Wednesday, October 21

How to Decide Whether or Not to Hire Professional Painting Contractors to Paint Your Home

Location: Atlanta, GA, USA
Planning to repaint the exterior
of your home yourself? Learn
how to do a professional job.
There are many factors to consider when trying to decide whether painting your own home can be a DIY project. Try this as an initial guideline: Straight exteriors on a simple, box-shaped house make for easier work. Irregularly shaped homes of two stories or more with dormers, gingerbread, or turrets, for example, tend to make for a more time-consuming and complicated project that may suggest a professional is needed.

Next, look at the grade (the finished surface slant of ground) around the house for ladder positioning. It’s a plus if all sides have flat ground up to the house. Walkouts with slopes make it difficult to safely position ladders. Also check to see if obstacles like trees, shrubs, decks, fences, vines, or electric wires will be in the way.

Additionally, examine your house for potential problems that may require extensive prep work. Wood rot, mildew, severe peeling, or alligatoring are typical siding problems. Cracked window panes, crumbling glaze, and loose caulking around trim are other issues. If you’re familiar with solving these problems, just be prepared that you might need a few extra days to remedy the situations. Talk with an experienced paint retailer about the problem for some potential solutions. Another option might be to consider hiring a pro to fix any extensive issues before you get started.

Finally, assess the list of materials you will need and estimate their cost and your labor:

  • Lifts and Ladders. Do you need ladders, scaffolding, planks, or lifts? While a one-story home may only require a ladder, a multi-story house may need not only larger ladders but perhaps scaffolding and planks or a lift. While you may be able to rent needed equipment, consider if you will be comfortable working at heights.
  • Prep materials. Preparing the house is the first step. Basic cleaning supplies include scrub brushes, pails, bleach for mildew, a cleaning agent such as TSP (trisodium phosphate), and a hose with spray nozzle. Tip: Consider power washers to clean exterior surfaces. Check into hand and eye protection for this equipment and follow the guidelines. Have drop cloths, rags, and masking tape for around critical areas such as windows. Use canvas drop cloths instead of plastic so the grass or flowers underneath are not cooked in the sun.
  • Paint removers. If you have many areas of blistering or peeling paint, a good amount of scraping may be ahead. Carbide blade scrapers will be needed if a fair amount of scraping is involved. Also try using an old, dry paint brush to sweep dust away. Just be sure to use dust masks to protect your lungs. Chemical removers may be necessary if the paint has to be softened to be removed, as is the case with many older homes with coats of paint. After getting rid of the loose paint, sandpaper will feather the edges smooth.
  • Caulking. This is a must to seal up cracks around windows and doors and to maintain flexibility and adhesion over many years. There are many types of caulks available. Discuss your project with your paint retailer. Before purchasing any caulk, check the manufacturer’s instructions for recommended surfaces. Make sure the caulk you have selected is paintable and remains flexible to expand and contract with your home. Caulks that are 100% silicone, for example, are not paintable.
  • Paint applicators. Quality brushes are made for the latex, oil, or varnish paints you will apply. The brush hairs are typically of varying lengths and taper neatly. They have a ferrule, or band, that holds the bristles tightly to the handle. Quality brushes hold more paint, don’t lose bristles, paint more smoothly, and are easier to use than cheaper alternatives. Spray equipment is a possibility if the house has a lot of flat surfaces with few doors or windows. Remember that sprayers require extensive cleaning. Overspray can be a problem, so everything needs to be covered well and you will need to get familiar with the use of a sprayer. Rollers also can be a time saver.
  • Primer. You will need to prime any new, severely weathered, or problem areas to make sure there will be a proper seal of the surface and a smooth surface for the paint. A primer does not need to be used on a clean, dull, coated surface that is in good condition. Typically you will want to choose a primer geared specifically for your job. If your paint will be 100% acrylic latex, you will want to use a 100% acrylic resins primer. If there are problem areas, however, consult with your local paint retailer for the best choice.
  • Paint. For most jobs, you will want 100% acrylic latex paint. A quality acrylic paint adheres best and holds its color much better than less expensive paints. If doing it yourself, consult a knowledgeable retailer to get the right products for the project.
READ MORE >> "Painting the House: Should You Hire a Pro?"

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