When you get home after a long day of work (and what feels like an equally long commute), is the first thing greeting you the worn out exterior of your home? The paint hasn’t changed since 1993, and it’s starting to show. I can’t blame you for not getting around to it, painting the exterior of your home is a big job. But, it pays off big too.
If your home is going up on the market, a fresh coat of paint can attract prospective buyers. And if you don’t plan on moving, a new coat of paint not only creates a fresh, clean look, but it can protect your siding from moisture and mold damage.
If you’re ready to tackle a weekend (or two) project of painting your home’s exterior, there are some considerations you should make to ensure that you aren’t wasting your time. The last thing you need is to spend money on paint and use up your weekend, just for the paint job to be subpar. Here are my tips for making your home painting project worthwhile—the first time.
1. Pressure Wash Your House Before Painting
Now if you’re anything like me, you find pressure washing to be not only a worthwhile project for removing grime and nastiness but a truly therapeutic experience. There is something wonderful about exposing what a patio actually looks like when it isn’t totally covered in moss and dirt. In fact, I know I’m not the only one. There is an entire subreddit dedicated to pressure washing videos. Pressure washing your home is no different.
Image courtesy of kelly bell photography on Flickr (Creative Commons)
Pressure washing your home’s exterior prior to adding a new layer of paint ensures that you aren’t just painting over years of dirt, grime, and anything else that you don’t want to be trapped under a new layer of paint. Not only that, but the new coat of paint can have trouble adhering to your home’s exterior if the surface isn’t cleaned off. In addition to power washing, scraping off any especially stubborn old paint may be necessary.
2. Check The Weather
Much like washing your car, replacing a roof, or having a picnic, there are some activities that are weather pending. Painting the exterior of your home is one of those activities. Trying to paint a wet house will be a total waste of your time.
You’ll want to consider not only if there is rain in the forecast, but if humidity is high, too. The ideal weather for painting a home is when the air is dry, with little chance of rain.
3. Choose The Right Ladder For The Job
No project can be done effectively when you feel unstable, or like you’re going to fall off of a ladder. Painting is a project that requires attention to detail and a steady hand, and having to focus on balancing at the same time will only result in a mediocre job that will result in you having to repaint sooner than you’d prefer.
Image courtesy of ocean yamaha on Flickr (Creative Commons)
The consequences of falling off a ladder can be massive, especially if you’re trying to paint a two-story house. There are a variety of ladders to choose from, and you’ll want something that isn’t too small, but also one that isn’t overkilled for your project. Check out this ladder safety guide to find what option is a good fit for your project.
4. Paint From Top To Bottom
Nothing looks tackier (and is more noticeable) than a giant streak of paint down a wall. This happens one of two ways. Either your 7 years old couldn’t resist getting in on the painting action, and you begrudgingly handed him a paintbrush, or you painted from the bottom of the wall to the top. Though it may seem obvious, painting your home’s exterior from the top down will ensure that the paint is even and no drips or streaks wreck havoc on your project.
You really don’t want to repaint a section or have to scrape of thick chunks of paint when you go to repaint another 20 years from now.
5. Don’t Forget The Door!
When you’re painting your home’s exterior, you may find yourself in a debate with your spouse about whether or not you should paint the front door. My parents recently painted their 90’s home for the first time, and the biggest question was whether or not to paint the door. And if so, what color?!
Image courtesy of Nicole Beauchamp on Flickr (Creative Commons)
If you’re painting your home with plans to put it up for sale, painting the door can make a surprisingly effective impact. Your red door could be the difference between a buyer choosing your home or someone else’s, just because your home will be remembered as the “house with the red door”. It seems silly, but it can make a difference!
And if you aren’t moving anytime soon, a painted door can eliminate those nasty scratches and fingerprints that your kids have so lovingly left behind.
6. Protect Your Shrubs
Though covering up any nearby plants with tarps won’t necessarily make your paint project any more successful, it will prevent the final product from looking like you literally slapped paint all over the place.
Topiary and flowering shrubs with paint flecks all over them will look more like a scene from Alice in Wonderland than a successful curb appeal-boosting weekend project.
7. Consider A Pro
If you’ve read all of these tips and have found yourself wondering, “is this project even in my wheelhouse?”, then perhaps you should consider hiring a pro. Of course, hiring someone for your paint job will be considerably more expensive than doing it yourself, but you’ll have the luxury of being rest assured knowing that the project will be done correctly.
If you’re on the fence about whether or not hiring a pro is worth the money, check out the benefits of hiring someone else to do it.
Bio: Leigha Steffenhagen is the Managing Editor of Insteading.com, a Seattle-based homesteading and sustainability site focused on everything from raising chickens and gardening to off-grid living and tiny homes.