Painting your home’s exterior is a great way to freshen up its look, maintain wood siding, and add curb appeal. But rushing past critical preparation steps and ignoring time-honored painting techniques can have the opposite effects, ultimately leading to a finish that doesn’t last.
Cutting corners never really saves time in the end, so take note of these seven common exterior painting mistakes and how to avoid them.
- Skipping sanding: Surface preparation is vitally important when doing any paint job, and your home’s exterior is no exception. After you’ve scraped away any loose, flaking or peeling paint, sand any rough edges left behind so that the new paint covers every inch evenly and thoroughly.
- Painting on bare wood: If you paint bare wood that has been exposed to the elements for even a few weeks, you’ll see a lot of cracking and peeling a year or two later. Avoid the problem by sanding and priming bare wood before brushing on the top coat.
- Passing on primer: Skipping ahead to the final finish may be tempting, but don’t go there if you want your exterior paint job to last. A coat of primer ensures an even, long-lasting result, and is especially important with wood siding that’s never been painted before.
- Ignoring moisture issues: If you see signs of moisture damage like blistering and peeling, don’t brush past them. Address the needed repairs with careful caulking, especially around windows and doors and along open seams at corner joints. Splits or cracks in siding can be remedied with paintable siliconized caulk. For any suspected structural issues, enlist the help of a pro.
- Stretching paint too far: Paint performs best when applied at the recommended spread rate, so trying to economize by either brushing it on too thinly or thinning out the paint itself will lead to a finish failure. It can also leave surfaces susceptible to mildew formation.
- Painting in the wrong weather: Extreme heat or cold will prevent paint from adhering, so monitor the weather report and plan accordingly. If heavy dew is expected or rain is on the way within 24 hours, postpone your paint job.
- Careless paint selection: Obviously, you should only use exterior paint for an exterior paint job. Among the various formulations available, a top-quality, 100% acrylic latex finish will provide the best overall performance.
For an exterior paint job that lasts, cast off that careless attitude and follow best practices for painting. You’ll be assured of a long-lasting, beautiful result that’s well worth the time and money.
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