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Exterior Painting

If exterior painting is on your spring to-do list, there’s plenty of incentive to do the job right: By following proper procedures, you’ll help ensure that your paint job will not only look more attractive, but also last much longer, so you won’t have to re-paint anytime soon.


So, what are the keys to a great-looking, long-lasting paint job? Debbie Zimmer, paint and color expert at the Paint Quality Institute, says it’s important that you do four things:




  1. Prepare the surface properly. A professional-looking paint job always begins with good surface preparation. The surface should be clean and sound, free of dirt, mildew, and loose, flaking, or peeling paint. Areas that are bare – because they are unpainted or because the paint has worn off – should be primed with a top quality exterior primer before they are painted. (See sidebar for specifics on various exterior surfaces.)
  2. Use high quality brushes and rollers. Quality tools and accessories make painting more effortless and apply a thicker, more uniform coat of paint, which in turn enhances its durability. If you choose to speed your work by using power washing and spray equipment, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  3. Apply top quality paint. The highest quality paints adhere better, are far more flexible (to withstand expansion, contraction, or other movement in the exterior), and contain special additives to resist mold and mildew formation. That makes them much more durable than ordinary paints. In most cases, the best choice is a top quality 100% acrylic latex paint.
  4. Paint in the right weather conditions. It’s best to do exterior painting in mild weather, ideally when the temperature is between 60 and 85 degrees F., with little or no wind. Paints form the most protective coating in this type of weather.


As you can see, it isn’t difficult to get a durable exterior paint job, as long as you go about things in the right way. So, follow this expert advice and use these four keys to unlock the perfect exterior paint job on your home.


House Exterior


Since your home is likely your biggest investment, would you even dream of gambling it away?  Probably not, but you are rolling the dice if you apply a poor quality paint to your home’s exterior.

A low grade of paint can fail very quickly.  It can flake and peel, expose a home to the elements, and result in costly structural damage.  Why run the risk, especially when it can actually be cheaper to invest in a better quality paint that offers more protection for your home?

“Too often, homeowners try to save a little money by trading down to a run-of-the-mill paint.  The better approach is to trade up to top quality paint, which will protect better, last longer, and actually save money in the long run,” says Debbie Zimmer, paint and color expert at the Paint Quality Institute.

According to Zimmer, top quality 100% acrylic paint can last 10 years or more when applied to a properly prepared surface, while lower quality paints last only about four years.  What’s more, the cost of paint is a small part of the overall job — most of the expense goes for the contractor’s labor – so why not apply the best possible coating?

Consider the following hypothetical, involving a home with 3,500 square feet of exterior surface that requires 20 gallons of paint:

  • At $50 per gallon for 20 gallons of top quality paint ($1,000) and $6,000 for the contractor’s labor, it would cost $7,000 to paint the home.  Assuming the paint job lasts 10 years, the cost per year of service would be $700.
  • At $25 per gallon for 20 gallons of lower quality paint ($500) and $6,000 for the contractor’s labor, it would cost $6,600 to paint the home.  Assuming the paint job lasts four years, the cost per year of service would be $1,625 – more than twice as much!

Even if a contractor were not involved, it would still be more economical to apply top quality paint:

  • Twenty gallons of top quality paint would cost $1,000 and the life expectancy of the job would be 10 years – for a cost per year of just $100.
  • Twenty gallons of lower quality paint would cost $500 and the life expectancy of the job would be 4 years – for a higher cost per year of $125.

How can you be sure that top quality 100% acrylic latex paints last so much longer than other paints?  The estimates are based on decades of research conducted by the Paint Quality Institute at outdoor testing sites nationwide.

According to Zimmer, these findings are no surprise.

“Top quality paints are specifically designed to adhere much better to properly prepared exterior surfaces, reducing the likelihood of peeling, chipping or flaking.  They also are very flexible, so they continue to adhere even when the surface expands or contracts due to changing temperatures,” she says.

These and other performance benefits lead to a longer lasting paint job and a better return on your investment in paint.  So, don’t gamble when purchasing house paint:  Go with the best and get the best value!


~Courtesy of the Paint Quality Institute:


It looks like another hot summer!  As a place that doesn’t regularly have summers with temperatures over 90 for very many consecutive days, we don’t often need to worry much about painting in hot weather. But the past couple of years have brought more of those days than in recent years.

