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Freshen Up Your Home With New Exterior Paint

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There is no quicker way to transform the appearance of your home than with a fresh coat of paint. The freshness and cleanliness of the new coat, plus a potential change in color, can make your home look dramatically different and better. If you plan on painting the exterior of your home, we have some tips to help you along the way. And, as always, we recommend a reliable TrustDALE certified painter, so your project comes with excellent customer service, competitive pricing, and astonishing results.

DIY vs. Professional Painting

If you're just painting a room in your home, many homeowners opt to do the job themselves. However, when it comes to painting the exterior of your home, there's a lot to consider before you decide to go it alone or hire help.

The Scale of the Paint Job

The first thing to consider is the scale of the paint job. Depending on the size of the room, painting a room in your home can take anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days. There is no need to worry about the weather, and most parts of the wall are easy to reach with a standard step ladder. However, an outdoor paint job can get a lot more complicated.

First of all, there's a lot more wall to cover than painting a room in your home.

Second, the weather can play a significant role in your painting plans. Weather that is too hot, too cold, or too humid can affect how paint dries. And if it rains before your paint is completely dry, you may have to start all over.

Third, if your home is more than a single story, you will need an extra-tall extension ladder. While climbing a ladder may not scare you, painting while holding onto a ladder twenty feet or more off the ground can be dangerous. And you will have to keep moving the ladder as you paint the wall. This effort alone may be enough to put DIY exterior painting out of reach for many homeowners.

Finally, exterior painting is more complicated because you don't just paint walls. Many exterior paint jobs require painting trim, intricate decorative pieces, columns, railings, and stairs. And if you plan to paint a porch or steps, you need to use a paint with added grit so that the surface isn't too slippery to walk on.

All of these considerations make painting the exterior of your home a much, much bigger job than painting a bedroom or living room. If you aren't ready to spend several long days on the project, hire help.

The State of Your Home's Exterior

Painting a newly constructed home is a mostly straightforward project. All you have to do is prime, paint, and let it dry. But most homeowners are painting a home that already has aging paint on it. 

The most basic preparation to paint your home is a full cleaning of the surface you're about to paint. In most cases, a power washer will do the trick. But if the paint is bubbling or peeling in some spots, the paint will need to be removed, and the area sanded. You need to inspect the entire exterior of your home and remove any paint the is not perfectly flat. This can be done by scraping or sanding. If you plan to sand, you will need appropriate protective gear. For hand sanding, you will need a dust mask, but power sanding requires a full respirator.

Paint removal can become much more complicated if your house was built before 1978 and may have lead paint. Even though the home has been painted multiple times since 1978, lead paint dust can come off with scraping and sanding. If your house was built before 1978, you can remove a few flecks of paint and send them to a lab for testing. Many labs can tell you if your home has lead paint for under $50. If you do have lead paint, you will need to hire professionals who have the right tools and protective gear to deal with the toxic dust.

If any part of your siding or trim is rotting or damaged, you need to fix the damage before you paint. In some cases, parts might need to be replaced. Less extensive damage can be repaired with epoxy or caulk.

How Long Will It Take

Painting a room in your home can be done over a weekend. Painting the exterior of your home can take significantly longer if you do it yourself. While professional painters may complete the job in a couple of days, it is unlikely you will be able to do that yourself. The prep, including removing paint, fixing damaged walls, laying tarp, clearing the area, taping off some areas of the home, and other jobs are labor-intensive and can take many hours or even multiple days. If you aren't ready to spend several days on the job, it's better to hire professionals.

Selecting Paint

There are two primary considerations to selecting paint, the color and the type of paint.

Choosing a Paint Color

Choosing a color for your home's exterior is probably the most significant decision you will make in the home painting process. While the color doesn't have a direct effect on the durability and longevity of the paint job, it will obviously be the most apparent result of your project. Before you choose a color, you should consider a few things. First, if you live in an area covered by a homeowners association, there are likely regulations about what colors you can paint your home. Make sure you know what colors are approved or prohibited. If you ignore the rules and use a prohibited color, you may end up having to repaint in an approved color.

Even if you don't live in an HOA area, look at the homes around you for inspiration. If everyone in your neighborhood has neutral and earth tone exteriors, it may be ill-advised to stray too far from that palette. While it may be tempting to have the purple house or some other standout color, your neighbors may not be as happy. An unusual paint color can also affect the salability of your home. So if or when you plan on selling, you may have to repaint in a more neutral color.

The Type of Paint to Use

The type of paint you use is also a very significant decision. If you hire a painter, they can help advise you on the best paint for your project. In general, it doesn't make sense to choose the cheapest available paints. You could save money upfront, but you will pay for it down the line when you have to repaint your home after just five or six years. Most professional painters now use high-quality latex paints. Latex doesn't try as stiff as oil-based paints, so it can shrink and grow with your siding. However, some woods like redwood and cedar require oil-based paints to prevent resin from seeping out and causing stains. Also, high-traffic areas like steps and porches do better with oil-based paints, which are more durable than latex.

Choosing a Painter

If choosing a color is the most significant decision you'll make in painting your home, selecting a painter is a close second. You can pick a beautiful color and quality paint, but if your painter does a poor job, none of that matters. You want a painter who will do a good job, keep your home clean, and not charge you an arm and a leg.

Before choosing a painter or any contractor, it is always a good idea to get at least three estimates. Make sure you get a detailed estimate that includes the cost of labor, materials, paint, repairs, and any other work the painter thinks is necessary to paint your home. You should also clarify what work will be expected of you, the homeowner. It may be as simple as moving some outdoor furniture out of the way. Or it may be as comprehensive as making all the repairs to the rot, cracks, and divots before the painters arrive. In general, the more you do, the less you will have to pay the painters. On the other hand, having qualified painters do the whole job saves you time and ensures everything is done right.

Once you have a reasonable estimate, check the roofer's credentials. Do they have the proper insurance and licenses? If anyone is injured during the painting job, it is crucial that your painter has the right insurance, or you could be stuck with the bill. Also, ask for references from other homeowners whose homes the painter painted. Call up two or three references to verify the quality of the work.

And if all of this sounds like a lot of work to go to, there's an easy way to skip it. When you use TrustDALE to find a painter or any other professional, Dale has done the work for you. With his trademark 7-point investigative review, Dale ensures that every business in the TrustDALE Circle of Excellence is outstanding in their field. Dale checks for any history of customer complaints or lawsuits, verifies real customer references, compares prices and warranties, and much more so that you don't have to. You can find a TrustDALE certified painter in your area here.