However, some water-based paints are easier to work with than others. The first coat of paint may not provide complete wall coverage, or the color may not be quite as saturated. Some of these problems can be addressed with a separate primer coat, but this is a time-consuming project. The ideal solution is using a higher-quality paint that combines a primer and a finish paint in a “one coat” product.
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:
Before hiring a painter, you should get a detailed estimate from them. This should include costs for labor, materials, paint, and the timeframe of the project. Covering details upfront will prevent issues from emerging later on. Ask the painter if they charge for travel time, whether their estimate includes pressure washing and caulking, and any other questions you might have.
On average, expect to pay $0.60–$1.60 per square foot for exterior painting. The average for painting labor across the country is $30–$40 per hour before you pay for paint, painting supplies, location costs, and equipment. To get a very general estimate, though, painting contractors will take into account the square footage of your home and the number of stories and also factor in normal prep work.
If the exterior of your home is unpainted or has been scraped and sanded, you will want to lay down a coat of primer. Make sure that the primer you’re using is right for the surface you’re painting. While most surfaces can be treated with acrylic primer, some surfaces, like cedar and redwood, require oil-based primers. The oil stops the wood tannins from bleeding through the topcoat.
Staining a deck costs $540 to $1,000. Covered porches might hit $2,000. Consider negotiating the price a bit lower by combining it with a full exterior job. Painting handrails can run anywhere from $1 to $2 per linear foot, depending on whether it’s wood, metal or some other material. Although you might think this is an easy $30 to $100 job, most painters charge a minimum fee regardless of the size of the project. You’ll probably end up paying at least $150.
Compare offers. The painter offering the lowest rate may not always be the best painter for the job. Indeed, the total cost isn't the only factor to consider when choosing between multiple bids. You'll want to look at contracts side by side to ensure you're making an apples-to-apples comparison. Are the same materials being used? Are the same services included? Does the painter provide a warranty?
Begin prepping your walls by removing any outlet covers or lighting fixtures (if possible). Next, inspect your walls for any defects. If you encounter cracks, dents, or holes in your walls, simply fill them in with caulk or spackling compound. There are also a number of DIY tips to fill nail holes. Once your repairs dry, smooth them down with sandpaper and wipe the walls down with a damp sponge.
Like the rest of your home’s exterior, you should start from the top down when painting exterior trim. If your window sills look particularly weather-beaten, you might want to give them a second or third coat of paint. When painting doors, paint the panels first, then the rails and stiles, and finally the edges. For more details, read up on trim painting guidelines.

06/14/17: Renato completed an exterior painting project for our relatively large single family home in Stamford, CT last weekend. Project did not begin well especially with the prep, repair/carpentry work, but then Renato took full control and ensured that the work done was to our satisfaction. The final result is outstanding. Minor damage to window screens, gutters and plants. Ensure that your window screens, gutters, and shutters are numbered and stored indoors or if kept outdoor covered properly against the elements. The project can be extensively delayed due to rain and you may find yourself dealing with insects and/or flooding in basement and dirty/bent/ mismatched screens/gutters/shutters. Overall we had a good team working on our project and we are satisfied with the finished product. The house looks great!

A single gallon of paint can run anywhere from $20 to $80 per gallon. Professionals get a contractor discount of anywhere from 25 to 50 percent. For rough siding, like stucco, you’ll need to use 10% to 20% more paint. Some textures, like wood and stucco, require extra paint because they have more surface to cover in a tiny area compared to smooth siding. Use the highest quality exterior paint your budget will allow for your project. It will look the nicest and save you money by offering better coverage and durability. Better coverage means fewer coats and fewer work hours. You’ll also go a few years longer without needing to shell out more cash for a new coat. How do you know how much paint you're paying for? Here's some helpful math:
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