Exterior Painting Tips for the DIYer

Even though there are over 236,000 exterior painting businesses in the country, many homeowners still prefer to paint their homes DIY. Unfortunately, you’re not a professional and you may not get the best results.

However, you don’t have to choose between saving money and getting a beautifully painted home. The exterior painting techniques that the pros use are easy to learn and will ensure you have the best painted house in the neighborhood.

Continue reading to master these exterior painting tips before painting your home. You’ll also learn when you should call a pro instead of painting your home DIY.

Buy a High-Quality Paint Brush

The type of brush you use matters, which is why this is one of the most important exterior house painting tips. There are various paintbrushes and the one you use depends on your project and your home. But all of your brushes should be top quality.

If you’re applying paint to large areas, such as stucco or shingles, you’ll need a roller brush setup. This includes nap roller covers (more than one, depending on how many colors you’re using), the roller cage (which is the handle), and a roller screen.

Most homeowners and painters use nine-inch roller paint brushes, but seven-inch paintbrushes work best for small and fine details.

If you’re using latex paint, you should use synthetic brushes. These brushes grab onto the color without absorbing it and are easy to clean. We also suggest buying more than one brush, depending on how many colors you’re using.

Standard synthetic paintbrushes are usually four inches big, but these paintbrushes come in all shapes and sizes. We also suggest using a smaller (between one and one-in-a-half inch) angled brush for minor details.

Some other helpful equipment includes multiple empty paint buckets.

Ask a Painting Store for a Recommendation

Did you know you can get a professional recommendation for a low (often free) price? A painting or hardware/home improvement store will come in handy — especially when choosing your paint color and how much you’ll buy.

Why is this important? Not many homeowners understand the basics of painting a home, and it all boils down to the color. In addition to judging by your own preferences, you’ll have to study the architectural details of your home as well as the other homes in your neighborhood to gauge the perfect color.

In order to do this, you’ll have to supply some details. These details can include the type of surface, measurements of your home (including architectural details), and the number of doors and windows.

From here, you can buy the paint. Most paint store clerks recommend buying a quart of each color you’re using before buying gallons.

They may also recommend you paint a small section before buying gallons of paint. This ensures you like the color. If you don’t, you can always go back and buy more paint in a different color. When you find the color you want, plan on buying enough paint for two full coats in addition to a paint primer.

In addition, listen to paint store clerks when they recommend certain brands. High-quality paint covers your home better, is easier to apply, and lasts longer. You’ll also want to look at the type of paint. Common examples include flat paint and paint with a sheen.

Three-Step Brush Technique

Professional painters swear by the three-step brush technique. Start by dipping the bottom 2 in. of the brush in the paint. Lay on the paint in a thick layer, using a back-and-forth stroke technique. Cover an area that’s three-four square feet at a time.

Be sure to follow the siding; if they’re horizontal, paint side-to-side and if they’re vertical, paint up-and-down. From here, paint another thick coat over top.

The final step is smoothing the paint. Without reloading the brush, sweep the brush using sweeping strokes to work the unpainted area into the painted area.

The Roller Technique

If you’re using a roller brush, there’s a specific roller technique that will give you the best results. Pour the paint into a clean, five-gallon bucket. Hang the roller screen in the bucket.

Insert the roller into the paint, rolling it against the screen. This way, you’re saturating the roller while squeezing out any excess paint.

Start laying on the paint. Use moderate pressure and use similar techniques as the previous section. Keep in mind, paint tends to splatter when using a rolling brush. Cover your patio, deck, and any decor.

After rolling the paint, finish with a traditional brush. Use the brush to work the paint at the bottom of the shingles and into the cracks. Finish the paint by brushing with the grain of the wood.

What About Corners?

The best way to paint corners is by using a technique called “cutting in.” Load the brush with a little paint and place it on the inside corner. Pull the brush outward to the other corner. Turn the brush over and paint any adjacent sides.

Reload the brush when necessary, but be careful to not spill excess paint. Smooth the paint in long, sweeping strokes. Make sure you avoid completed edges.


When to Hire a Professional

While all of these are great tips, not all homeowners can become expert painters. There are definitely times when you’ll need to hire a professional.

For example, if your home’s exterior is damaged, this is a job for a pro. This type of damage can include mold damage and cracked materials. Painting services may just be the best option if you would rather get the best quality, regardless of how much you need to pay.

Try These Exterior Painting Tips

DIY exterior painting has many cost-saving advantages. However, you’ll need to do as good of work as a professional. The best course of action is to follow these exterior painting tips.

Use these painting techniques as a guide, only work with the best-quality brushes, and find the best color. Hire a professional if your home’s exterior is damaged or you don’t think you’re cut out for the work.

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