Exterior Painting Mistakes To Avoid

If you are a veteran of painting projects in the past, you already have a pretty good idea of some of the pitfalls to avoid.  But here are a few of the less familiar things to keep in mind when undertaking that next paint job:

Pay close attention to the condition of the surface

Is loose paint cracking, or forming blisters?  Is the finish peeling only as deep as the previous film?  This could be an adhesion problem, or something that goes deeper.  In the places that appear dirty, is it actually mold?  A closer inspection will provide clues as to whether you might be dealing with leaks, condensation, or simply poor surface-preparation in the past.

Power washing prior to painting

When washing vertical surfaces, start from the bottom and work up.  This will help prevent streaks from drips.  Be sure you complete an entire plane/wall in one session, and then, before the surface dries, rinse from the top down.  Of course, once the plane/wall is dry and it’s time to paint, then start at the top and work down to brush out any drips.

Get the timing right

Factory-primed doors and siding must be painted within 30 to 180 days, depending on the product.  Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Stain or prime and paint bare wood immediately after installation.  Pressure-treated wood should be finished when drips of water don’t bead on the surface.

Don’t paint too early in the morning; a good guide is to wait until the grass is dry.  Don’t coat while direct sunlight is beaming on the surface.  This can cause wrinkles in the finish or premature fading of the color.  Paint west-facing walls in the morning and east-facing ones in the afternoon.

Allow time between coats for complete drying.  And don’t wait too long before the next refinishing, or you’ll have more surface prep work to do.

Pay attention to the temperature and elements

Believe the label’s instructions which prescribe limits on humidity and on the surface and air temperatures.  Liquids may crystallize on an uncured finish during frigid temperatures.  Be wary of painting if it’s particularly windy.  Not only can wind deposit debris on the wet surface, but it can also create blistering.

Be safe!

When working in high places, use reliable ladders, scaffolding or lifts.  Don’t trust the rickety ladder you’ve had around forever.  And just as contractors must now deal with stiff requirements while working on older homes, do-it-yourselfers should likewise exercise caution when it comes to removing old paint, which may be lead-based.