As usual, we receive a lot of inquiries about the subject when temperatures reach the upper 90’s and into triple digits. One such question might be something like “Can it be too hot to paint?”.

The answer is a definitive yes, it can.  Being that we are only starting the summer, and we typically get hot weather well into September, for those of you with painting your exterior still on your summer list of “to-do’s”, here are a few tips for you for painting in high temperature weather.

When air and/or surface temperature exceed 90 degrees, the application and drying characteristics of paint can be compromised. The warmer it gets, the more you risk having problems. Most paints will adhere and cure even when applied over very warm surfaces, but you may have trouble with lap marks, brush strokes that don’t go away, and sometimes bubbling as the water (or solvent) evaporates too quickly.

In hot weather it is best to paint early in the day when temps are lower. Stop painting if you start to notice application problems or if the surface you are painting is in direct sunlight during the heat of the day. Experienced painters will start on surfaces that are shaded early in the day and work into the shade as the sun goes overhead. Pay attention to the surface temps as well. Metal surfaces that have been in full sun will hear up a lot faster that masonry or wood. Dark colors absorb heat and will raise surface temperatures as well. These surfaces also stay warm much longer as well.

Basically, you simply don’t want the paint to dry too fast. It can be a recipe for disaster. So remember that while you can paint in the heat, there are a few guidelines for you to adhere, to ensure your paint will too.



Trim 1


A few weeks ago we shared Tips for Painting Wood Trim and this week we’ll look at low maintenance products that look and feel like traditional wood, but are made from cellular PVC (polyvinyl chloride). Synthetic products are replacing traditional wood for both interior and exterior applications and one of the industry leaders in these products is from a company called AZEK®. These products are used primarily for exterior trim use, but also come in soffit materials, bead board, cove moldings, decking, etc.


Trim 2


Painting tips for man-made products:

  • AZEK® products are impervious to moisture and do not require paint for protection, but will accept paint and hold paint very well.
  • Some customers prefer to lightly hand sand the cut or moulded surfaces for a smoother finish or to remove very faint streaks of surface yellowing sometimes produced during moulding.
  • The standard is white and if you have a color other than white in mind, or want a painted surface, use 100% acrylic latex paint, with a Light Reflective Value of 55 or higher. LRV values can be found on the back of the paint chips in the COLOR IS fandeck.
  • AZEK® surfaces must be clean, dry, and void of any foreign materials such as dirt, grease, or other contaminants that might come from normal handling, storage, and/or installation of the product prior to painting.
  • Paints tend to last longer on Azek® products than it does on wood because there are no moisture issues.
  • Since AZEK®products have no moisture absorption, paints may take longer to fully cure than they do on wood. Generally most paints will be dry to the touch fairly quickly (60 minutes or less) but may take up to 30 days or more to fully cure depending on temperatures and humidity.

Low maintenance products still get dirty and dingy. Dish detergent or Oxyclean can be used for cleaning AZEK® trim. Frequently asked questions on AZEK® products available here.



~This post inspired/contributed by ColorGuild. ColorGuild, the global paint and color authority, is a member based organization serves as a definitive resource on color and coatings.  As a member of ColorGuild, we welcome their contributions.

The Right Way to Paint Exterior Trim

Any do-it-yourself homeowner knows that painting an exterior can be tricky. We don’t want to be tackling this project again until we get sick of the color. The majority of your home’s exterior trim is wood, which expands and contracts with temperature extremes and retains moisture once the paint film is broken. Unfortunately, this may cause yourexterior paint to peel. One of Color Guild’s members shared some stellar tips to make sure you have the least amount of maintenance as possible.



All standard painting rules apply. The surface needs to be clean, dull and dry. We always recommend scraping any loose paint off and sanding the surface and prime any bare spots.



The most effective primer will be a traditional oil-based primer. The oil base primer offers superior penetration and adhesion and may be coated with a high quality 100% acrylic latex paint. Preferably something with a sheen as the additional sheen offers a slightly smoother more durable finish. However if you are sensitive to solvents in paint, are somewhat of an environmentalist and green, or just prefer to use water based primer, be sure to get a high quality primer. This isn’t somewhere to skimp!

