Preparing to Paint Your Home

The look and feel of your home say a lot about you and contributes to your mental and emotional wellbeing. Your choice of paint also says a lot about you to your family, friends, and neighbors, and is an important method of expressing your personality to those in your community. 

Whether you are considering a new coat of paint for your home’s exterior or you want a change of pace inside, getting ready for any painting project is a big undertaking. If you are unsure where to start, don’t worry.  You can tackle this project with a little bit of elbow grease and know how.

The first step is choosing a paint for your project.  Paints for the exterior and interior of your home are fundamentally different and won’t meet your expectations if used improperly.  Interior paints are not typically weather resistant, and may fade, flake, chip, or even wash away if used for exterior painting.

Exterior paint is typically sturdier, but often has less variation than interior paint and may not match your color needs inside the home. You will also need primer in a flat or eggshell color.  (If you are just applying a new shade of the existing color you may not need primer for your project.)

Painting Your Home’s Exterior

When starting any project to paint your home’s exterior, you need to first start by cleaning off the walls and surfaces.  You should start by pressure washing the exterior of your home, removing dirt and dust from the surface of your home. 

While this may add time to your project up front, it will help prevent a sloppy finish.  Nothing is worse than having to do the entire project twice because your surface was improperly prepared. If you are painting a new house or fresh stucco, you need to ensure the stucco cures before starting any paint project.

After washing your next step is ensuring the surface is ready to be painted.  Make sure you go over all areas that will be painted, including trimming, and making sure there are no flaws or damage.  Imperfections, like chipping, peeling, or even mildew can ruin a paint project if not taken care of before starting to paint.

After washing the home and checking for any imperfections, your next step is to seal any and all cracks that may be present in your home’s exterior.  Meaning you need to use caulk.  You should also caulk any area of your home in which two different exterior materials meet. Take special care to caulk the areas around doors and windows, and any molding boards.

Now it’s time to start painting, but the first coat should be your primer coat. Exterior paint projects should always begin with a primer that is also a sealer. Sealer will cover any old paint on the surface and provide a uniform surface for your new layer of paint.  Sealers will come with instructions for how long you need to wait before moving on to the final paint layer. 

For your final layer(s) of exterior paint, make sure you have selected a quality paint.  The best exterior paints will be 100 percent acrylic latex. 

This is your project, so you get to choose the color of your home but remember that while you want to highlight your personality, you also should avoid garish colors that may offend neighbors or run afoul of your local neighborhood association.

The ideal method of exterior painting requires two people to be done properly. “Spraying and Back-Rolling” involves a first painter evenly spraying paint over the surface, while the second painter uses a paint roller on the freshly sprayed paint. This allows for a fresh, even finish. 

It is recommended that you do two coats of paint, for a better result, but only if you have the budget for the project.

Painting the Interior

Painting the interior of your home is very similar to painting the exterior, except that you will have different paint requirements, and need to take more care preventing messy paint spills.  Paints for the interior of your home are usually latex or oil based. 

The majority of oil-based paints are synthetic and will generally outperform their natural oil-based competitors.  Latex allows for long lasting finishes and are easy to clean. Oil based are stain resistant and durable and are often better suited to trimming rather than full walls.

When getting ready to paint your home make sure you have everything you need in advance.  And in the case of an exterior paint project, make sure you check the weather forecast so your hard work doesn’t get ruined by rain or snow!