A rough guide to painting the outside of a house

barack obama painting

In a rare show of altruism, today I am going to tell you how to paint the outside of your house, instead of selling you one of our exterior wall coating systems!

Why?

Why is it better to have someone in to paint the house?

Well, for a start, and very importantly, there are many health and safety issues associated with any construction skill or trade, and painting the outside is MUCH harder and dangerous than painting the inside, which more or less anyone can do.

Painting the outside does at least require some forethought and planning but if you get it right, you can look forward to a nice looking house….for now anyway.

Painters and decorators have to go through a certain training period before they are let loose on houses and business premises, so bear that in mind when you start and don’t attempt to paint your house if you really don’t have a clue or lack confidence as it is not easy.

So let’s get started!

Phew! You’re brave! Oh well, here goes……..

The first thing you will need to do is to get all your painting and decorating supplies, tools and equipment to do the job.

As a rough guide, these are the sort of things you will need.

  • Some paint (!). Choose the best masonry paint you can afford.
  • Brushes and rollers of various sizes.
  • Dustsheets, tarpaulins or old bed sheets.
  • Paint thinners, brush cleaner and turps (Handle with care)
  • Scrapers, wire brush and assorted hand tools
  • Sweeping brushes etc for keeping the area clean.
  • Gloves, hat and any protective items.
  • Masking tape and possible masking paper too.
  • Old clothes and rags for cloths.
  • Sandpaper, putty (if applicable) and filler.
  • Step ladder, ladders and access equipment. (see below)

This should be more or less all you will need however bear in mind, we are talking about PAINTING a house here and not preparing a house or repairing it.

How to paint your house

This is a whole different (paint) Kettle of fish (!) and if your home has bad cracks or hollow render, you really will need to think if painting this is the right way to move ahead. Bad render should NOT be painted over, nor should cracks, missing pebbbledash or broken brickwork.

Remember that Maintaining the character of your house will be something that you should consider before you start the project and if your home is listed or in a conservation area, they may be certain restrictions on what colour you can use.

Think safety when painting.

Painting the house yourself is NOT easy and is fraught with danger.

Every year, and not just here in the UK, thousands of people get killed, or at best, injure themselves by falling from roofs, scaffolding and ladders. It’s so easy if you are not used to paint a house, to stand back to admire your work, forgetting that you are on a ladder 3 stories up…….

Painting a house from a ladder, especially a tall house is often not a good idea for the novice painter so look through the yellow pages for a reputable scaffolding company, one with trade accreditation and one who can show you their accident book (a legal requirement) and also proof of insurance.

Starting the painting.

OK, first off, now you are ready, and prepared, I mean mentally, not just prepared as in “I just spent a load of money down at the DIY shop” and you are ready to start painting.

You should have already chosen the colour, and agreed with the other half that this is the right way to go about it (!) and have moved away items that clutter around the house as remember this is now a WORK AREA and must be treated as such.

Starting your painting project

Animals must be kept well away form any work you do, as the last thing “Rover” the Labrador wants when he is playing in the garden is his head to get covered in paint, or for him to think drinking your brush thinners seems like a good idea. It’s the same with kids. You MUST tell them in no uncertain terms not to go near the paint or the area you are painting.

Test your paint, or even your skills, on an obscure area at ground level, on a very small area to start with. Make sure the surface you are painting on is “sound” and of good quality, and your paint is well mixed, and your brush does not shed bristles.

Make sure that all preparation is done!

Preparation, as we spoke about earlier in the text, is essential if your paint job is to last for more than a few months. Flaking paint needs to be taken off, rendering needs to be sorted, rotten wood needs replacing, missing window putty needs to be done, and any mould or algae needs to be taken off too.

If by this stage you don’t feel confident, this is telling you to get a man in instead! It could actually save you money as a proper decorator will be able to the job in a few days that would take you several weeks.

Once you are confident that all is well, you should start at the TOP of the house and work down, preferably using scaffolding.

How to paint, what do do, and where to start and finish.

OK, starting at the top, where the gutters are, if you have wooden eaves, soffits or fascias, you need to paint them FIRST.

You can get one-coat paints for this very reason, with good weatherproofing and a long lasting gloss finish. NEVER PAINT AGAIN use marine (boat) quality paint when we do this, for its superior weather beating qualities.

Once this is done, now to start on the walls with gusto.

Do not get your paint straight from the tin you bought it in, use a light metal bucket known as a paint kettle and of course for rollers, use the special tray or elongated buckets (troughs) designed to work with rollers. Some also have handy hooks to keep in place on the scaffold. Place the lid back on the tin when you are not getting paint out of it.

Starting at the top, and using a roller, make confident strokes with a roller that has a good coating of paint but not too much so it drips.

Work the paint in well, not missing any bits, but remember most house paint jobs need 2 coats of paint, so pay attention as you will be doing all of this twice.

Cut into edges and around doors and windows with a smaller brush.

TIP: Do NOT buy cheap brushes to save money as they generally shed their bristles which can ruin your paint job and take twice as long as with a good quality decorators brush.

Once you have painted one floor of the house, move down to the lower level of scaffold and start painting that elevation, again, cutting in around windows. If a slight breeze is in the air, you may want to temporarily put masking over the windows to avoid a fine paint spray or drips on the glass panes.

Finally, back to the easiest bit to paint: ground level!

It’s always best to save the best until last and this should be the easier bit. Again, make sure that no one is around the house where you are painting and make sure you put “WET PAINT!” signs everywhere, just to make it crystal clear. Ensure you haven;t missed any bits such as window reveals or behind pipes.

What to do after you have finished decorating.

OK, now you have painted your house.

With masonry paint, unfortunately it is nowhere near as good as a NEVER PAINT AGAIN exterior wall coating, so I’m sorry to say your paint, even after all the effort you put in, will only last 2 years maximum.

Anyway, you need to remove any masking paper you put up, making sure it doesn’t touch the walls when you remove it, and then put it in a bin liner for recycling.

In most cases, and depending on temperature and your local climate, the paint should be dry the next day but make sure you do not put anything up against for a while it as it will scar the paintwork.

Clean your brushes and roller with a special cleaner you can get from most DIY stores and then store them away for another day.

If all of the above sounds a bit too much, contact us to paint your house instead!

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