3 Mistakes to Avoid When Painting Your Home’s Exterior

home painting exterior mistakes

Your home is long overdue for a new paint job, but you’d like to avoid hiring professional painters to save money for other exterior improvements like new outdoor decor and patio furniture. But when taking on a big DIY project like this, a little planning will go a long way. Take your time to get the job done right.

Here are a few common mistakes that are often made when preparing for an exterior painting project:

Mistake: Buying All the Paint Based on Paint Chips

If you’re especially eager to refresh the color of your house, this mistake is easy to make. You’ve finally made it into the paint store and are dazzled by the rainbow assortment of paint chips displayed on the walls, so you start hunting for the perfect hue. After comparing all of the options over and over again, you settle on a decision, anxious to get home and get this DIY project started. But you should never select a paint color without first painting a few swatches on your house first.

Many stores provide free samples for this purpose or only charge a small fee for them. Narrow your choices to between three and five and get samples of each color to paint on your house. Choose a spot on your house that gets a full range of sun and shade so you can compare how each color looks at various times throughout the day. Paint a 24-inch square of each color so you can get a clear idea of what it will look like. Be sure to compare the colors with your desired decor and any new patio furniture you plan to buy to complete your home’s exterior makeover.

Mistake: Not Painting a Clean Surface

By painting a surface that isn’t spotless, your paint job will end up looking messy and uneven, instead of fresh and new. Your home exterior should be free of all dust, dirt and debris before any paint touches your house.

To get this done, pressure wash your home’s entire exterior the day before you start painting. Pressure washing is a fast and effective way to clear off the layers of grime from your house so that your paint has a smooth surface to glide onto. If you don’t have one, you can rent a pressure washer from most big-box hardware chain stores for a low hourly rate or even use a garden hose and a high-pressure nozzle attachment in a pinch.

Clean the house a day in advance of painting to allow ample time for drying, as you don’t want to paint a wet or damp surface. Be mindful of the weather forecast when planning which days to clean and paint. For instance, if a storm moves in overnight, it could add a whole new layer of dirt and debris to your house, meaning you’d need to start over again.

Mistake: Rushing Through Prep Work

Aside from cleaning, there is plenty more prep work to be done before you crack open those paint cans and wet your brush and roller. You need to protect any parts of your house that you don’t want painted, like the windows, mullions, doors and any trim work. To do so you’ll need supplies like painter’s tape, masking paper, rolls of plastic sheeting and drop cloths.

Depending on the condition of what you’re painting, you may also need to build in time to sand, patch and fortify sections.

Yes, it’s entirely possible to spend more time on these prep tasks than on the actual painting, but it is critical to do so if you don’t want to end up with an eyesore of a paint job.


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