Exterior Painting Tips

Exterior Preparation and Painting Tips

The exterior of your home is what visitors and passers-by see first and what neighbours see just about every day. What your home looks like will also have a huge bearing on the price you can ask for it should you wish to sell.

Good Preparation is Vital

  • It’s impossible to emphasise this point enough. Proper preparation of all the surfaces to be painted is absolutely crucial and skipping a step here will lead to complications later on. Bear in mind that different sides and different areas of the exterior walls will probably require different processes. North-facing walls will probably tend to dry quicker after rain so fungicides may not be necessary in the paint. On south-facing walls, however, algae may be a problem in which case you will need to prepare the surface with this in mind.
  • Kill off mildew with either a suitable product or use bleach and water – ensure that you wear protection! Also wear rubber gloves when using sugar soap to wash down surfaces.
  • Given the fact that the exterior of your home is exposed to the weather 24/7/365, it will collect dust and other wind-blown material which needs to be cleaned off. Apart from a general hosing down, investing in a pressure-cleaner could be a good idea; it will remove even the most stubborn dirt. Beware however, as even one with a pressure of 100kpa will produce a jet strong enough to eat away at plaster – imagine what it will do to bare skin!
  • Use a wire brush to remove loose paint that resists even a pressure cleaner and then finish off with the pressure cleaner.
  • Fill in cracks and holes with an exterior filler. Since the spackled finish is often smoother than the surrounding surface, when the filler is still not quite dry, tap it lightly with the bristles of the wire brush to stipple the surface.
  • If you have varnished wooden window frames and doors, sand them down and apply the finish of your choice. You may need to apply two coats, depending on the state of the wood and the amount of sanding that you do. Lightly sand the surfaces before applying the last coat, so that it adheres properly to the previous coat.

When to do it and doing it!

  • As with the interior, start by painting the window frames and doors. If you are using a varnish or oil-based paint, allow time for the surfaces to dry completely (don’t begin before about 10 or so in the morning on west-facing sides of the house) Follow up by painting with a brush, around the door and window frames, in a band about 50mm or so, feathering the outer edge to avoid a band being formed. You will then be ready for the walls themselves.
  • Painting the exterior should be done only when the temperature is between 10°C and 35°C. It is also not a good idea to apply the paint in full sun as it can make the paint dry too quickly and cause it to ripple (this applies to woodwork finishes as well) Rather, follow the shade; apart from other reasoning, it will also be more comfortable for you.
  • If using a water-based paint, the surfaces need not be completely dry however, if the paint that you are using happens to be oil-based, then the surfaces must be completely dry; even a little bit of moisture trapped under the finished wall will cause it to blister and eventually peel.

Shopping List

  • Bleach
  • Rubber gloves
  • Sugar soap
  • Wire brush
  • Pressure cleaner
  • Exterior filler
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint Roller & Tray
  • Paint
  • Varnish
  • Ladder
  • Turpentine

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