Keys to painting the exterior of your home

It is a good idea to hire professional painters to paint the exterior of a home. Unlike interior jobs, outside jobs should be completed in one complete step versus breaking the job down into intervals. Weather can be a defining factor and a company can make use of available good weather more efficiently than a do-it-yourselfer, but competent DIYers can save themselves thousands of dollars by doing the job themselves. The job will be broken down into parts that can be tackled over only a few weekends. Updating the exterior paint scheme adds so much beauty to a home that 2 or 3 weekends of work is worth it.


To ensure your exterior painting project goes smoothly, follow these steps:

Assess the Current Exterior

The first step is to determine if there is lead paint present. Homes built before 1978 likely contain lead paint. A homeowner can abate their lead surfaces without the need for special permits, but there are steps to keep everyone, including neighbors, safe from airborne lead particles. First, wear protective gear for air and skin protection. Be careful to contain dust and particles with a vacuum outfitted with industrial HEPA filters. It is often recommended to not disturb the lead paint and cover it with lead blocking primers before recoating. This is the preferred method, but individual codes and statutes will need to be consulted.

Prep your Canvas

Paint cannot adhere to the substrate if the smallest coating of dust is present. Which is why you’ll want to wash the structure before you begin painting. Washing will also allow you to assess any damage that needs addressed before painting. A hose with a pressure nozzle can be used if there is no peeling paint, but a pressure washer can combine the washing and paint scraping step. If a common hose is used, it may be necessary after washing to scrape and sand down any peeling paint. In addition, if there are any places that the wood or substrate is exposed, a primer may be necessary. If the prior paint job was done well, there may be no damage and in this case, a primer coat may not be needed. After all damage is addressed, and the structure is washed and primed, all caulking should be done.

Choose a Good Exterior Grade Paint

You should be careful to choose the best paint possible. The difference in good paint and cheap paint is that cheap paint has a lot of added water. This causes more work because more coats will be needed. Good paint will coat and adhere evenly and completely. This will save work, time and present a more durable and professional paint job. You also want to make you apply a top coat. There are paints that claim to be one coat applications, but there are not many paints available that give complete coverage in a single coat. In order to have the complete protection and vibrancy that good paint provides, a two coat application is recommended. The really good professional companies will always use a two or more coat application method.

Tim Smith writes for Modernize.Com.

Erin Emanuel


  1. I agree that getting a professional to paint the exterior of my house is probably the best way to go, though I do plan to pick the paint myself and so I really appreciate your tips for doing that. Keeping an eye out for cheap paint that has a lot of water added is definitely something to avoid, especially as the need for more coats means a higher labor cost. However, I’ll keep in mind that, either way, two coats will be necessary for proper application, as you said.

  2. It’s a bit shocking that paint won’t stick to a surface if that surface is dirty. My home is rather old and some of the paint needs to be redone. These tips will help me prepare for the residential painter I might hire, so thank you for sharing them.

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