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DIY House Painting – Painting the Exterior of Your Home the Easy Way

house painting

With Spring here if you are selling your Waterloo Region home it’s curb appeal is more important than ever. And if the exterior could really use a lick of paint now is a great time to get that particular project underway.

The cost of having this done professionally is ..well, not cheap. The good news is that you don’t really have to be an expert on do-it-yourself. You’ll need a few weekends, some advance planning and, of course, some great paint, but by choosing the DIY route you’ll save yourself money, as the project should come in at around a fifth of the cost of a professional job.

Not sure how to go about all of this? Here’s a basic step-by-step guide:

Weekend 1 Day 1 – Wash Time

Before you even add a single lick of paint you need to ensure that the surfaces you will be painting are as clean as possible. For the exterior of a home, the easiest way to achieve this is by making good use of a power washer.

In addition to this, you’ll need some buckets, a good all-purpose cleaning solution, scrubbing brushes, and, very importantly, protective eyewear.

Begin by soaking the entire house once to loosen any debris. To avoid damage stand about ten feet back and for windows and doors dial down to the lowest setting on the power washer or do them by hand.

Once everything has had a good soak do another once over and if necessary, tackle any visible lower level staining that remains by hand with those scrubbing brushes.

Weekend 1 Day 2 – Repair Time

Once the house is cleaner you should be able to see all of the things that need fixing and repairing far more clearly. So day two should be spent doing that as well as on getting the surface ready for its new paint:

  • Using a sanding block and razor blade, remove any protruding burrs or paint drips. To speed up the job, use a rotary tool or power sander.
  • Patch and fill holes with the filler that’s appropriate for your siding. For example, you can use wood filler on wood, but fiber cement siding (sometimes known as Hardie Board) requires cement patch. Sand when dry.
  • Replace old caulk with either a small putty knife or painter’s tool. Apply the caulk slowly for a smooth bead, using a damp rag to wipe up the excess. Practice in an inconspicuous area if needed.
  • Replace any rotted trim or siding immediately. This will definitely add some time and cost to your project, but it sure beats painting over rotted wood and a colony of termites.
  • Start applying primer, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Even if you plan on painting with a two-in-one paint that includes primer, old paint jobs, and stained areas will still need a layer of primer to help the paint adhere.

In the meantime, do some planning. Decide on a paint palette with two or three colors (base, trim and accent) and get ready for the fun part next weekend.

Weekend 2 – Paint Time!

This weekend it’s time for the big stuff. If possible, if you will be going up high rent a paint tower in order to reach as they are far more stable and secure than ladders. If you do have to do things the ‘old-fashioned way’ ensure that you have a lookout and ladder holder at all times.

A paint sprayer will be the fastest way to go but you should practice with it first, as getting an even coating can be hard. Painting with long rollers with take more time but you may get a far more even result.

Day One

Paint the siding

This can be done in the afternoon or evening, so tackle the job in sections. Shake and stir the paint before you begin for even coverage.

Cover light fixtures, doorbells, and windows where you intend to paint and use an angled brush to paint along edges without making a mess. Use a roller to fill in the broad areas, working from top to bottom.

Day Two

Second coat time.

Weekend 3 – The Devil is in the Details

Now that your home has a nice new coat it’s time to get down to those all-important details that will make more of a difference aesthetically than you might imagine. It’s time to paint the window sills, the trim and, of course, the front door (even if you aren’t changing the colour)

This is also a good time to consider adding a few extra staging details. Shutters on the lower windows perhaps? (even if they are of the faux variety) New house numbers? A new door handle or a new porchlight? Even these small details can make a big difference!

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