If you have a wood exterior home that requires painting, you know what a big job this is. Of course you are going to want to maximize the life of your paint job—whether it’s you who is doing the painting or a hired professional. Following some basic steps will help ensure that you get the longest life possible out of your paint job.
First of all, realize two important variables that help determine the life of your paint job, you have no control over: sun and rain. If you live in areas with high sun exposure and heavy rain, your paint job will not last as long. Both sun and rain are hard on paint. You do, however, have control over other variables such as preparation, materials and work quality.
As in any major project, preparation is critical. The time you spend in prepping your home for its new paint job will extend the life of your paint job—sometimes by years. If in your impatience to get on with the project you skip this crucial step, your paint job will suffer for it, and you will be repeating this job much sooner than you should. So, take the extra days to do your prep work.
The first step in your prep work is to scrape any peeling or blistered paint off of your house. You are aiming for a clean, dry, dull surface so that fresh paint will adhere to it. After you have completed this step, you next need to wash your house. Homeowners often wonder if they should use a power washer for this step. Well, the experts disagree on this. Some experts advise you not to use a power washer because they feel it leaves a film of dirt on the house. They also say a power washer can force water deep into the wood and into cracks, which causes the back of the wood to become saturated. This will cause fresh paint to peel. Instead they advise to use a sponge or scrub brush and soap to clean the house and then rinse with a hose. Other experts feel a power washer is the preferred method for cleaning your home. Whichever way you or your painter chooses, let your home dry for about 48 hours before painting.
The next step is to prime any areas that are bare wood or blistered—no need to prime the areas where the existing paint is smooth. Finally, after the primer has dried, it is time to apply the paint. Talk to your local painting contractor for advice on the best type of exterior paint to use in your geographical region. Be sure to follow the directions on the can and use the proper amount of paint. Trying to skimp on the coverage of the paint to save money will backfire, and you will end up repainting.
A few other tips to keep in mind will help the painting process to go smoothly. Try to paint when the temperature is in the 70-degree range with around 50% humidity. Try not to paint when there is a high pollen count, because the pollen sticks to your house, and the paint will not adhere as well as it should. Also, do not paint when the sun is baking your house, but preferably when your home is shaded.
Making sure that your painting professional follows these tips should help you get years of life out of your paint job and a beautiful home to boot.