The Ultimate Homeowner’s Guide To House Exterior Painting

The Ultimate Homeowner’s Guide To House Exterior Painting 

A home’s exterior speaks volumes. Whether it’s to uplift its appearance, boost its resale value, or protect it from the elements, a fresh coat of paint can work wonders. However, exterior painting isn’t merely about choosing a color and slapping it on. It demands careful planning, the right tools, and precise techniques.  

This article provides a comprehensive guide designed to steer homeowners through the maze of choices and considerations—from selecting the ideal shade to the final cleanup. Read on to learn how to give your home the facelift it deserves!

Know The Why Behind Painting 

Before embarking on the journey of painting, understanding the underlying motivation is pivotal. Recognizing the ‘why’ behind your decision serves as a compass, steering you through myriad choices, from selecting the perfect hue to the type of paint that best aligns with your goals.

Homeowners are often propelled to revamp their exteriors for various compelling reasons: 

  • Elevated Curb Appeal: One can’t overstate the transformative power of a fresh coat of paint. It breathes new life into a residence, radiating a fresh and inviting aura that’s instantly noticeable. 
  • Fortified Defense: More than just a cosmetic enhancement, paint provides a formidable barrier against the relentless onslaught of the elements. Whether defending against the severe UV rays of the blazing sun or the persistent battering from torrential downpours, it acts as your home’s first line of defense. 
  • Augmented Property Value: Beyond mere aesthetics, a beautifully painted exterior can be a strategic investment. A home with an attractive façade often commands a higher market value, an essential consideration if selling is on the horizon. 

Entering the painting endeavor with lucid objectives guarantees gratification upon its completion and equips homeowners with the clarity needed to make choices that resonate with their envisioned outcome. 

Choose Your Paint Wisely 

Selecting the right paint is paramount. It can make the difference between a paint job that shines for years and one that disappoints. When picking your paint, several factors come into play: 

  • Type Of Paint: Latex paints, being water-based, are easy to clean and quick to dry. On the other hand, oil-based paints offer durability but require patience due to longer drying times. 
  • Brand Considerations: While many brands offer a wide range of quality products, some homeowners have had positive experiences with specific brands, such as Benjamin Moore exterior paint. It’s essential to research and find what resonates best with your needs. 
  • Finish Options: Do you lean towards a glossy shine or a subtle matte? Finishes range from glossy to semi-gloss, satin, and matte, each presenting its own charm. 
  • Climate Considerations: The local climate can influence color choices. Light hues reflect heat, while darker ones absorb it, potentially impacting your home’s insulation. 

With these considerations in mind, you’ll be better equipped to select a paint that looks good and stands the test of time. 

Prepare The Surface 

A flawless paint job is often the result of meticulous surface preparation. Before you dip that brush into paint, ensure the canvas—your home’s exterior—is ready to accept it. 

Here are essential steps to prime your surface: 

  • Cleaning: Begin by ridding the surface of dirt, mold, and mildew. Consider using a power washer for an efficient clean but ensure it doesn’t damage your siding. 
  • Repair Work: Attend to any imperfections, such as cracks, holes, or chipped areas. Use appropriate fillers or putty, ensuring a smooth finish. 
  • Sanding: Sanding helps paint adhere better to surfaces. After smoothing out rough spots, brush away any leftover debris. 

Dedicating time to these preparation tasks sets the foundation for a paint job that’s not only visually appealing but also long-lasting. 

Invest In Quality Brushes And Rollers 

The tools you choose significantly affect your painting project’s outcome. Skimping on brushes and rollers might seem like a cost-saving measure, but it could cost you in finish quality. When gearing up for your paint job, keep the following in mind: 

  • Bristle Type: Synthetic bristles work best with latex paints, while natural bristles are ideal for oil-based paints. 
  • Brush Size: A variety of sizes ensures precision. Typically, a 4-inch flat brush is suitable for large surfaces, while a 2-inch angle brush helps with trim and edges. 
  • Roller Nap: The surface texture dictates the nap or thickness you’ll need. Rougher surfaces require a thicker nap for better coverage. 

Investing in high-quality brushes and rollers isn’t just about the immediate paint application. It ensures a smoother, more even finish and reduces the chances of brush hairs being left behind. 

Monitor Weather Patterns 

The weather can be your project’s best friend or its biggest foe. Painting under unfavorable conditions can lead to complications like slow drying, streaking, or peeling. 

