Before You Paint The Exterior—Things To Consider

Beautiful living room in Pacific Palisades, CA Before You Paint The Exterior

Before You Paint The Exterior —Things To Consider. Mediterranean villa, Palisades style.

by Don Clasen

Let’s face it. Home ownership can be expensive, and maintenance and upkeep of the exterior especially is no small part of the equation. However the advantages of getting the exterior painted are many, including:

  • Aesthetic beauty and pride of neighborhood.
  • Protection of the structure of your home.
  • Maintaining the appraisal value of your property.
  • The discovery of wood rot, termites, other pests and other problems while the painter is prepping the surface.

In light of these things, having an experienced painter working on your house is important, someone who won’t just give it a once-over to maximize their profit.

A Tip For Finding Your Perfect Color Combination

Let’s take a look at the first one—beautifying your home.  The choice of colors plays a big role here. Two or three colors together may not necessarily clash but they may not coordinate either. Good matches will complement one another. While not being as skilled in this as say a professional interior designer, I have had enough experience over 35 years to know what works and what doesn’t. I’ve tried to design my website in a way for instance wherein its colors speak for my own sense of pleasing aesthetics.

While it’s true that there are no rules in decorating—whatever the customer wants to live with is right for them—I also want you to know I am available free of charge for this process if you would like. I will work patiently until you get the colors you want.

One approach that can help here if you’re feeling indecisive is to write down the address of another home with a color scheme you like. We could match their colors with the homeowner’s permission. Most of the time they feel flattered that someone is that impressed and won’t mind at all. Just make sure they don’t live too close to you!

An Ounce Of Prevention…

Then there’s the second consideration, protecting the building’s structure. When painting the exterior especially, you are not just decorating but sealing everything off from the elements. A little bit of prevention here goes a long way and will spare you expensive repairs down the road.

Like most contractors trying to maximize his profits, for many years I and my crew would spray paint exteriors. But I eventually trended away from that approach. Spray paint is thinned down much more than normal and just enough of it is applied to cover the old color. Also, it just tends to lay on the surface. That works great for cars and appliances, but with the cracks and porousness of a typical exterior, it just doesn’t penetrate and seal the surface.

Now, if I spray, I make sure to back roll and get enough of that paint jammed into the surface. Otherwise I often will just brush and roll full strength unless there’s a large amount of area to cover. This really seals the surface off from the elements much better.

My Little Workhorse

One of the unsung heroes of painting here as I call it, is a good quality paintable caulk. It covers a multitude of sins. Think of caulk as thick and flexible paint that can fill in and plug cracks and gaps in a way paint cannot. It is so cheap compared to other products, but there must be a commitment to using it liberally on the painter’s part if it’s warranted. I also make sure to smooth it in with my fingers to make sure no ridges are left.

If you are planning on painting your house yourself, be careful of what you get. Avoid 100% silicone caulk if you can at all do so. It’s very flexible, but the paint will not stick to it and on its own it will discolor with time.

For painting you want a hybrid known as “siliconized” caulk which is paintable. It should be a 25-year minimum in terms of durability, with 40-year being even better. The higher the rating, the more flexible it will be and less subject to crumbling with time.

DAP is a good brand here. Saving a dollar here on a cheaper one is not worth it. In painting a whole house especially, your biggest cost is in the labor, not the materials. You are better off paying a slight bit more for good quality than to skimp here or on any materials.

This brings us to the question of which brand paint and what quality, a subject that deserves an entire post of its own.