In the Pacific Northwest, especially near the coast, summer or early autumn tends to be the best time to paint the exterior of your home. Around here, homes need a new coat of paint or stain every five to nine years.
The most critical aspect of a good paint job is proper preparation. Please read, “Tips for Prepping Your House for Painting” for our guidelines. Whether you decide to do it yourself or hire someone, it’s good to be aware of at least the basics of what makes a good paint job.
WATCH THE CLOCK, WEATHER
After you’ve carefully scraped, washed, primed and caulked, it’s time to open up that can of paint! However, for best results, we suggest you keep an eye on the weather and the clock.
If you put on a nice coat of paint during a drizzling day, it may not be there the next day. The solution if you must paint in the rain is to attach tarps to the gutters and pin them to the ground to make a fly tent to work under.
But it’s not just rain that can be an issue, painting when in the direct sun or when moisture in the form of fog is expected can also cause problems. Painting any surface in the direct sun can cause the new paint to “skin-over,” resulting in poor attachment to the siding, even blistering.
Another caution: Don’t paint too late in the day. In late summer and early fall, fog can roll in during the afternoon. Painting late in the day can result in trapped moisture behind the paint. The next sunny day, the heated moisture can turn your hard work into a paint-blistering nightmare.
If you have the luxury of choosing the time and weather, we recommend starting early on a dry, warm morning with either the south or the west wall. As the sun goes overhead, tackle the north wall, then the east wall. This way you will be staying out of the direct sun and avoiding any hot wall surfaces until they cool. It really is a tried-and-true system!
If you decide to apply your paint with a sprayer, we suggest using it to load the wall area in front of you, then immediately back-brush the sprayed surfaces, catching the drips, evening-out the thick and thin spots and maximizing the bond of the paint to the siding. This way you’ll never have to dip your paint brush in a can again and you’ll get the job done fast. However, be aware that spraying out too far past your ability to back-brush can cause the paint to sag, drip, glop and surface-dry. In other words, it won’t be the best job.
TRIM IS MORE THAN LOOKS
Thoroughly painting the trim and window sills is for more than just looks. The sill is the bottom of the window, where all the rain running down your windows ends up. Notice it is well-sloped for water run-off and usually projects beyond the siding so the water will drip straight to the ground.
The condition of these window sills is critical. When left unpainted, the sun and rain will make them crack and absorb water rather than shed it away. Gradually, the absorbed water will create perfect conditions for this wood sill to decay, eventually, all the way into the house framing, sheathing and interior wall surfaces. The bugs will feast and the seeping molds and powdery mildews will take over the wall. Major damage and major expenses usually follow this lack of concern for timely caulking and painting.
DOORS ARE KEY TO SUCCESS
Doors require the same initial scrutiny and timely care as windows. Dry-rot, which is a type of fungus, can often be found where the metal threshold meets the wood jambs. If minor deterioration has occurred, you can scrape out the rot and treat it with bleach to kill any remaining fungus. After everything is dry, fill any holes or large cracks with wood putty, sand smooth, prime and double coat with good paint.
At the same time, check out the general operation of each door. A door will operate quietly with a drop of oil at each hinge pin. If the insulation strips are in good shape, there will be no gaps for air to enter around or under it. And, the locks will work smoothly when the door is properly aligned and the locks get a shot of silicone.
Painting your front door in an eye-catching-color lets everyone know where you’re entry is and will enhance your new paint job, too.
MAKE SURE HOUSE NUMBERS ARE VISIBLE
When you’re painting your house it is a good time to determine if your house numbers are prominently displayed. Not only will this aid delivery trucks and out-of-the-area friends to find your house, it is also a safety measure so that firefighters and police can quickly find you in an emergency.
It doesn’t hurt to even have two sets of numbers, one near your front door and one on the fence near a driveway or in another helpful location. Whatever color or style you decide on, make sure it is easy to see and read from the street.