Exterior Painting Tips and Tricks
Your house has endured the elements for several years and it’s time to repaint the exterior. You call painting contractors to get estimates and discover that you may need to take out a second mortgage to get the job done! Painting your home’s exterior by yourself can help you save a bundle of money, but you don’t want the end result to look schlocky!
With these tips and tricks, and a little help from Harbor Freight Tools, you can do the painting yourself and get professional results!
Plan Ahead When Painting
Sounds obvious but weather definitely needs to be taken into consideration. The last thing you want to face is a downpour in the middle of the job. Choose a dry time of the year with little to no rain and lower humidity. The quicker the paint dries, the better off you’ll be. Avoid high winds as well. Not only will it make it difficult to work and could pose a hazard (e.g. working from a ladder), but the wind can blow dirt and debris on your freshly painted surface.
Should you use a sprayer, rollers or brushes to apply paint to your house? Here are a few considerations to determine which method is best. Use a sprayer if you’re painting gutters with the trim, areas with all siding and no brick, or when staining fences and decks. You should go with a roller or brush when the wind is above ten miles per hour, painting above a roof (overspray is an eyesore), when there is simply too much to mask, or when there is only one coat to apply (prep time to spray would be less efficient). Painting trim will most often require brush work exclusively.
Use a High Quality Paint
High quality paint provides better coverage compared to cheaper paint and will also last longer thanks to advances in painting technology. You don’t want to go through all the effort of painting your house only to watch the color quickly fade. High quality paint will retain the color longer.
Another consideration is whether or not to use a primer … Prep, prime, sand and apply your color coats was the tried-and-true method for years. But with new paint technology, manufacturers are combining primer and paint into one product, which means less coats to apply. While there’s no standardized method to evaluate or rate how well a combination primer/paint will work, you can get a good idea by reading product reviews about certain brands of paint online, paying particular attention to people who have used a given product in your area.
The lion’s share of painting work is really in the prep—and the better you prep the surfaces being painted, the better the results will be. Taking a pressure washer to the exterior is a great first step to get rid of surface dirt. Once dried, scrape and sand surfaces as needed—and then scrape and sand a little more. Be sure to prep every square inch, including the trim. New paint will not adhere well to peeling paint or dirty surfaces.
Don’t Paint Rotted Materials
The old saying “put lipstick on a pig” probably came from a painting contractor. It’s futile to paint rotten wood or siding material because it will continue to deteriorate—and take your new paint with it! For small areas, you can use a wood hardener with a filler product. For large areas, consider replacing the components. Once replaced, prep as recommended above and you shouldn’t have a problem.
Combine Cans of Paint
Take individual gallons of the same color paint and mix them together in a larger container, like a five-gallon bucket, until the paint is uniform in color. Pros call this method “boxing the paint” and it helps to produce color consistency when applied.
Work from Top to Bottom
Working with gravity will help control streaks. When drips happen, and they will happen, working from top to bottom enables you to feather out in the direction you’re going, resulting in a more uniform look.
Seal Paint Properly
When you’re done for the day, seal your paint well to keep it from drying out. Lightly hammer lids shut with a rubber mallet. You can also apply plastic wrap over the opening to secure a tight seal.
Protect Your Landscaping
New paint will look great on your house—not on your hedges, lawn or flowers … Use drop cloths and either weigh them down, wrap or tie down the corners securely around the planted area, shrubs, etc.
Harbor Freight Tools is your “one-stop shop” for painting supplies and accessories, including these items:
Airless Paint Sprayer Kit
The airless paint sprayer does it all and will greatly reduce the time spent painting exteriors, decks, ceilings, doors and frames, etc. No need for a compressor, just plug it in and start painting! You can paint straight from 1 or 5 gallon buckets which makes cleanup easier. Features include a 1000–3000 PSI piston pump for high pressure and better coverage, easy pressure control twist knob, built-in filter for simple flushing and cleaning, and a No. 517 nozzle for a 12–16 inch fan width.
Heavy Duty Portable Scaffold
This scaffold is an essential tool for outdoor painting as well as interior painting, drywall work, etc. With a weight capacity up to 900 lbs., this portable scaffolding goes where you need it on smooth-rolling 5 in. dia. casters that won’t mar floors. Once positioned, the casters lock in place for stability. Additional features include heavy-duty welded steel construction, adjustable platform from 28 in. to 71-1/8 in., 30 height adjustment positions, built-in fittings for optional toe-boards and safety rails, and a 28-1/2 in. x 67 in. wooden plank.
2 Amp 5 in. Random Orbital Heavy Duty Palm Sander
Greatly reduce prep time with this orbital palm sander. The industrial fan-cooled motor delivers up to 12,500 OPM to smooth wood and get surfaces ready for painting. The sander features a comfortable rubber palm grip to reduce fatigue. The 3/32 in. orbit delivers swirl-free results. The hook-and-loop pad attachment makes sandpaper changes quick and easy.
And that’s just the beginning. Harbor Freight carries painter’s tape, scrapers, roller sets, mixers, brushes—and much more! Before you start painting, be sure to visit your local Harbor Freight Tools store.