Painted surfaces on your home’s exterior take a beating from sunlight and the elements. Ultraviolet radiation, moisture and temperature fluctuations cause color loss, peeling and flaking, which can make your home’s exterior look shabby over the years, if not remedied.
Whether brick, stucco, wood or vinyl, follow the steps below to paint your home’s exterior and get your house looking brand new again.
Step 1: Evaluate the Exterior’s Condition
You must identify and resolve any structural problems before you pick up a paintbrush. Examine the entire surface of your house, looking for peeling, flaking paint, or wet or rotted wood and mildew. Check that vinyl siding isn’t damaged or that brick isn’t cracked, crumbling, or covered with efflorescence. You may need to use a ladder to get a close look at some areas.
Familiarize yourself with basic ladder safety procedures. Be wary of bee and wasp nests, especially when you are on a ladder.
Be very careful around overhead electrical wires, especially when moving ladders or painting around the locations where service lines attach to the house.
Step 2: Choose the Right Paint for the Job
The outside surface of your home will determine what kind of paint and primer to use. It is recommended that you use latex paints, which have higher durability on exterior surfaces than oil-based paints. Latex paint also provides better fade resistance, flexibility, chalk resistance and adhesion.
When painting vinyl siding, use True Value EasyCare® Ultra Premium Exterior Paint in Satin Finish. If you will be painting brick or stucco, paint with True Value EasyCare® Ultra Premium Exterior Masonry/Stucco Paint.
Flat and satin sheens are good for exterior siding because they have little reflection. Semi-gloss sheens are typically used for shutters and trim. Vinyl siding that is slightly dented or worn looks best when repainted with a flat sheen because it camouflages imperfections more; a satin finish is a better choice when the siding is in good condition. In addition, semi-gloss finishes are durable, easier to clean and resistant to mildew and chalking.
Once you’ve decided on your paint and colors, you’ll need to know how much to buy. When estimating, a good rule of thumb is to multiply the length of each surface by its height and add another 30 percent for good measure. Typically, one gallon of paint will cover 200 to 350 square feet. Buy more than you think you need. You can always use the extra for touch-ups.
Use the True Value paint calculator to estimate how much paint you need.
Step 3: Prepare for Painting
Before painting, take precautions so that you don’t get paint or prep debris on places that you don’t want it, including your neighbors’ property.
Use drop cloths to cover cars, patio furniture, shrubs and anything else you don’t want spattered. Although you’re painting outside, it’s a good idea to cover the ground so you don’t get paint on walkways or the yard. Remove all screens, light fixtures, plumbing outlets, electrical covers, shutters and address numbers/placards or cover them with painter’s tape before you begin.
Remove peeling or flaking paint by scraping and sanding it off. First use a large scraper to scrape off paint, then rent or buy a disc sander. Begin sanding with a coarse abrasive and then finish with a fine one. It’s particularly important to smooth the edges between the painted and scraped areas, as painting will accentuate any ridges and edges left behind.
Scraping, sanding and removing old paint may release lead dust, which is toxic. Exposure to lead dust can cause serious illness, especially in children. Pregnant women should also avoid exposure. Before you start, find out how to protect yourself by contacting the National Lead Hotline at 1-800-424-LEAD or log on to www.epa.gov/lead. Wear a NIOSH-approved respirator when scraping or sanding lead paint to control lead exposure. Clean up carefully with a HEPA vacuum and a wet mop or sponge.
Always wear safety goggles and a tight-fitting dust mask when scraping or sanding painted wood.
When using a ladder to reach high areas, invest in an adjustable ladder stabilizer that attaches to the ladder and braces onto the roof.
Remove any dirt and eliminate mildew by washing surfaces with a mixture of water, trisodium phosphate (TSP) and bleach with a long-handled brush. Then thoroughly spray surfaces with a pressure washer loaded with a mild detergent. Let everything dry completely before you start painting. When cleaning stucco homes, or if the surface is chalky or crumbly after cleaning, also apply a masonry surface conditioner.
