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Painting the exterior of your house

Rejuvenating the exterior of your house can give it a revitalized appearance, but it requires effective planning and preparation. When done properly, the paint can last for fifteen years or more.

Firstly, choose a time when it will not be raining for a few days so the paint has time to dry and adhere to the walls.  Bear in mind the humidity as well if you paint during the summer, as high humidity can cause blistering.


An essential element in painting is the preparation of your walls. Walls must be clean and dust free so that the paint can perform its job effectively. Any wires should be removed before applying the paint.

It is vital to clean the walls, siding and and trim thoroughly as paint will not adhere to rough or dirty surfaces. Use a pressure washer to deal with the build up of dirt and dust.  A hose and brush will also do the job although it will take longer.  This will help ensure the best coverage when you come to paint the walls.

Make sure you fix any existing damage and remove any loose or chipped paint as well. Any rotten wood or siding will need to be replaced.  Remove old caulk and re-caulk around windowsills and door trims that need to be sealed, using a paintable exterior caulk.  Any old putty must also be removed and then apply new glazing.

Once properly dry, sand lightly using a medium grit sanding block.

After the sanding is done, it’s time to fill minor cracks and dents, repair any rot, and replace any pieces that are too far gone. (Wholesale replacement of wood siding or trim will likely require a carpenter.)

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Prepare the surrounding area before you start painting; cover and protect plants and bushes with dust sheets or plastic sheeting as painting can be very messy.

If there is any concern about lead in your existing paint, you need to bring in professionals.  This is particularly prevalent in homes built before 1978.

Choose paint carefully

Another important element in painting is the color you choose for your walls. Some homeowners select white as their main color, while others prefer darker colors such as black and navy blue. This is a matter of personal preference and there are advantages and disadvantages; darker colours absorb more heat but the colour will fade faster than lighter alternatives.

The most basic element when it comes to painting would be the paint itself. It should be resistant to water damage, not fade easily, be stain resistant, and also be durable to resist the elements.

Better quality paint means you will paint fewer times over the years, and you’ll get better coverage when you do paint. Paint technology has improved dramatically in the past few years, with colors guaranteed to last longer than ever before. You may be tempted to skimp on paint to save money up front with a cheaper brand, but you’re bound to have trouble and eventually pay more in the long run.

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Start with a primer coat to seal and provide a good base for the paint.  Most surfaces are suitable for an acrylic primer but oil-based are need for cedar or redwood.  You can either use primer close to the colour of the top coat you will be using, or if you use a contrasting colour, you will to be able to see where the top colour doesn’t have good  enough coverage.  Instead of using a primer coat then sanding, you can invest in a paint which combines the two.

Wickes stock a large range of exterior paint including satin, gloss and textured masonry, see here, Dulux have a Weathershield range that is quick drying, more here, or alternatively Herts Decorators offer an extensive range to choose from to achieve your desired look.

Use a large container to mix multiple cans of paint; this is known as boxing the paint and ensures even coverage of colour.  Always make sure you close paint lids properly at the end of the day too, to stop them drying out.


Work with gravity!  Start at the top of the house and work your way down when painting. This helps to control streaks and you can easily deal with any drips as you go.  Overlap each stroke as you go to get a uniform coverage of paint.

Paint the siding first. Start at the top, painting horizontally as you work your way down. Use a scaffold if possible, or move the ladder regularly. Over-reaching on a ladder is dangerous; plus the paint application will be uneven if you can’t see the lap marks well.

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Professionals mostly use high-powered paint sprayers to apply the paint but this can lead to drips and thin coats if you are not used to using them.  Brushes allow maximum control while rollers are quicker so many people choose to use a mix of both.

A golden rule is to use two coats of paint for a better and longer lasting finish.

There is a lot to consider (and do!) when it comes to painting the exterior of your home.  It it a big task that requires equipment, time and care and you may decide to bring in an expert to tackle the job.

When it comes to painting the outside of your house, it’s best to hire pros. That’s because they can often get the best deals on paint (a cost savings), already have all the equipment required, and, well, they’re pros. Painting your house, especially if it’s a multistory house, is exacting, physically demanding, and sometimes dangerous work.

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Herts Decorators provide high quality and professional decorating services to our clients across Hertfordshire, book a free estimate with our team today!



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George Ryland

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