Angie's LIST Guide to
Exterior painting

Homes with painted wood siding can be beautiful, but require periodic maintenance. Even brick or stone homes have wooden trim around windows and doors and perhaps a porch where some painting is needed.
 

painting_450.jpg

The painting contractor tested several colors before the homeowner chose this colorful combination. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Laura M.)
The painting contractor tested several colors before the homeowner chose this colorful combination. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Laura M.)
 
 
Anonymous reviews are Internet graffiti.  Angie's List has real reviews from real people.

What is Angie's List?

Angie’s List is the trusted site where more than 2 million households go to get ratings and reviews on everything from home repair to health care. Stop guessing when it comes to hiring! Check Angie’s List to find out who does the best work in town.

Local Discounts

Daily deals up to 70% off popular home improvement projects from top-rated contractors on Angie’s List!

Pick the right paint

Although exterior and interior painting share many characteristics, the paints themselves are formulated differently. The binders and additives in outdoor paint are formulated to resist the elements well, while indoor paint most likely will not.

The materials of the home’s facade should be considered. When painting flat surfaces like siding or wood, you can opt for standard outdoor paint. When painting a textured surface like stucco or brick, “elastomeric” paint is a much better choice. This type of paint can stretch more than normal paint, which allows it to bridge over small gaps and crevices, painting smoothly over texture.

Climate is another factor to consider. Sunlight, wind, rain and salty weather can all wear out paint. Oil-based paint is durable against wind, rain and temperature changes, but sunlight tends to degrade it. Alkyd paint chalks and sheds very thin layers when it begins to wear. Latex paint is the more durable option for very sun-drenched and relatively dry climate areas. Latex paint with high vinyl content should be avoided, however. Acrylic resin is by far the more durable binder for outdoor latex paint.

Areas that are subject to a lot of moisture, like the skirting around houses, may require mold-resistant paint, like outdoor paint with fungicide added. Another specialty paint to consider is a flame-resistant brand. Paint that resists fire rather than combusting could be a life saver for homeowners in wildfire-prone areas.

Though buying high-quality, specialty paint and getting a professional to apply it can be expensive, the investment will pay off with a high-quality, long-lasting paint job. Low-quality paint often lasts half as long as high-quality paint and even shorter if it's not applied properly.

Color choices

The color scheme that is chosen for the home creates the initial impression that an individual has of the premises as a whole.  Whether complimentary or unflattering colors are selected the home will gain an identity of its own when the paint is applied.  There are many times that a homeowner misses opportunities to accentuate positive attributes that the home has to offer by failing to choose the best paint colors. 

Painting samples on the exterior can help you decide what color to paint your house, as you will get to see what they look like at different times throughout the day. (Photo courtesy of Yvonne Aguirre)

Picking a color for a house is a lot different than picking a color for a shirt or a car.  It may help to drive around to observe colors that other homeowners have combined on homes that are of similar size and design as yours.  There are also online resources that provide homeowners with the ability to create virtual makeovers of their home by combining colors together through their software programs as well. 

Take surrounding landscaping into consideration

If you have ornamental or colorful trees, shrubbery or floral selections around your home you should figure their colors into the color scheme selection that is made.  These landscaping attributes will have an effect on how appealing the property is as a whole throughout the year.  Homes that have a great deal of trees can make the property darker and cast shadows onto the home.  Individuals will want to avoid darker colors for these situations.

Accentuate the home's attractive details

Every home has details that can be accentuated for amazing looking visual appeal and first impressions.  The key is to not make the wrong details stand out.  Entryways, windows, shutters and other details on the home can be painted to make their design noticeable.  However features such as gutters, downspouts, external air conditioning systems, unevenly proportioned windows and protruding garage doors should not be completed to draw attention to them as this will provide a negative results.

Consider colors of the home that cannot be changed

There are permanent features of the home that have their own colors which cannot be changed when painting the exterior of the home but can have a dramatic satisfaction level that is experienced when the painting is completed.  Roofing shingles, paving blocks, concrete surfaces, stones and other such features are prime examples of the colors that should be considered when selecting your exterior color scheme for the home.  Homeowners can work off of these colors to make a home that looks uniform and luxurious when the exterior painting is complete.

Using color to mitigate flaws

When selecting a color scheme for the home’s exterior homeowners can choose color options that will correct flaws that they may feel exist with their home and property.  Some examples include utilizing two shades of a single color to make a home appear appropriately sized when the home may be too large or too tall.  To accomplish this effect individuals will want to place the darker tone on the upper level of the home’s exterior.  Smaller windows can appear more proportionately sized by trimming them in a lighter tone of paint.  Darker colors make a space or feature appear smaller.  The same effect can be obtained for homes positioned further away from a curb.  By using lighter tones the home will not feel camouflaged.

