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Exterior Painting Tips

If you have prepared the exterior of your home for painting, it probably does not look its best right now. Your house probably is stripped of its shutters and other decorating touches and scraped and sanded everywhere. Applying the paint is the relatively easy part of the job. You will see the house transferred before your eyes and this can be very satisfying.

Take note of the following safety tips while painting.

  • Use cautions around electrical service lines especially if using an aluminum ladder.

  • Get help when moving a heavy extension ladder so you are in control of it.

  • Expect bees or birds to fly out of cracks in the roof soffits. Always keep one hand on the ladder so that you're less likely to fall when surprised. Protect yourself by wearing a long sleeved shirt, long pants and a hat or painters hood. Carry wasp spray with you and aim form a safe distance if you encounter a wasp or bee.

  • Wear a respirator if you are working with products that suggest application in a well-ventilated area.

  • Drink plenty of water, especially on a hot day.

Using ladders safely outdoors.

Never over reach when using a ladder. As tedious as it may be, having to stop to repeatedly move the ladder, do it. The trunk of your body should remain on the ladders rails and your free arm should be wrapped around the rail of the ladder.

Always open a stepladder fully and lock the braces in place before climbing on it. 

Set up the ladder so the bottom is the proper distance away from the wall, approximately one fourth the working length of the ladder.

Check to make use your ladder is in good condition before starting any big job.

Use a spray lubricant, like WD 40 on all moving, metal-to-metal parts. Be sure to wipe off any lubricant that gets on the rungs.  

Many ladders have accessories that can either come with the ladder or you can purchase to make sure the ladder is safe to use.

The following accessories may be useful:

  • A stabilizer gives a ladder more lateral stability and allows you to center a ladder over a window so that you can paint the entire window without moving the ladder.

  • Scaffolding allows you to access a wider area. You can use two ladders to support a scaffold plank.

  • A wood or aluminum plank sits on a pair of ladder jacks, which hooks on to the rungs of each ladder. This set up is recommended for work at low to moderate heights. It is not recommended for second story work.

  • Automatic levelers let you can quickly set an extension ladder with secure footing on uneven surfaces. Without these you may need to either dig up on area under the rail or build up with lumbar.

Weather conditions.
  • It is best to wait for warm weather before starting any painting job. Most paint requires a temperature of at least 50 degrees and above to apply and may require the temperature to be at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Ideally, you need a few days of sunny weather to dry the house out after any rain or power washing. If you need to apply prime, you will need at least another day. This application of a topcoat takes another day at least. Do allow the specified drying time between coats of paint, otherwise you may see blistering no matter what type of paint you are using.

  • Latex and alkyd finishes may affect your decision of when to paint. You can apply most alkyd finishes even if you expect rain within a few hours however don't try this with latex finishes. You can apply latex finish on slightly damp surfaces, but do not this with alkyd finishes.

  • Be careful to avoid painting on breezy days, dirt, bugs mold spores and pollen can lodge in the wet paint. In the case of latex paint, it can cause the paint to dry too quickly causing cracking or flaking.

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