The first and biggest step
The biggest way to make a difference to your house is giving it a new coat of paint. This would cost you thousands if you were to hire a pro. But by doing it yourself you could save a small fortune and this can transform a house from rundown to brand new.
Now the first step to painting your house is a big one and I can bet most people wouldn’t think of it.
- Testing for lead: If your house was built before 1978. There is probably lead in the paint. This isn’t that bad you just have to be careful when you clean and remove some of that paint. Weir a mask, don’t breath in any dust.
- Scrape of loose paint: A handheld scraper is usually the best tool for the job, though you can also use a hot-air gun or infrared paint stripper. This is also where you have to be careful of that pesky lead. To work lead-safe, wear a mask and Tyvek suit, spray water on the paint as you scrape, and collect the debris.
- Sand rough spots: Look on the bright side it’s only the rough spots. A pad sander or random-orbit fitted with 80-grit sandpaper will smooth out any remaining rough spots.
- Fill and repair: Now step back and look at the house take note of any holes, dings, and chips. Fill minor holes or dings in the siding with a patching putty or compound such as Zinsser’s Ready Patch.
- Apply Primer: White, gray, or tinted primer provides an even base for topcoats to adhere to, and a uniform canvas from which to survey your work. Small gaps in joints and around doors, windows, and other spots where horizontals meet verticals will all stand out in high relief, showing where you need to fill in with caulk.
- Caulk all joints: Siliconized or top-of-the line polyurethane acrylic caulks give paint jobs a smooth, pleasing look. But the benefits aren’t purely aesthetic. Tight joints also prevent air leaks and block water penetration. Spring for the $7-a-tube polyurethane caulks with 55-year warranties, which will stand up to weather better than 35-year caulks that cost less than $3. The average house requires about seven tubes of caulk.
- The right paint: Painting with water-based acrylic latex is so much easier than dealing with oil-based paints. If your house already sports an oil-based paint, which is more durable than latex, you’ll have to stick with it. Choose finishes carefully. As a rule, the higher the sheen, the better the paint is at blocking the sun’s damaging rays. Satin is fine for shingles or clapboards, but you’ll want gloss paint to protect high-traffic parts of a house, such as window casings, porches, and door-frames. A gallon of premium exterior latex costs $35 to $45.
- Apply top coat: Less is more when it comes to applying top coats. More layers can result in paint flaking off through the years; less paint bonds better to layers beneath.