Preparation

Homeowners often do their own painting because it's a more accessible skill than, say, roofing or electrical repair.  But one of the most common mistakes amateur house painters make is failing to properly prepare the surface to be painted.   If there is any peeling -- and there usually is somewhere -- it's essential to scrape off any loose paint.  This doesn't just mean the parts that are already separated from the wood and ready to fall off on their own.  Each spot where paint has peeled loose needs to be scraped thoroughly until you can no longer get the sharp corner of a putty knife under any of the surrounding edges of paint.  Then, the bare spot needs to be sanded until the paint edges are smooth.  If you're not willing to put in this type of effort, hire someone.  Otherwise you will invest time and money into a paint job that won't last.

After scraping all loose paint, use a high pressure washer to remove dirt, debris and mold that are common on all homes.  Any area on the home’s exterior that shows signs of rot or damage should be replaced before painting begins.   Any bare wood from peeling or repairs should be primed before it is painted.

In addition to preparing the painting surface, you also need to protect the surrounding area from paint splatter or other damage from the work.  Cover air conditioning units, landscaping and other surfaces close to the work area with drop cloths, old sheets or blankets.  Windows and doors should be taped off, while accessories such as light fixtures, doorbells, shutters, mailboxes and other detailed features might be simply removed and put back on after the job is done.

If bushes or other plants are close to the surface area to be painted, trim them back or tie them with twine to allow space to work and to keep them from touching the paint while it's wet.

Hiring a house painter

Consider your ability, safety and cost savings when deciding whether to paint or hire a professional.

Even if you think you'll probably do the job yourself, it's good preparation to seek estimates from professional house painters.  Then you'll have a financial point of comparison and you may benefit from what a professional painter has to say about the condition of your home, color choices and types of paint available.  Let the painter make his pitch for a professional job before you decide what to do.  You can still opt to do it yourself while having learned something worthwhile.

If you have a one-story house with minimal peeling and you have plenty of time, you can probably do the job yourself and save money.  If the house is taller and/or needs significant preparation it may be wiser to hire someone to do it for you.  Consider these points:

Do you have the equipment?  Painting a house is not a one-ladder job.  You'll need a minimum of two extension ladders and scaffolding.  These can be rented, but that's another cost to factor in.

Do you want to take the risk?  Working on scaffolding is dangerous.  Professionals have experience and know what safety precautions to take.  Painting is monotonous work and after a few hours up on a scaffold it's easy to lose track of just how narrow that board is.

Will you do the preparation?  It takes a disciplined approach to properly scrape away all of those little peeling spots.  If you're not going to do this correctly, don't do it yourself.  There's no point in putting in all of this work if the paint is just going to start peeling again a few years later.

If you decide to hire a professional house painter, make sure you get three on-site estimates from reputable painters who have been in business at least five-to-ten years.  After all, even a bad paint job can look good for a few years so you want someone whose work has been proven to stand up over time.  If you are an Angie's List member, you can search for house painters in your community and look up the reviews and ratings of past customers going back several years.  (In some cities, Angie's List has reviews going back to the mid-1990s).

Comments

How about weak fascia?

Want the Best painter and honest.................

I am looking for a painter to get a quote to paint ceilings and would also be interested in getting a quote to paint exterior.

I'm looking for a house painting to get a quote to paint my house(exterior)

what do i use to cover these holes

Stucco house

My house need to be paint in the inside HELP

You placed your ad on the outside of my house in Saint Paul in June. I've been thinking about my requirements and am interested in having you do some interior painting. What are your lead times and what are your definitions of a large vs small room? Do I furnish the paint or is that included?

Look forward to hearing from you.
Ev

iam loking to have laundry room painted ceiling and 4 walls alivining room ceiling they also need to be spaceled

My handyman did a thorough and lengthy job of sanding(2 days). We then decided to paint them a dark brown rather than staining. After several coats we are not satisfied with the color being dark enough. I need someone to come in and apply another coat to achieve the color we want. I am done with the handy man.

I had hired a painter and he gave me a good price. I always brush paint has when I had it sprayed before 2 years later I had to hire another painter to do it again. I wanted it brushed. The man started working and made the comment about starting to spray the house. I said it was supposed to be brushed. If the man who came out had ever said the word "brush", he never would have been hired.

Help good painter

what preparations to be done before interior painting.

I need a quote for 5 interior rooms and 4 baths plus exterior. Looking to get started ASAP

It depends on the conditions of the rooms in queestion that need to be painted but if they are in good shape and they dont need to be plasterd then the price could range from 500.00 to 750.00 with materials

An Alhambra church playground court has need to find an experienced painting contractor to paint some Awana game lines on the concrete ground surface. Pls recommend.

Really a nice post. Thanks for sharing such a nice information with regards to the right color scheme. I want to repaint the window and doors of my house. Can i know the estimation cost.

Add comment