Summer's a great time to tackle those outdoor home maintenance projects you've been putting off, including exterior house painting. This Summer we've dealt with cleaning up our backyard, restaining our decks, and planting our front walk to increase its curb appeal. Luckily, we don't have to paint our home's exterior quite yet — but I'm sure it's a task we'll have to deal with in the next few years. If you're thinking about tackling an exterior painting job yourself, then Bob Tedeschi's recent New York Times article, "The How-Tos of House Painting," is a must read. There are a lot of fascinating, insightful anecdotes and tips woven into the article, and I've included my favorites below.
- This job will take some time. Schedule seven to 10 days to paint your home by yourself. You'll also need a day to clean the home's exterior with a pressure washer and a day for fixing worn spots, scheduled a week after the pressure washing.
- Before you can do any prep or paint work, make sure you don't have mold or mildew on the house. If you do, use a cleaning solution of one cup of bleach per gallon of water to combat it.
- Was your home last painted before 1978? Then this DIY is off the table. Why? Lead paint or vinyl siding may be lurking on your home's exterior, and you need to consult a professional.
- Tedeschi recommends many specific products in the article, including the Master Painter’s Allway 2.5-inch scraper with soft-grip handle ($7.50) for prep work.
- Exercise caution with pressure washers. Tedeschi writes, "A friend blew a hole through his forearm while using the narrowest nozzle, which yields the highest pressure. It barely missed an artery." Yikes!
- Expensive brushes will perform better. Look for ones with tight, compact bristles. They cost a pretty penny, but they'll make the job much easier.
- Rent a 24-foot extension ladder to paint your home, which will accommodate most homes' vertical reaches.
- Since wasps and bees like to make homes in gutters, gently bang the gutter with your ladder to encourage them to leave their hideouts.
- Before painting, test swatches on the siding. Then check out the color at different times of the day to make sure it's your preferred color.
For the rest of the tips, check out the article in the New York Times.