Exterior Painting Basics – Painting Tips

Paint one side of the house at a time starting with the highest point. Apply a full even coat, brushing from the unpainted dry areas into the paint’s wet edge. Complete one side of the house, as stopping in the middle of a side can contribute to color variation. Do not paint in direct sunlight, as this will cause the paint to dry too quickly. Do not paint if rain is anticipated within 8 hours.

Brushes are very popular for use on exterior siding and trim. There are a number of brush sizes available in both straight edge and angled sash. When painting aluminum, vinyl or lap siding, choose a brush that is the same width as the “board” you will be painting to save you time and energy. Paint pads are also effective on these surfaces. Rollers work well on stucco surfaces. Be sure to choose a roller nap length that matches the amount of texture the surface has. The more textured the surface, the longer the nap should be. Spray equipment can also be used but be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions carefully.

High quality applicators will provide the best painting results. Cheap or low quality applicators can make the best quality paint look and perform poorly. Inexpensive brushes do not spread the paint evenly and leave unsightly brush marks. Cheap roller covers also do not spread the paint evenly on the surface and often leave pieces of “fuzz” on the wall. Lower quality applicators are also harder to use because you have to work to compensate for the problems they cause. High quality applicators can be cleaned and used again. It pays to buy the best paint and applicators!

Timesaving Tip: If you take a short break from painting, you can wrap your applicators tightly in a plastic bag or aluminum foil instead of washing them!

Always be sure to stir the paint thoroughly before using and do not thin the paint. If you are using more than one gallon of the same color, mix them together in order to insure color consistency. Paint when the ambient and surface temperatures are between 50°F and 85°F. Avoid touching, wiping, or wetting a freshly painted surface for 30 days to allow the paint to completely cure. After 30 days, the painted surface can be cleaned with a mild, non-abrasive cleaner and water. Do not place or hang objects on the surface until the paint is thoroughly dry.


Exterior Painting – Frequently asked questions

Can I paint over aluminum/vinyl siding?
Yes. Always make sure the surface is cleaned to remove any chalk or dirt. Never apply paint that is darker than the original painted surface on vinyl siding.

Do I need to wash my house before I paint?
Yes. Surfaces must be clean before painting. Thoroughly wash with a house cleaner and water solution, making sure to remove any and all mildew. Rinse and allow to dry.

How much paint do I need?
Be sure to utilize our Paint Gallon Calculator in the Project Planner section to help you determine how many cans to buy for your next project.

To achieve one-coat coverage, paint should be applied at a maximum of 400 square feet per gallon. Rough or textured surfaces may require more paint. On these areas allow for 25-30 square feet per gallon. Some bright colors may require multiple costs to achieve sufficient hide.

How do I apply the paint?
When using more than one gallon of the same product, mix the gallons together to insure color and sheen uniformity. Two coats of this paint will provide maximum protection.

How do I paint shingles & shakes?
Shingles offer natural breaking points, paint in a vertical direction.

How do I care for freshly painted surfaces?
We suggest not washing your newly painted surface for at least 30 days. After that time, dirt and stains may be removed using a mild, non-abrasive cleanser and water.

I have never painted the exterior of my home before….?
When painting the exterior of your home always start with a clean surface; paint one side of the house at a time, starting with the highest point; apply a full even coat to one side of the house at a time and always paint the trim last.

What conditions are best for painting my house?
Generally you should only paint when the surface is between 50F and 85F. High temperatures cause the water in the paint to evaporate too quickly, while low temperatures prevent latex from covering properly. Always avoid painting in direct sunlight, strong winds, or when rain is expected within 8 hours.

What tools do I need?
Depending on your project and the type of structure you are painting, paints may be applied with a nylon/polyester brush, a paint pad or spray unit.

What is the proper way to use spray equipment?
It is always safe to operate spray equipment with safety cautions. Use respiratory and eye protection. All spray units are different and it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.