips for Exterior Painting

I have been running a successful painting company for over 15 years and below are some tips that I would like to offer to you, the homeowner, for when you are getting ready to paint your exterior home.

If you are going to hire a professional these are some things you might want to ask them about. Are these their standard practices? Which items are included and which are extras? This will make a big difference to determine if the company you are considering is a good fit for you.

If you are planning on a DIY project then these are some things you might want to consider doing yourself to prolong the life of your paint job.

Colors: We recommend applying the colors you are considering on a card board shield (a long rectangular piece of card board) This will allow you to walk around your house and view the colors in many light conditions. Once you have narrowed down the colors, it is recommended to apply a sample to the wall for final approval. Keep in mind that color charts are deceiving, the color often looks lighter once its on the wall.

The standard sheen for exteriors is flat, while doors & windows are usually semi-gloss.

We do not recommend painting a currently light colored stucco house a dark paint color, when things hit the stucco (such as resting your garbage bins against them) pieces of stucco tend to fall off and the lighter original color will show brightly through.

We do not recommend red or black doors. Red paints have too much color & not enough “stickum”. The weather strip will often pull the paint off.

Power washing: This is a quick rinse which usually takes an hour or two. Not all companies offer this but it is always a good idea to clean your home prior to applying paint to it. We suggest going around windows & doors to minimize leaking. Don’t forget to close your windows!

Protection: Pull the dirt back from around the house. In landscaped/lawn areas we recommend masking/covering the grass. Cover everything! For delicate plants stake & individually wrap them with paper (make sure to uncover them as soon as you are done to keep them alive and healthy!). Create a tent around patio covers with drop clothes to keep spray & dust contained.

Preparation: Pull & replace rusty nails & gutter screws. Apply rust block to rusty items that cannot be replaced. Prime gutters, stucco patches and raw wood.

Stucco patching: First, stucco patch big missing chunks. Address big cracks after painting. This helps eliminate ugly texture differences which can often look worse than the original crack. Use masonry glue in the stucco for excellent adhesion.

Chalky old oil garage doors: Sand, wash, prime & convert oil finishes to water-based paint. Water-based paint is flexible & doesn’t break down, turning chalky like oil.

Caulking & Back brushing: Caulk loose seams where the stucco meets wood around doors & seams on the fascia boards, etc. Caulking the under-eaves is a nice touch for aesthetics, especially if you have a light or white color where your eye can quickly go to imperfections. Spray the paint on the wood & under-eaves, then use a brush to push the paint into the cracks. Your trim should look like plastic that is impervious to water penetration. Sand thoroughly, prime raw wood, caulk the cracks and keep applying coats of paint until it is smooth. (NOTE: Caulking the under-eaves is typically an extra because it is labor intensive)

Painting: Whenever possible paint two sides of the house at a time, that way all your windows are not covered at the same time.

Clean-up: It is always nice to come home to a clean interior, they same applies to your exterior. We do our best to pick up all of our paint chips before we leave, and that is something that would make some companies stand out from others. Also, while your painter is up high, have them do a visual inspection of the roof for broken tiles.

Wrought iron: Paint iron with oil, this should be done every few years, in order to stay on top of the rust and catch it before it turns chalky.

Pricing: Having your exterior painted by a profession will typically run you about $1.75/sq ft, but there are factors that can change this such as how much peeling paint there is, the density of plants around the house, if you have wood windows, etc.

Patio covers require a lot of preparation & paint. Most cost around $1000-$2000.

Wrought iron is about $40 per 10ft section, per coat. Oil is usually just one coat because you do it every few years.

Estimated time of completion: Most 2-4000 sq ft homes take 4-7 days. Depending on how big of a crew is on the job.

Do you need to be there? Typically the only day the homeowner needs to be around is when the doors are painted.

Follow up: Ask if the company you are considering will leave you a roll of masking tape to mark any touch-ups and after 1 week or so will they return to take care of them.

Please keep in mind that with paint jobs, and most services, you get what you pay for. We often see many homes that have overspray and poor to no prep work which results in peeling paint. If you want your home to look great for a longer period, time and money typically need to be spent.

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