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Time to get out the paint bucket

Posted by Woodrow Aames ~ May 10, 2012

Hopefully exterior painting is not on your home improvement to-do list every year. But if this is your year, you either want to hire a paint contractor or mark out time on your calendar to do it yourself before fall. Let's look at some common painting mistakes and how to plan for success.

Check the weather

With Farmer's Almanacs and instant digital long-term forecasts, you should come up with an optimal time to schedule the work. Summertime is the perfect time for exterior painting, but in some parts of the country, you can count on sudden showers in warm months.

Overly hot days can cause lap marks when the paint dries too quickly. On the other hand, temperatures under 50 degrees can impact the drying of latex exterior paint. If you reside in a windy climate, you can prep all you like, but hold off painting until a still day or your paint will have dust and dirt in the finish.

Prepping for exterior painting

Inspect your home completely. Walk around looking for rot or mildew, popped nails, split wood and blistered paint. Remove rust stains and repair leaking gutters and downspouts. Fill, sand and prime cracks. You'll need to attend to all these issues before scraping and washing.

A wire brush or putty knife should be sufficient for removing blistered or defective paint, or use a pull scraper for difficult spots. Beware when using a sander to keep the surface plumb all across the wall. Avoid divots.

Now your walls are ready for a power washing and air drying before you apply the paint. And cover your shrubs with a drop cloth.

Avoiding common miscues

With do-it-yourself exterior painting there's the element of chance. If you don't paint for a living, you may easily end up with drips, brush marks, runs or lap marks. Avoid lap marks by working in small areas, filling them in while the borders are still wet.

Start your brushing against a corner and finish your line with an up and off stroke in a finished area. If you're using a roller, be sure to end each roll into a wet section of the paint. Check the inside edges and corners where excess paint tends to pool and brush out any runs.

If you find runs and tell-tale blobs after the paint dries, you can sand it gently off and touch it up. Even if you find lap marks after the first coat dries, a second coat applied correctly will cover it.

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