Most house painting professionals will agree that two coats of paint are needed on a home. Using one coat of paint may look sufficient, but will not hold up over time. Two coats of paint, on the other hand, provide protection, washability, and help retain the true color of the paint. If you are still toying with the idea of hiring a professional painter, ask if two coats of paint are included in the pricing estimate.
Carefully consider the gloss level. The shiny gloss paints are easy to clean, but will make any wall blemish stand out. The flat paints will help disguise wall blemishes, but can be difficult to clean. Generally, you'll want glossier paints where there's lots of steam or cooking (baths and kitchens) and in high-traffic areas. Flatter paints are preferred for large walls and ceilings.
Prep work should include removing all loose paint, either with a pressure washer or by scraping; removing any trace of mildew using bleach and water or a commercial solution, and sealing or covering dark stains; caulking all seams, corners and around windows or trim; applying epoxy filler to repair serious woodwork problems; covering dark stains; sanding all rough surfaces, and priming the bare wood with a bonding primer.
While you may choose to paint a door, ground-level window trim and other parts of your house’s exterior, it’s really a job best left to the professionals. One of the main reasons is experience. An experienced painter knows how to handle the prep work, spot problems and identify sources of future trouble, all while getting the job done more efficiently. They are also experienced with spending long hours on tall ladders. If you want high-quality work, it’s best to hire a professional painter near you.
The following guidelines will set you up for success. First, start at the top and work down. Second, paint out of the sun’s glare, since the sun will cause the paint to dry too quickly and flake or blister. To avoid marks, try to brush from one wet surface onto another. If you do have to paint onto a dry surface, overlap the wet paint onto the dry surface by several inches.
Whether you decide to do the preparation work yourself or have a professional do it as part of your project, proper preparation makes all the difference in creating a smooth and lasting finish. Do it correctly the first time or you’ll quickly end up spending more to fix peeling and chipping paint. Follow this process before starting on your home's exterior. Keep in mind that the process may vary based on your siding materials:
When painting a carpeted room, keep in mind that paint will soak through drop cloths. This is especially true of the cheaper, lightweight cloths. It helps to tape masking paper to all of the base boards before laying the drop cloths. Tuck the edges of the cloth under the paper--this will help keep it clean. You might want to invest in a hand-held masking machine--they make the job go much faster. Even after taking these precautions make sure to clean big drops or spills before they soak through and before you step on them!
Paper drop cloths: $3 to $5 for 9x12-feet. Paper drop cloths provide a cheap way to cover furniture or windows while painting small, indoor jobs, such as touching up window trim. They're absorbent and textured to hold paint. When you're finished, you can just fold them up and throw them away. However, paper cloths are not the best option for protecting floors since they can tear easily.
While many professionals use paint sprayers, they can leave drips and uneven coatings in the hands of an inexperienced user. If you’re set on DIY house painting but don’t have much practice, you may want to stick to rollers and brushes. Brushes are great for edges and smaller areas, while rollers can be used to paint large and long surfaces like siding and trim.
Test different paint swatches. The last thing you want to do is paint a whole room and then decide you despise the color (yes, it happens!). Try out different paint colors on the surface before choosing the paint that you want. Buying sample sizes will help you save money. The caveat: paint color samples are not real paint, so if you try to finish or touch up a project with samples, the paint will fade.
Paint can be expensive. Buying too much paint is particularly frustrating since paint stores won’t refund an already tinted gallon of paint. That’s why it’s recommended to first buy around 80% of the estimated paint you need and then purchase the remainder when you’re almost finished. Factors such as square footage, surface type, and quality of paint all play into how much paint you’ll need. Paint stores should be able to help you determine how much paint you need for a specific job. If you aren’t sure how much paint to buy, ask a salesperson for advice.
Each type of siding will need to be treated differently when it comes to primer and paint at different price points. Exterior paint costs between $35–$80 per gallon depending on the quality you choose. It’s not always true that the more you pay for your paint, the longer-lasting your paint job will be, but you do need to be careful when researching exterior paints to make sure it can weather the local elements well.
If you have two weeks, a ladder and some experience, this makes an excellent DIY project. On most surfaces, it is forgiving of mistakes and easy to work with. Correcting mistakes only adds more time and not much more expense. However, a professional will get it done faster and with a better finish. If you don’t have 2 to 3 weeks to spare, find a professional painter near you today.