When planning your exterior painting, here’s what to consider: 

  • Temperature: Ideal painting conditions typically fall between 50°F and 85°F. Extreme temperatures can affect paint adhesion and drying time. 
  • Moisture: Rain is an obvious concern, but also watch out for high humidity days. Paint needs dry conditions to adhere correctly and for a smooth finish. 
  • Sun Exposure: Direct sunlight can cause paint to dry too quickly, leading to brush marks and unevenness. 

Paying attention to weather patterns ensures that your hard work isn’t undone by Mother Nature. The right conditions are vital to achieving a lasting and impeccable finish. 

Safety First 

While your home’s transformation is exciting, it shouldn’t come at the cost of your safety. Painting, especially exterior jobs, can pose risks if precautions aren’t taken. 

As you gear up for this task, prioritize the following safety measures: 

  • Ladder Safety: Ensure ladders are on stable ground and extend them adequately for safe reach. Don’t overextend yourself trying to paint a distant spot. 
  • Protective Gear: Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from splashes. Gloves, hats, and long-sleeved shirts can safeguard against spills and sun exposure. 
  • Ventilation: If you’re using paint with strong fumes, ensure the area is well-ventilated. Even outdoors, fumes can accumulate and pose health risks.

Remember, a successful paint job isn’t just about the final look. It’s also about completing the project without mishaps or injuries. So, always put your safety first. 

Start From The Top

Approaching the painting process with a systematic strategy can significantly dictate the quality of the outcome. Opting for a top-to-bottom technique is not just an arbitrary suggestion; it’s rooted in practical experience and offers tangible benefits. 

Commencing from the top has a few distinct advantages:

  • Drip Management: Starting from the top minimizes the risk of paint drips spoiling the fresh sections below. Should any dripping occur, it’s more manageable as you can seamlessly blend and rectify it on your downward trajectory. 
  • Improved Visibility: Working downward bestows an unobstructed perspective. This makes it easier to spot and address areas demanding extra care or additional coats, ensuring thorough coverage and eliminating missed patches. 
  • Operational Efficiency: This strategy promotes a fluid and continuous workflow. It hinders the frequent repositioning of ladders, saving time and reducing fatigue, leading to quicker completion. 

Embarking from the top and descending ensures a neat, polished finish. Though it might seem like a simple approach, it can profoundly enhance the caliber of the paintwork, making the difference between an amateurish attempt and a professional masterpiece. 

Follow The Two-Coat Rule 

Achieving that perfect, even shade and ensuring longevity often requires more than a single coat of paint. Applying two, or sometimes even three, coats can be the difference between a satisfactory job and a spectacular one. 

Here’s why the two-coat rule is pivotal: 

  • Depth Of Color: A single coat might look acceptable initially, but over time, it can fade or show the underlying color. A second coat ensures true color depth and consistency. 
  • Durability: Two coats provide an added layer of protection from weather elements, extending the life of your paint job and reducing the need for frequent touch-ups. 
  • Even Finish: Multiple coats minimize the appearance of streaks, blotches, or roller marks, ensuring a smooth and professional finish. 

Embracing the two-coat rule is more than just about aesthetics. It’s an investment in the longevity and quality of your home’s exterior transformation. 

Clean Up And Store Leftovers 

Once the final stroke is applied and your home’s exterior shines anew, the job isn’t quite done. Proper cleanup and paint storage are crucial to maintaining your tools and ensuring you’re prepared for future touch-ups. Consider these steps: 

  • Tool Maintenance: Clean brushes, rollers, and trays immediately after use. For water-based paints, warm soapy water works well. For oil-based paints, paint thinner might be necessary. 
  • Storing Leftover Paint: Transfer any remaining paint into a smaller, airtight container to reduce air exposure. Label it with the color name and date of purchase for easy identification. 
  • Disposal: Never pour leftover paint down the drain. If you can’t store it, check local regulations for paint disposal or consider donating it. 

By dedicating time for cleanup and storage, you’re not just ensuring the longevity of your tools but also guaranteeing that any future touch-ups will perfectly match the freshly painted exterior. 

Final Thoughts 

A successful exterior paint job involves more than slapping on a coat of paint. It’s a blend of preparation, choosing the right tools, and understanding the intricacies of the task. Armed with this guide, you’re now ready to give your home the exterior makeover it deserves. Happy painting! 




Geoff Southworth is the creator of, the site that helps new homeowners, investors, and homeowners-to-be successfully navigate the complex world of property ownership. Geoff is a real estate investor of 8 years has had experience as a manager of a debt-free, private real estate equity fund, as well as a Registered Nurse in Emergency Trauma and Cardiac Cath Lab Care. As a result, he has developed a unique “people first, business second” approach to real estate.

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