ARA Nothing protects a home's exterior like a new coat of paint. Why then do so many of us put off this task? What seems complicated can be easy with a little planning and the right tools.
"Keeping the outside of your home looking clean and new is the best way to increase curb appeal as well as your own enjoyment outdoors," says Tom Gessner, product manager for Wagner Spray Tech, an industry leader in painting technology. "Don't be intimidated; plan ahead and do-it-yourselfers will be painting like pros in no time."
Keep these steps in mind while painting your house:
Remove peeling paint and dirt by sanding, scraping or pressure washing the surface. Patch small cracks and seams with caulk and add primer to any bare wood. Remove shutters and cover windows, doors, the ground around the house, bushes, flowers, trees, deck etc.
When selecting primer, choose a breathable oil primer to allow moisture buildup from inside the house to escape.
Choose a color that will compliment the existing features in your yard such as the roof, doors, railings, brick or other surfaces that will not be painted.
Dark colors require more maintenance because they fade quicker and are more difficult to touch up. Remember that light colors will make objects seem larger while dark colors will make them seem smaller, but can be used to draw attention to detail.
In terms of sheen, glossy surfaces are easier to clean, however, the glossier the surface, the more likely it is to show imperfections.
Don't forget to test your color in a small area before you paint -- colors will almost always look different on the surface than what you imagine.
Cover the primer with two coats of 100 percent acrylic latex paint to resist mildew and hold color best. Avoid painting if rain or very high humidity is predicted within 24 hours and be sure to finish early enough for the surface to dry before evening dew sets in.