A good exterior painting job will extend the life of your siding and trim and increase the value of your house. Learn the best techniques for applying paint quickly and thoroughly.
For applying paint to large areas of shingles, stucco or brick, buy a roller setup consisting of a heavy-duty roller cage (this is the handle part); top-quality 1/2-in. nap roller covers, one for each color (you’ll wash and reuse them); and a roller screen (Photo 4). Standard 9-in. rollers are good for large, flat areas. Buy the 7-in. size for rolling siding and other narrow areas if your house has them. You’ll also need a few clean 1-gallon paint cans and a clean 5-gallon bucket. Having a boom box on hand could just save your mind.
Load the brush by dipping about 2 in. of the bristles into the paint. Slap the brush back and forth once against the sides of the can to remove excess paint. Paint from a bucket with 2 or 3 in. of paint in the bottom rather than a full can of paint.
Lay on the paint thickly with two or three back-and-forth strokes. Don’t worry about smoothing it yet. Then reload the brush and repeat until you’ve covered about 3 or 4 sq. ft.
Smooth the paint without reloading the brush. Use long, sweeping brush strokes, working from the unpainted area toward the painted area. Lift the brush while it’s still moving at the end of each stroke.
Pour about a gallon of paint into a clean 5-gallon bucket and hang a roller screen into the bucket. Load the roller, rolling it against the screen until the roller nap is saturated and the excess paint is squeezed out.
Lay on the paint with the roller. Use moderate pressure and reload the roller when paint no longer flows off easily. Again cover about 3 or 4 sq. ft. Rolling causes paint to spatter, so be sure to protect patios, walks and landscaping with dropcloths or plastic.
Back-brush by working the paint into cracks and onto the bottom edge of shingles and siding with your paintbrush. Then brush with the grain of the wood to smooth the paint.
- Avoid painting in direct sunlight. The heat dries the paint too fast, making it nearly impossible to avoid lap marks. It can even cause blistering and peeling.
- Avoid painting on very windy days. The wind causes the paint to dry too fast and can blow dirt into wet paint.
- Don’t apply latex paint when the temperature is below 50 degrees F unless it’s formulated for cold weather application. Read the label to be sure.
- Don’t paint when there’s a chance of rain.
Avoid These Common Problems
Lap marks show up as darker areas and are caused by painting over dried paint—in essence, adding another coat. To avoid lap marks, work quickly and paint in sections small enough so the previously painted area stays wet until you can brush the newly applied paint into it. If you do end up with lap marks in the first coat, the second coat will probably cover them.
Brush marks left at the beginning and end of a brush stroke are a common problem that’s easy to avoid. Start every brush stroke in an unfinished area, at an edge, or against door or window trim. Then brush toward the finished area and sweep the brush up and off the work in the same movement. If you stop the brush and then lift it off or set the brush down on a finished area to start the stroke, it will leave extra paint, which shows up as a brush mark or darker spot.
Drips, runs and sags are best avoided by constant vigilance. Check back on your work as you go, paying special attention to inside corners and edges where paint is likely to build up and run. If the paint hasn’t begun to dry, brush out the run. Otherwise, allow the run to dry completely. Then sand it off with 100-grit paper and touch up the spot with fresh paint.
Load the brush and wiggle the tip of the brush carefully into the inside corner. Then pull it out and along one edge for about 4 in.
Turn the brush to paint the adjacent edge of the same inside corner and repeat the process. Reload the brush and remove excess paint from the bristles by laying on the paint close to, but not against, the edge you’re cutting in. Without reloading the brush, go back and paint close to the edge. Fan the bristles slightly and use a slow, steady stroke while concentrating on the line you’re painting. Complete the job by smoothing the paint in the center of the panel with long, sweeping strokes, keeping well away from the completed edge.
Lap paint slightly onto the glass as you paint window muntins and sash. Use a 1-1/2 in. angled sash brush. Wipe off most of the paint on the edge of the can for better control. After the paint dries, scrape the excess from the glass with a single-edged razor blade.
Spread paint on the panels first, working it into the corners. Smooth the paint with long strokes in the direction of the wood grain.
Spread a layer of paint on the door parts surrounding the panels. Work quickly from one end of the door to the other so you’re always brushing back over wet paint. Spread paint on about one-third of the door before smoothing it out with long, sweeping brush strokes. Then move to the next third and brush back toward the finished section. Plan the order to follow the wood grain (see numbers on Photo 10). Don’t forget to paint the top and bottom edges of the door to seal out moisture.
Paint the edges of window and door casings the same color as the siding. It looks great from the street and will save you tons of time.
Wipe excess paint from the face of the window trim with a rag before it dries. Use this same tip anywhere excess paint builds up along an edge.
Use a putty knife to press masking tape into lower corners that are likely to catch runs. Then slide a putty knife along the edge of the tape while maintaining firm downward pressure to ensure a good seal and prevent paint from leaking under the tape.
- Hold the paint can close to the surface you’re painting to reduce arm movement and minimize dripping (Photo 2).
- Learn to paint with either hand, especially when you’re working from a ladder. It doubles your reach.
- Paint doors and windows early in the day so you can close them at night.
- When you’re done painting, write the date, location and formula or name of each paint color on the lid. Then store the paint where it won’t freeze.
RSI Builders is a full-service painting company. The advantage a person has in hiring a company such as ours is that we just do not paint, we have all the applicable licenses to repair the surface first. If proper preparation is not completed, you might as well not complete the job. We paint interior, exterior, Wrought Iron, pool decking, and just about anything else that needs a new coat of paint! We use the highest quality paints from Sherwin Williams carrying up to a 15 year warranty.
(2016) Exterior Painting Tips and Techniques, Retrieved on June 6th, 2016 from The Family Handyman website: http://www.familyhandyman.com/painting/techniques/exterior-painting-tips-and-techniques/view-all
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