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Everything you need to know about exterior house painting

Amy Buxton Amy Buxton
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When it comes to decorating a house, it can be shockingly easy to focus all your attention on painting interior walls, but there is another element to think carefully about as well; your exterior surfaces! Choosing the right color, style and finish for your home's facade can make all the difference between a pretty and well protected property and a building that simply looks a little unfinished. Ask any respected painting organization, such as those found in the homify professionals directory, and they'll tell you that the way you choose to finish your home is critical and that there is so much more to the process than simply slapping on some paint and calling it a day. 

To give you a better understanding of the involved and lengthy process that you'll need to commit to in order to get the perfect facade finish, we've put together this comprehensive guide.

Preparation for house painting.

When you start to think about how to paint your home exterior, a good starting point is to properly and objectively assess the state of your outside surfaces. Try making a list of any and all imperfections that will need addressing before you can consider applying pain and if in doubt, ask a professional to come and give you their opinion. 

Before you get started, you'll need to think about if you have all the requisite equipment that you will need, if you are planning to paint your home's facade yourself. An extension ladder, scaffolding and extending paint rollers will all be worth considering.

Clean before exterior painting.

Exterior cleaning is not just recommended, it's essential, if you want to enjoy a truly beautiful and perfect building finish. Depending on where your home is situated, there will be countless factors that will contribute to a mucky exterior, such as traffic pollution. Your exterior cleaning regime should include the following:

- Pressure-washing the entire facade
- Specialist removal of any insect or bird nests
- Removal of excess pointing cement

Carry out all necessary exterior repair work.

With your home's facade sparkling clean, you can  get a far better idea of how much repair work needs to be completed ahead of a fresh coat of paint being applied. Given that all repairs will be visible, you might prefer to hire a professional contractor to ready your render and perfect your pointing. It really would be a good investment, as first impressions count and a badly filled wall will really undermine an otherwise very attractive building. Common repairs will include:

-Cracked or chipped render
- Missing pointing between bricks
- Cracks around door and window frames

Prime the facade.

Primer is an essential element of any exterior painting project, yet it's shocking just how many people can happily overlook this step. Having cleaned and repaired your home, it really does make sense to add a coat of primer to your facade. Ask any professional painter and they'll tell you that primer should ALWAYS be used, both on interior and exterior walls, as the benefits speak for themselves:

- Primer offers a preliminary coating that covers any repair work
- It will create a smooth and easy to wrk with surface
- A coat of primer will allow for the final color to be applied evenly
- Primer makes changing between dark and light hues far easier

Choosing and applying a color for exterior house painting.

With primer applied and left to dry fully, you can start to think about your preferred paint. The process of selecting an appropriate color, variety of paint and completing a seamless application can be split into the following steps:

- Always be sure to purchase exterior-specific paint. It will cost more than interior varieties, on average, a minimum of $20 more, but it has been formulated to withstand poor weather conditions and to flow over rough textures more effectively.
- Choose a color that will work not only with the style of your home, but also your neighborhood as a whole. Check that there are no restrictions in place, otherwise you could face a costly rectification.
- Always mask off areas such as windows, that you do not want to fall victim to overspray.
- Be prepared to need numerous applications of exterior paint, so as to get an even coverage. Let each coat of paint dry completely, before adding another.
- Ask for professional advice as to the best application method. Paintbrushes and rollers are not the only options, as industrial sprayers could make light work of the process.

The cost to paint a house.

The cost per square footage to paint the exterior of your home will have a massive impact on whether or not the project is feasible. Your price will depend entirely on the materials to be painted and the paint that you select, not to mention how many coats will be needed. Your chosen paint should give you an estimate of coverage on the packaging, which will help you to make an assessment of your material costs prior to beginning.

There is another aspect to consider, however. While you can certainly save money by painting your home yourself, it might be more time-effective to hire a professional to carry out the task for you. A good rule of thumb, cost-wise, is as follows:

National average exterior painting costs come in at just under $3,000.
High-end finishes can cost up to $6,000.
Simple projects usually fall in the $1,700—$4,000 bracket.

If your artistic leanings have been awakened, be sure to check out a host of interior wall painting ideas, here.

Are you considering an exterior refresh for your home now?
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