Painting the outside of our homes is something we all dread. Hiring a painter is expensive, and it's a lot of work. You can do this yourself for relatively little money. Paint and supplies are not going to add up to the thousands of dollars painters are charging. The high price tag comes from the amount of work required to get the job done. You have to be prepared to spend a couple of weekends painting.
Two story homes make the work much harder to do. An extension ladder is often all you need, but the work becomes a hassle. Make sure all areas you want to paint are accessible in safe manner. If you are not comfortable painting on ladder, it's probably a good idea to hire someone.
1) Clean the exterior
The exterior of your home needs to be clean in order for the paint not to peel off. There are a couple of ways this can be achieved. Most painters will pressure wash the exterior of your home. This fine as long as the operator is careful. No water must penetrate into the wall where it can cause mold to grow. Doing just that is easy with a pressure washer, especially when spraying upward. When you do this it is preferable to spray downward or sideways whenever possible.
A second option is to use a garden hose, a broom, and a house cleaning agent. Wet the wall down, spray on the cleaner, loosen though stains with the broom, and rinse with the garden hose.
The house cleaning agent is also recommended when pressure washing. Take care to get as much of the dirt as possible. The cleaner your walls are after cleaning, the longer the paint job will last.
2) Patch any holes and replace rotten wood
Now is the time to fix all problem areas. Replace all rotten pieces of wood and caulk all exposed seems with exterior grade caulk. Exterior grade wood putty works well for small holes and gouges.
Visually inspect all areas you are going to paint. Make sure they are free of chipping paint. If you find an area with chipping paint, take off as much paint as you can by hand. Sand the edges of the paint smooth with the bare wood.
3) Guard against drips
Cover all windows with plastic. Use painters tape to tape the plastic to the windows. This job will take some time.
Thin plastic is sufficient to cover the windows and doors. The ground should be covered with heavier material. The thin stuff tears too easily.
3) Now it's time to paint.
Choose a warm, but not hot day in spring or early summer. Rain and humidity will keep latex paint from drying properly. Check the labels on your paint can for the ideal conditions.
Be prepared to apply at least 2 coats of paint. Some brands claim a single coat is enough. If you find a brand that actually delivers on this promise, let us know.
The first coat of paint can, but does not have to be a coat of primer. Primer is necessary on bare wood, but not painted surfaces. If you are painting the house in the same color that is already on the walls you can get away without apply a primer. If you are making a drastic color change a primer will help hide the old color. A single coat of paint over a coat of primer will rarely do the job unless the primer was tinted to approximate the final coat.
In most cases 2 top coats of paint applied with a brush will be sufficient. If you choose to spray, you will need at least 3 coats. Spray guns make the job faster, but not easier. You will have to cover much more of the ground and surroundings because of overspray. You will also need a respirator and coverall. The home center will have all of this equipment for rent. Using a sprayer will make the project twice as expensive, but also 5 times faster.
If you want to do this the simple way, use a brush. This will take a long time, but you will get done eventually. Paint one section at a time, check for drips and move on. It rather simple actually.
4) Apply the trim color
Paint the trim after the other parts of the house are done. Trim work requires more finesse than painting walls. By now you will be so good at painting, that you do not need any advice. Two coats should do it.
After you are done do a walk around. You have the paint on premise now. Fixing mistakes is easy right then and there. Make sure you do this when the light is still good.
Painting your home by yourself is a easy way to safe money. Typically you can do the work for 1/10 of what a painter would charge you. It will also take you 10 times longer.