Looking to welcome spring and enhance your home's curb appeal? Painting your house's exterior can be a big job, with a big reward. But before starting, you'll need to make some critical choices -- whether you're doing the job yourself or hiring a painter.
First, how do you know when it's time? Plan for new paint if you see paint peeling, bubbling, cracking or fading, damaged wood, or siding that is rusted or discolored.
"If you value design on the exterior as you do the interior, you may want to paint to introduce more modern colors," says Art Noparstak, the senior brand manager of exterior paint for Valspar paint. "This can be part of remodeling before you sell a home or when you simply want to keep pace with changing times. As a cost-savings feature, painting siding that is in good condition can save thousands of dollars when compared to replacing it."
Once you decide to move ahead, there are many things to consider, such as color combinations, paint sheen, the type of material being painted (wood, aluminum, vinyl, etc.), the quantity of paint needed and what tools to use.
Before choosing colors, you'll need to find the right paint type for the job. Here are some tips from Noparstak:
- The most important part of painting is preparation. Make sure all surfaces are properly cleaned, repaired and free of dirt, chalk, mildew and loose, flaking and peeling paint. Additionally, depending upon the surface's condition and what is currently on it, a primer may be needed. For more help, talk with the paint expert at your local home center or hardware store.
- Choose paint with a flat finish to hide imperfections. Flat paint is typically used for main surfaces of your home.
- Satin paint has a low sheen providing an all-purpose finish, and can be used for the main surface and other surfaces (trim, shutters, eaves, etc.). Satin paints are great for aluminum siding and vinyl siding because they replicate the original factory finish.
- Semi-Gloss paint provides a shinier finish and is used mostly for doors, trim, shutters, etc.
- Paints with lifetime guarantees will withstand the elements longer than lower-quality paints.
- Water-based paints (latex, acrylic) can be used over most surfaces. They are easier to apply and clean and emit less odor. The highest quality water-based paints will have "100 percent acrylic" on the label.
- Oil-based paints (oil, alkyd) should be used when repainting over oil-based paint.
Once the type of paint for the project is decided, move on to choosing a color scheme.
"It's fun to think of your house as a large package. The color outside is the wrapping and the interior holds the gifts," says Ann McGuire, of Beehive Studios and color consultant for Valspar.
Finally, consider your surroundings. You don't want to be the house standing out for the wrong reasons. You don't have to match your neighbors, just harmonize with them. If other houses are painted in warm, natural tones don't introduce loud, garish colors.
For more painting tips visit www.valspar.com.
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