Pitfalls When Painting the Exterior of the House

Posted in: DIY | Home Decorating | Painting


Exterior house painting can be a very rewarding experience since color can make the most dramatic change for the home (hopefully for the better) and the cost is minimal, especially if you do it yourself.

The problems occur when people don’t take the necessary steps to prepare their home for a good, quality paint job. And when they don’t, they almost always end up wishing they had.

Of course, if your home was built before 1979, you should definitely check for lead paint (test kits are available at most home improvement stores.) Most homes that old have lead paint in at least one of their coats. If there is lead found, you need professionals to remove it. Lead is a dangerous health hazard and only professionals should be tinkering around with that stuff.

If there is no lead found, take the extra time and care to avoid making these common mistakes made when painting the home’s exterior.

Choosing The Wrong Kind of Paint: This is probably the most common mistake made when painting a home. Basically, if the current coat of paint is latex (water-based), then you have to use latex. And if the top coat is oil based, then you must use oil-based paint. The reason is that the two simply don’t adhere to one another very well. You’ve heard of the saying, “oil and water don’t mix.” Well, it’s true.

How do you test for such a thing? Easy. Dip a clean towel in some denatured alcohol. Rub a spot on the wall you’re testing. If it’s latex paint, it will rub off.

Be sure to test the various elements of your home’s exterior, window trim, siding, every different surface. Some of these areas may have different types of paint on them. So it’s always best to make sure.

Not Cleaning The Surface: Most people don’t figure it out until it’s too late. But dirty exterior walls looks just as dirty once they’re painted as they do beforehand. Wash the surface thoroughly and allow to dry before you paint for a crisp clean finish every time.

Not Caulking the Crack: Painting over cracks in window panes just begs the question: “Why bother?” For a professional, finished look scrape away all loose paint and caulk those cracks before your paint job begins.

Go even further and remove all of that old way-past-its-prime caulk and replace it with a fresh new bead. You’ll be surprised how new the place looks when you pay close attention to details like this before painting your home.

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