8 Tips You Should Know Before Painting Your Home's Exterior

Stephanie Shaykin
Updated June 25, 2021
home exterior featuring light blue painted siding and green landscaping
tab62 - stock.adobe.com

Follow these eight exterior house painting tips to renew the face of your home like a pro

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The exterior of your home is what people see when they drive by, so it's essential to maintain its beauty and extend the life of your paint. Painting your home’s exterior can not only make it look new, but also keep it fresh and extend its life by protecting it from sun exposure. 

Looking to upgrade your home’s facade? You should know a few things before starting this project that will save you not only time but the cost to paint a house.

1. Plan to Paint Around the Weather

Do you live in a dry desert area or a subtropical climate? Depending on the region you live in, you should always pick a dry time of year for painting. 

Painting your home's exterior can be tricky because the conditions must be just right. For best results, paint on days with low humidity and temperatures above 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If a surprise rainstorm crops up, give yourself a buffer of a few days to complete the project.

2. Know the Environment

Consider the weather year round when determining your paint choices, too. Both oil-based and alkyd paints are durable against climate factors like rain and salt. But sunlight will degrade oil-based paint. 

Latex is more durable in sun-drenched areas with a relatively dry climate. You should avoid latex paint with a high vinyl content in these areas, though. Acrylic resin is more durable when used as the binder for outdoor latex paints and will last longer outdoors.

Specialty paints for the exterior surfaces take into account moisture or heat, which many homeowners consider a better alternative to standard exterior paint.

3. Choose Quality Over Quantity for Paint and Tools

A sound investment for any homeowner is to invest in high-quality, specialty paint. Low-quality paint usually lasts half as long, though it may cost less upfront. 

The tools you choose will also help determine how well the paint holds up in the long term. Choose the right tools such as:

  • A couple of synthetic-bristle brushes to apply latex paint; choose a 4-inch straight bristled brush and an angled sash brush

  • A heavy-duty roller cage with a corresponding roller sleeve to paint large areas like shingles, stucco, or brick

  • A typical 9-inch paint roller for more evenly distributed coverage on flat surfaces

  • An extension ladder for reaching high places

  • Rags and dish soap for easy removal of messy spots

A Note on Paint Sprayers

You might consider using a paint sprayer for application instead. Remember, you should always proceed with caution on a new tool like this.  First-timers may have a hard time applying the paint as it may take some trial and error. 

Also, the prep work may require more time to complete the project than a paint roller would take. If you are a first-timer wanting this paint treatment, it may be wise to contact an exterior paint company near you that does paint sprayer exterior home application.

4. Decide on a Color Scheme

Every home has a personality from the inside out. A color scheme for your home will provide character and accentuate its details just as an artistic painting does. Approach picking the colors for your exterior house paint with care and take these variables into account:

Landscaping

Consider the trees, shrubs, and florals surrounding your home for curb appeal when picking paint colors. Be sure to avoid dark colors if you have many trees which can darken the property and cast shadows on your home. 

Driving around to see what people have done with similar home styles to yours can help to give you inspiration. You can also find plenty of online resources that offer virtual makeovers. That way, you don't paint yourself into a corner by making paint choices you’re unsure about.

The Details of Your Home’s Exterior

When you paint the exterior of your home, some specific details and features should be emphasized, such as shutters and entryways. In addition, particular areas of the house, like gutters or AC units, should not stand out.

Colors That Must Stay

Some colors are more important than others when you take into account a home's permanent features. You can't paint brick or stone in different colors, for example. So when selecting a color scheme, pull from these portions to draw inspiration. 

5. Prep Before You Paint

You can take these steps to prep your home for a fresh coat of paint:

  • Cover air conditioners, landscaping, and other close surfaces with drop cloths or old sheets

  • Mask windows and doors with painter's tape

  • Remove anything you don't want the paint to get on, such as external lights, doorbells, and shutters. They can go back on after the job is over

  • Ensure any vegetation near the area you’re painting has been trimmed back or secured with twine to allow room to work

  • Ensure that all dirty spots, rotting, and peeling surfaces are either scraped off, trimmed, replaced, or sanded

exterior of small house with yellow painted siding, green grass, and concrete sidewalk
Iriana Shiyan - stock.adobe.com

6. Always Use Primer for Exteriors

Traditional house painting rules recommend that you should always apply a sand and primer coat. Today, some brands have combined those steps into one product at a higher price point.

The higher cost is offset by how well this paint sticks and how evenly it goes on to the surface. Ask a trusted resource at the store where you purchase your paint or check reviews on their website.

7. Start From the Top

One helpful way to avoid streaking is to start to apply coats of paint to your home by painting from the top and working your way down. This way, gravity will be on your side. Though drips will happen, you can always fix them as you go down each time. 

As you go, remember to work by overlapping sections to keep the paint wet and avoid dried film, which could buckle.

8. Maintain Your Home's Exterior

To extend the life of a good paint job, inspect the caulk and replace any painted surface that is cracked or missing, and remove mold or mildew. Finally, don't forget to keep surfaces clean. Wash off stains from nesting birds and pollen, and touch-up blisters on your paint job before they spread.

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