Use TSP as directed by the manufacturer. TSP can corrode metal and damage finished wood. Be sure to wear protective goggles, clothing and rubber gloves.
Use an exterior spackling compound to repair any holes or damaged areas. With wood, it’s also important to caulk joints and cracks in areas such as trim and window frames using paintable caulk. Use an old screwdriver to scrape out any old caulk and clean the joint using a small brush. Apply paintable caulk with a caulking gun.
For brick or stucco, remove dirt, debris and mildew with water from a garden hose or by pressure washing with water and a mild detergent. Using a pressure washer is the most effective method of cleaning because of its ability to blow dirt and debris out of the tiny crevices and pores in brick and other rough surfaces. For stubborn mildew, use a bleach-and-water solution when washing the wall. Let everything dry completely before moving on.
Use muriatic acid to get rid of efflorescence (salt deposits that can form on brick and stucco surfaces). Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to prepare the acid-and-water solution. Wet the wall with water from a garden hose before applying the muriatic acid to the wall and scrubbing with a stiff brush. Allow the acid to work into the brick for approximately 10 to 15 minutes and then rinse the surface with water and let it dry before painting.
Use a paintable acrylic latex caulk rated for outdoor use to fill significant cracks in your brick. Let the caulk set and dry before painting.
Step 4: Prime and Paint
After you’ve properly prepared for painting, pour True Value EasyCare® Ultra Premium Exterior Primer/Sealer into a paint tray and coat a paint roller. Follow the “top-down” rule — work from the top of your house to the bottom to get the most even coverage. Finish with the trim. Use paintbrushes for trim, and to fill cracks and crevices. Use two coats for optimal results. Priming seals porous surface material so the topcoat won't soak in and dry unevenly, and also helps prevent peeling, rusting and bleed-through (especially on wood and concrete).
A paint roller is a great home exterior painting and priming tool, especially for stucco and brick, which can be difficult to paint over. Use a thick-nap roller for brick or stucco.
After your primer has dried for the recommended amount of time, apply True Value EasyCare® Ultra Premium Exterior Paint the same way you applied the primer. Apply two coats. Let it dry for the recommended amount of time.
Use ladder mitts to prevent paint from scraping off. Another useful product is a pot hook, which allows you to hang the paint bucket from your ladder for easy access.
Avoid ridges and lap marks on a flat surface by always stroking into the wet paint, never away from it. As you finish painting one area and move on to the next, blend each new stroke of the brush toward the wet paint previously applied so the layers blend evenly.
Go over the painted surface while it’s still wet with a dry roller when you’re done to balance coverage.
Step 5: Paint the Front Door
Accent your home’s new exterior color by painting your front door with a color that complements the new color scheme. First, remove the door from the frame and remove hardware, such as the doorknob, deadbolt, etc., or protect it with painter’s tape. Clean the door surface with mild detergent, water and a sponge. Lightly sand the surface with fine-grit sandpaper.
Prime the exterior door surface with True Value EasyCare® Ultra Premium Exterior Primer/Sealer. Apply the primer with a paintbrush. Let the primer coat dry for the amount of time recommended on the can. After the primer has dried, apply a coat or two of True Value EasyCare® Ultra Premium Exterior Paint using the same technique you used to prime it. Reinstall the door when you’re finished.
Step 6: Clean Up
Pick up your drop cloths or tarps and close up your paint cans. Dispose of used paint cans appropriately. Cleaning paintbrushes and other tools can be made easy with warm water and soapy water. Thoroughly rinse your roller covers and brushes in water until the water runs clear, then place them in a brush/roller spinner, if you have one, to remove excess liquid. Store brushes in their protective sleeves or hang them on nails or hooks. Pick up drop cloths carefully, making sure you don't spread around any paint that may have gotten on them. Next, remove painter's tape at a 45-degree angle to avoid removing any fresh paint. Remember that the longer it stays on, the harder it is to remove.
Congratulations! You’ve painted your home’s exterior, revitalizing and protecting it for years to come.
Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project successfully.