It’s the time of year again to give the exterior of your house a fresh look with new paint. There are three main rules to remember when painting an exterior surface; preparation, preparation and finally preparation. Paint will oxidize just like metal will rust so you need to give the new paint a solid surface to stick to.

The first step in preparing the surface is to scrape off any loose or peeling paint. This can be done with a putty knife or an angled-blade paint scraper, scraping with the direction of the wood grain, not across the grain. Often times after you scrape, there will a rough edge that will show up even after the new paint is on the structure. To prevent this from happening, you should lightly sand down the edges before applying any paint or primer. For the best result, any bare wood should be primed with an oil-based primer to insure better adhesion.

The entire surface needs to be scrubbed to get rid of the oxidation. If this is not done, the new paint will more than likely peel off and the entire process will be wasted time and money. The best product for this is TSP (tri-sodium phosphate). To use the TSP properly, you need to start at a corner and scrub a 3 foot section from the top of the wall to the bottom using a medium bristle scrub brush that mounts on a pole. Once the section is scrubbed, rinse immediately before it has a chance to dry.

The last thing to consider is what paint to use. Exterior paint comes in sheens ranging from flat to gloss. Remember that the more flat the finish, the more dirt particles will stick to it. What we find is that Satin is the most popular sheen for the walls and some people will use semi-gloss for the trim. It is also important to use a good quality paint for your home. A good paint job should last from 10 – 15 years so don’t shop price, shop quality. You can ask friends and neighbors or check out consumer guide and see how potential paints are rated.

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