Exterior Painting Spray-Net

House exterior: AFTER
Photograph provided by Spray-Net

In the last issue, we began our exterior paint discussion with what makes an exterior paint the “best.” In short, it depends. What material makes up your home’s exterior? Are you painting your doors? We continue our deep dive by answering a few more questions concerning logistics above the surface.

What’s your budget?
Your budget determines how much of the project you can get done without skimping on quality. We’re not saying to paint half your house, but perhaps there’s another summer project that might be best to wait until next year or you might consider painting your doors and trim later because, when it comes to painting your home’s exterior, you don’t want to settle for good enough. Any shortcut could very well leave you hiring someone or painting it again yourself much sooner than you’d like.

Concerning quality, while more expensive doesn’t always mean better, most often you get what you pay for. We’d need a blog in and of itself to decipher the differences between brands, so our suggestion is to get the best available premium exterior paint in the line you select. If you’re hiring a professional, keep in mind that you’re also paying for someone to apply the paint with a degree of expertise and ability beyond your own, so don’t skimp there either.

What equipment will you be using?
Oftentimes, painting the exterior of your house involves working at heights. Both quality and safety must be considered. Ladders are an option, but scaffolding, while more costly, is generally safer and allows you to work more comfortably.

Last issue, we mentioned the importance of coating—to properly and entirely wet the surface to enhance adhesion. Will you be spraying on the coating? This can give you better wetting and a thicker, more even coat over brush and roller application (not to mention a better finish), but it requires a specific expertise. When spraying, proper masking and technique must be used to avoid disaster.

Have you planned enough time?
This question should be answered once you better understand the variables of your project to get the most durable exterior paint job. Preparation is key, so have you factored in the time to do this? The basics of adhesion are mechanical and chemical bonds, and for either of these to happen, a surface free of dirt and grease is required. The part often not mentioned or understood is that we must increase the surface energy of what’s being painted to ensure proper wetting. This is done mechanically (by scuff sanding smooth or glossy finishes) or chemically (by using a solvent, such as acetone, right before painting). If after proper washing the surface is still shiny, we suggest doing both.

Once a home is properly prepped, you’ll want to paint it within a reasonable time frame to avoid having to prep it all over again. Additionally, once you start your exterior paint project, you’ll want to make sure you can continue and finish within the shortest time span to avoid lines in your paint job. You’ll want to constantly maintain a wet edge, meaning each stroke of your brush or roller overlaps the previous stroke before the paint can begin to dry.

What kind of weather will you be painting in?
Since we’re unable to control the weather, and predictions aren’t guaranteed, there are a few things to keep in mind to get in front of Mother Nature. Before we even get into it, take a look at your exterior paint’s warranty; you’ll notice many conditions that will void it. That’s because if the paint dries too slow (cold and humid weather), the coating will likely sag or never fully cure so it can come together as one even film.

If the opposite occurs, and the paint dries too fast (hot and dry weather), the paint film will not have enough time to wet the surface and become a fully uniform film which fully covers the surface. Think plastic wrap, which works because it’s one full piece. That’s what you want to achieve with your paint. Any holes in your paint film (even microscopic) means weathering will chip away at it and compromise the job, causing the ghastly p-word. Peeling!

A quality primer can be a good fail-safe here, as primers are formulated with a strong binder meant to fill pores and improve paint adhesion. This is especially important on rough surfaces.

Perhaps the worst thing you can do when it comes to painting your home is to try to do it too fast or too cheaply. Look for our next article to learn more about how color choice contributes to not only the look of your home, but the longevity and durability of the job.