Updated on January 8th, 2021
Adding a fresh coat, or two, of paint to the outside of your house can be a highly satisfying home improvement project.
When done, the neighbors will be sure to notice it and hopefully compliment you. With quality paint, you’ll rest assured your home is good to go for another decade or so, showing off its visual outer layer.
It can also be a fun home improvement project. Focusing on design, immersed in colors, hopefully getting help from a partner, or three — all add to the fun. Though, doing a high-quality job will likely require hiring a pro.
Going the DIY route will save on labor costs. Yet, some parts of the overall job can be slow going, unless painting homes is your livelihood. But, who says, you must do all the work yourself? Or that a pro must do all the work for you?
Whatever part of the job doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, you can hire a painting contractor for those steps.
The DIY approach
Before grabbing a paint can and brush, there a few things to plan for. Actually, the planning stages can easily take longer than the application of paint. The basic steps are:
- Plan for a period of time when it will be dry – likely during warmer months, though above 50 degrees and dry is the key.
- Survey the house / work to be done – be sure you know where main color goes and where trim paint goes. Also be on the lookout for any obvious places that could use repair.
- Thoroughly clean the old paint – this means using a pressure washer, wet rag (for trim), sanding and scraping. Ideally, you get to a clean, smooth dry surface.
- Optional repairs – In the previous step, damaged/rotten wood may make itself visible when thorough cleaning is done. Now is the time to repair. Arguably, this is the most important part of this job as it deals with structure of the house.
- Visit your paint store – pick out the color scheme, get the materials. Don’t worry, we list some of the materials later on to help you out.
- Prime the house – some paints today are mixed with a primer. Most are not, and this is the first coat to ensure the outer layer has something it can adhere to.
- Paint the main color – one coat if on a budget, two coats to be like the pros
- Paint the trim – this is likely a different color than the main house color, and it may be more than one additional color. Up to you!
- Paint doors, porches, shutters, and other items attached to the house. Generally this is the same as the main color, but how you color scheme is up to you.
- Cleaning up – do not forget this step. You’ll gain much more satisfaction once this step is done. Unattended to paint, left anywhere, can make for a bigger mess than you may think. Also, make sure all unused paint is properly sealed and stored. Touch ups down the road can be had at no cost if the paint is appropriately sealed.