Using a bonding primer is a great solution for trim that traditionally has peeling problems, especially on the horizontal bottom surfaces exposed more to moisture and sun.

Always use two coats of paint over either the oil base primer or bonding primer. This gives a thicker paint film and will always be more durable and longer lasting than one coat.

Even if you do everything perfectly, still expect to do some maintenance every few years on your exterior trim. So don’t get discouraged because just like us, our houses take some serious abuse from the great outdoors.


~This post inspired/contributed by ColorGuild. ColorGuild, the global paint and color authority, is a member based organization serves as a definitive resource on color and coatings.  As a member of ColorGuild, we welcome their contributions.

Exterior Evolutioin WPThis was posted recently to our Facebook page by a customer of ours, Mike Pope of Woodland Painting LLC based in SW Washington.  We love this stuff!

You can visit them by clicking the link to their website above or visit them on Facebook here.

Looks like a job well done too.

Thanks Mike!



It’s that time of year again.

Time to assess the situation of your exterior paint.  If it is indeed time to paint the outside of your home, here is a post borrowed from Color Guild, one of our partners in crime in the color biz!

How to paint your home exterior.

What is any color imaginable, has the ability to transform, and the power to protect from sun, wind, and rain? No, it’s not Superman. Just a fresh coat of exterior paint for your home! Give your home a second lease on life by painting the exterior. The average house takes about 60 hours to paint, but the impression will last years. The exterior of your home delivers first impressions. Bring the personality of your home from the inside to the out by showing it some tender loving care. Here’s what you need to know to paint the exterior of your home with precision and quality.

Steps to a First Class Paint Job

  1. Wash. Scrub-a-dub-dub! A thorough washing is necessary to ensure a finished product you’re proud of. Wet the walls then begin scrubbing in sections from bottom to top to avoid streaks. Use a solution of one gallon of water mixed with one cup chlorine bleach and one cup of either a concentrated, phosphate-free cleaner, such as a trisodium phosphate (TSP) substitute, or Jomax House Cleaner. Rinse the walls again before the solution dries. Wood siding and paneling should take a day or two to fully dry before you can begin painting.
  2. Scrape. If it has flaked, peeled, bubbled, or blistered it is time to go. Confirm your paint is lead-free and protect yourself with a dust mask. If scraping by hand, it will be a time consuming process, but remember, the tortoise wins the race. This is the least damaging way to remove layers. Make it a little less painful by using a heating gun to soften paint. For safety, use a respirator and cover plants and shrubs with a tarp.
  3. Sand. Pat yourself on the back, it’s time to assess what’s left. The boundary between the paint and the bare wood can be smoothed with 50- or 80-grit sandpaper if most of the paint still adheres well and it’s not too bumpy. Make sure that there is a feathered, smooth transition from exposed wood to old paint. Follow up with 100- or 120-grit sandpaper to erase scratches.
  4. Patch. Put that caulk down. Wait to cover cracks with caulk until you have primed. You should however repair rot and fill in dents with two-step epoxies.
  5. Prime. Penetrate, seal, and protect with a primer. Acrylic primers can be used on most surfaces, but oil-based coatings must be used on cedar or redwood. Tint the primer a contrasting color to the top coat. This will allow you to see the color coming through, a sure sign you need to apply more paint.
  6. Caulk. Caulk all small joints less than 1/4 inch wide once the primer is dry. Don’t skip this step! If your joints fail, you’re back to the beginning.
  7. Paint. Time for the main event! Acrylic paints reign supreme as they don’t mildew readily, move and breath without blistering, emit fewer VOCs, and work well over oil or water based primers. Follow the pros and use a paint sprayer, but be cautious of drips or thin coats. Cover EVERYTHING that you don’t want to get sprayed. Use a brush if you’re a newbie. Always start at the top and work your way down and work in the shade away from the sun’s glare. Simultaneously be wary of those clouds though. Rain can wash away freshly applied paint.
  8. Bonus Tip. Spray paint nailheads with a metal primer to prevent rust.



~This post inspired/contributed by ColorGuild. ColorGuild, the global paint and color authority, is a member based organization serves as a definitive resource on color and coatings.  As a member of ColorGuild, we welcome their contributions and appreciate their opinions.