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Painting 101

Exterior Painting Preparation

When painting the exterior of a house, learn these valuable tips that can save you time by preparing properly for the project.

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only shutters or trim may need to be painted

Painting the exterior of a house can be a demanding job. But you can save yourself a lot of work by preparing properly for the project.

First, decide how much of the exterior will be painted. Only the shutters or trim may need to be painted rather than the entire house. Next, determine the colors and the types of paint you want to use. Many companies now provide recommended color combinations with their sample books to show you what colors look good together.

If you're having a hard time making up your mind, purchase a quart of each of the colors you like, and use the paint to create larger samples for easier comparison. Keep in mind the color you choose should fit in with the rest of the houses in your neighborhood.

Most likely a latex paint would be better because latex is easier to clean and lasts at least as long as oil-based paints. Whether you choose latex or oil-based paint, always purchase the best paint you can afford. Otherwise you're likely to spend lots of time applying additional coats.

Before beginning the painting project, the surface of your house should be clean, dull and dry. Wash off any chalk, dirt and mildew. Protect landscape plants by covering them with plastic.

After cleaning the house, scrape off any peeling or cracked paint, then sand and prime the area. When you've finished priming, begin painting the trim. Semigloss paint works well on trim.

The brush used is almost as important as the paint itself. With latex paints, use a brush made of a nylon/polyester blend. Use a natural-bristle brush with oil-based paints. For maximum control, hold the brush so that it balances on your hand at the point where the handle meets the brush. Place your fingertips on the metal ferrule, and use your wrist to guide the brush. The paint will flow more smoothly from the brush.

Pay attention to the temperature. For best results, paint on days with low humidity, when the temperature is between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Follow the shade so that your fresh paint isn't exposed to direct sunlight; otherwise, heat blisters may develop.

Be careful to keep a "wet edge" by overlapping painting areas over the areas you finished most recently. Don't paint into a drying paint film: the film could buckle.

The best way to paint shutters is to remove them and spray them away from the house. If you must paint them on the house, use an angled sash brush. When choosing a color for shutters, keep in mind that dark colors absorb more heat and can cause vinyl shutters to warp.

Apply an oil-based primer coat to metal doors before you begin painting. This step is especially important if the door is exposed to weather. Allow the primer to dry for 24 to 48 hours, next apply two coats of exterior paint.

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