Tips for Painting Your Home Exterior

Painting your home can be a daunting task, but there’s no better way to make a house look like new again—not to mention it’s much less expensive than remodeling. Here’s how to make sure you get great results:

Choosing the Perfect Colors

If you’re thinking of selling in the near future, your best choices are earth tones or neutrals. Rich browns, warm grays, and calm off-white tones are timeless choices, especially when they’re paired with materials like natural stone and red brick.

You should also consider the architectural style of your home when you’re choosing your colors. For cottage, Victorian, and Cape Cod style homes, the color choices are almost limitless. But you may want to stick to tried and true combinations like blue and white, yellow and blue, green and white, or white and red. When in doubt, look at the houses in your neighborhood to keep from looking too similar or too different.

Getting the Details Right

The doors, the trim, the gutters, the drainpipes, the shutters, and any architectural details all have to be considered in your color scheme. Don’t let the details disappear—they’re what give your home that extra visual interest and wow factor. Make them stand out. Don’t be afraid of contrast.

To create a perfect natural focal point, paint your front door a richer or brighter color than your siding. The same goes for window shutters, too.

Picking the Right Paint

Oil-based alkyd paints are stain-resistant and dry without leaving many visible brush marks. But they take a long time to dry, they have a strong smell, and clean-up requires mineral spirits. Water-based latex paints dries more quickly and is easy to clean up with soap and water. It’s also crack-resistant.

As for paint quality, get the best you can afford within your budget for the project. If you’re going to skimp on anything, it shouldn’t be the paint.

Prepping Your Home Exterior

Bare wood always needs to be primed before painting. If you’re using a water-based paint over an old coat of oil-based, you’ll also need to prime to make sure the new coat will stick.

But no matter what material you’re painting, it’s got to be absolutely clean before you start. That means either power washing or a really good scrubbing. And give it plenty of time to dry before you start to paint. If you have spots that are peeling, they need to be sanded or scraped first.

Getting the Job Done

Double check that it isn’t too cold a day for you to be painting. Check the label on your paint can for the right temperature range, since some paints shouldn’t be used below 50 degrees. A cloudy day is ideal because direct sunlight will make the paint will dry too quickly—but make sure you’re not going to get caught in the rain.

Always start from the top of the house and work your way down, using rollers for large areas and brushes for the edges and detail work. And when you’re up high, always remember to practice good ladder safety.

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