It’s easy…just hire a top-of-the-line professional to do it for you! Of course, that’s not always an option, so if you have to paint it yourself, follow these simple steps:
1. Prep, Prep, Prep!
This is the most crucial part of the job, which people often rush through, setting a poor foundation for the paint. Scrape off all loose, failing paint. Ease all edges with 60-grit, (very course) sand paper. Sand all sunburned, grey wood down to good wood; paint won’t stick to dried-out wood. Painting in Boulder, Colorado is an especially big problem here where we get 300 days of sunshine a year. Chances are, if you live in Boulder, you have some sunburned wood on your house. The more you remove, the longer the paint job will last. Mask and drop off all areas not to be painted. Power-wash all surfaces after caulking, spackling and priming. People often do this before, which is unwise because you’ve created plenty of dust from sanding that needs to be cleared away. Plus, you’ve now caulked and spackled all of the holes through which moisture can leak into your house so you don’t have to worry about that. If you don’t want to power-wash your entire house, just rinse it off with a hose. In most cases this is enough and, in fact, power-washing by someone who is not properly trained can cause much damage to your house.
Prime all bare wood with a quality, oil-based primer. You may be tempted to use water-based latex primers, but they are not nearly as effective as an oil-based primer and creates a moisture barrier. Benjamin Moore has a good oil-based primer. Thin down with an additive called Flood’s Penetrol by 25% to aid in penetration—the deeper the primer penetrates, the longer it will last. Never prime (or paint) above 90 degrees or below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (one exception: you can prime and paint when it’s below 50 degrees if you are using a low temperature primer and paint products, specifically designed for painting in weather below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.) Remain mindful of changes in weather as you’re painting, allow 3 hours for paint to dry and cure before the temperature drops. Air on the side of caution, especially here in Boulder where the temperature can spike or drop within minutes.
3. Caulking and Spackling
After primer has dried for at least 12 hours you can begin caulking and spackling—the spackle and caulk will not adhere to raw, dried out wood, so it must be primed first. Use siloconized, acrylic caulk, rated 35 years or higher. Get a top quality exterior spackle or, better yet, use auto body bondo in lieu of spackle. All spackle needs to be primed again but latex caulk and bondo do not need to be primed. Now you’re ready to paint.
Use a top-quality paint; I like Benjamin Moore but Sherwin Williams and Diamond Vogel are also fine. Do not use their low-end products, use their middle-to-high end products, it’s well worth it in the long run. The best paint on the market, in my opinion, is Benjamin Moore’s Moorguard Satin Finish. Flat finishes are no good. All surfaces must be painted with at least two coats. Bad areas, like window sills, need 3 coats. Always use latex paint, oil-based paint works great as a primer, but it does not hold up to the uv rays so don’t use it for the finish coats. The one exception is if you live in a very wet and cloudy climate, such as Scotland. Typically we will spray and back-roll the siding with two coats. Back rolling is when you have somebody rolling the paint, working it into the wood as the paint’s being sprayed on, while it’s still wet. Spraying alone is not enough. If you don’t have a sprayer, just brush and roll all surfaces twice. Two coats will last much longer than one coat, and the second coat is really easy. Don’t be fooled by the myth that you should use solid body stain. It’s nothing but a watered down paint that will not last. It is not a stain. Use top quality primer and paint.
Typically, we brush the trim 2 or 3 times with a steady hand, being mindful of the edges.
6. Clean-Up and Enjoy!
A good paint job should last you 8-10 years! However, make sure you use quality paints and best Boulder painters – Fordham&MacLean – at least we think so, and our fans agree.
Check back for next month’s blog: How to Chose a Painting Contractor.