Prime. Dark colors, stains (once sealed), and previously unpainted surfaces (drywall, spackle, etc.) will need a primer coat, usually white. NOTE: most paint stores & home improvement centers will now tint primer (at no charge) to match fairly close to the color of the finished coat, that way two coats of primer need not be applied.[6] Although not all surfaces need a prime coat, skip this step at your peril! Dark colors will likely show through the first -- or even the first couple-- topcoats of paint. Sealants and unpainted surfaces like spackle patches will absorb or repel moisture in a topcoat at a different level than the areas surrounding them. Applying a good primer coat will help even out these differences. Primer equalizes a wall to a uniform surface. It's like erasing a canvas before drawing a new picture. Although some will argue the point, you generally don't need to spend a great deal on primer or buy special primer. A cheap, 5 gallon (18.9 L) bucket of plain, flat white paint will usually do the trick and cover a large area. Give your primer at least 24 hours to dry (follow its instructions) before applying a topcoat.
Repainting is key to maintaining exterior house paint. The material that your home is made of affects how often you should repaint. For instance, wood-paneled homes need to be repainted twice as often as those made of stucco. Environmental factors also play a role in how often you should repaint, since harsh climates can be hard on a home. As a general rule of thumb, homeowners should repaint their home every six to ten years.
Painting exterior windows depend on the size of the window and the number of panes. To calculate the price for windows larger than 15 sq. ft., add 1’ to each side of the window and then multiply width x length. Add two sq. ft. for each window pane for painting the mullions, muntins, and sash and then multiply your total sq. ft. by $84/100 sq. ft. So a 4’ x 4’ window with 4 panes will come to a total of 44 sq. ft. x $84/100 sq. ft. = $37.

Another type of paint is on the market that claims to be a primer and paint in one. Basically, it’s just thicker paint and costs twice as much as regular paint. Most professional painters aren’t fans, but if you have exterior walls in excellent condition already, and the self-priming paint is the same color as the original paint color, it could certainly save painting time with one coat going on instead of two.

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.


Homeowners report that painting a home’s exterior costs an average of $2,923 with a typical range between $1,734 and $4,119. The average price per square foot ranges from $0.50 to $3.50 depending on your location, condition of your exterior and accessibility. Stucco and brick cost an average of $1 per square foot more than vinyl or wood. The average 2,500 square feet home costs an average of $4,000, though it can range from $1,250 to $8,750.
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