When determining the total cost of a home exterior paint project, you'll want to include the cost of materials like paint, supplies and other items you might want to cover in addition to the siding. If you know the average cost of these items in addition to your home exterior project cost, you'll have a good plan in place when you start calling for professional estimates. This also gives you the option to purchase or paint some items yourself to save money. Here are some of those cost factors and what you might expect to pay:
Small random-orbit or pad sanders make this job go faster. (Wallis first covers these boundaries with Synkoloid patching compound so no edge is visible after sanding.) As shown, you want to make sure that there is a feathered, smooth transition from exposed wood to old paint. For areas that might get close scrutiny, you can follow up with a 100- or 120-grit rubdown to erase any scratches.
As any painter will tell you, prep work is just as important -- if not more important -- than the paint application itself. If the paint on your house is chipping or peeling, it needs to be scraped and sanded smooth before applying a new finish. In most cases, you won’t need to remove all the existing paint, but scraping, sanding, patching, caulking, and priming are critical steps that take place before the start of most exterior painting jobs.

There are cases where apartment complexes allow you to choose from a color wheel of neutral hues before you move in. Some charge a fee for calling in a painter to do the walls, while others offer new paint as a benefit of moving in. If you're not a fan of neutral colors, consider looking for an apartment that allows you to paint the walls a more expressive tone. Otherwise you can invest in boldly colored furniture and posters.
The pros were split on this tip. "Masking tape is problematic," says Mark Dixon, a painter in Missoula, Montana, and author of "House Painting Inside and Out" (Taunton Press, 1997). "Paint can bleed behind the tape, or remove the paint it's stuck to." Another problem is bridging. "Latex paints form a skin," says Dixon. "Removing painted tape can tear the skin, resulting in a ragged rather than a sharp line." Lastly, taping takes time. "Learning how to cut in with a brush takes practice, but if you can do it, you'll leave most tapers in the dust," Dixon says. (Cutting in is painting just the surface you want, not the surface adjacent to it — for example, where a wall meets the ceiling.) On the other hand, "If you can't cut in, you can't beat tape," says Span. The pros we spoke with all recommend painter's (blue) tape because it's easier to remove than masking tape. To prevent bleeding, Span uses a putty knife to bed the tape. After letting the paint dry, he scores the edge of the tape line with a utility knife to avoid tearing the paint.

According to the EPA, professional painters must check for lead -- especially if a home was built before 1978. Many DIY painters forget to test for lead paint. Testing kits are available in home improvement stores for less than $40. You can also hire a lead testing and removal professional to do this work quickly and efficiently on your behalf. Lead paint can be dangerous; it's far better to find it before you put time and effort into painting your home than after the fact.

The last big decision is how to apply the paint. Most pros use paint sprayers because they're fast, but in inexperienced hands a high-powered sprayer can leave drips, thin coats, and a mist that may land on many things other than your siding. If you do hire a painter who uses a sprayer, make sure he is meticulous about removing, covering, or masking off everything in the area that might get hit with overspray: gutters, roofs, windows, shrubbery, walkways, cars—you name it.

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