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Don't Paint Until You Read This! 10 Things You MUST Know for Exterior Painting

We consulted with experts in our industry with decades of experience to develop what we consider to be the top 10 things homeowners should know before painting their homes.

A fresh coat of paint on your home's exterior is truly transformative. It boosts curb appeal, makes the place feel loved, and even protects it from the elements. But before you grab those brushes, there are some essential things every homeowner needs to know.

There are so many things to know when you are considering painting your home, and it can be overwhelming and scarey, especially knowing that your home is one of your biggest investments.

Whether you're tackling this project yourself or hiring a pro (which, let's be honest, most of us will need!), a little knowledge will save you time, money, and a whole lot of headaches.

So, gather round, painting enthusiasts! Here are our top 10 essential tips for exterior house painting success:

1. It's More Than Just Color – Prep Work is King

Listen up, the most important part of an exterior paint job isn't the final color – it's what you do BEFORE the first drop of paint hits the wall. Proper preparation determines whether that beautiful new color is going to last for years or whether it'll be peeling off before next summer. Here's the breakdown:

  • Cleaning: Siding needs a good wash to remove dirt, mildew, and anything else that'll stop the paint from sticking. Pressure washing is fantastic if you know how to use it – too much pressure can damage some surfaces. Otherwise, scrubbing with a gentle cleaner goes a long way.

  • Scraping and Sanding: Loose, peeling paint has gotta go! Scrape and sand until you've got a sound surface.

  • Patching and Caulk: Fill cracks and holes, then caulk around trim, windows, and where different materials meet. This keeps out moisture and stops future cracks.

2. Match Your Paint to the Material

Not all paints are created equal, folks! Different exterior surfaces have different needs:

  • Fiber Cement (Hardi Plank): Next to brick this is the most common siding in the Houston, TX area. Acrylic Latex Exterior Paint is the hands-down winner for a high-quality, long-lasting paint job.

  • Brick: Use only breathable paint on brick; otherwise, you could trap moisture and cause damage down the road.

  • Wood: Choose paint designed for the type of wood you have; it'll handle the expansion and contraction.

  • Stucco: Special elastomeric paints are flexible enough to bridge those hairline cracks common in stucco.

  • Vinyl Siding: Today's vinyl-safe paints are fantastic, but check your siding's warranty. Some have restrictions on colors if you want it to remain valid.

3. Don't Skimp on the Primer

Primer isn't optional, especially on bare wood, but it's worth using even over old paint. It seals the surface, helps the topcoat adhere, and lets you get away with fewer coats of that expensive finish paint.

4. Beware the Weather Forecast

Painting in the blazing Texas sun, high winds, or right before a rainstorm is a recipe for trouble. Here's what to look for:

  • Temperature: Most paints need temps consistently above 50 degrees F to cure properly. Our Houston humidity slows things down even more.

  • Sun: Avoid painting in direct sunlight; it causes too-fast drying and problems like blisters. Follow the shade as it moves around your home.

  • Wind: Not only will this blow dirt and junk onto your wet paint, but it also speeds drying, which can affect how the paint lays down as you're brushing.

  • Rain: Enough said. Moisture + wet paint = disaster!

5. Quality Tools Make the Job

Rollers and brushes aren't a "one size fits all" situation. Here's a quick lesson in tools:

  • Rollers: Nap length (the fuzziness) depends on your surface – shorter for smooth, longer for rough. Invest in good quality rollers; they shed less.

  • Brushes Use natural bristles for oil-based paint, synthetic for water-based. A quality angled brush makes cutting in around trim way easier.

  • Sprayers: If you tackle large areas, a paint sprayer can be a lifesaver. Renting is an option, but be sure to practice your technique first!

6. Get Enough Paint (and Then Some!)

Running out of paint mid-project is the worst! Here's how to calculate and avoid the hassle:

  • Measure: Don't eyeball it! Get accurate square footage of areas to be painted.

  • Subtract openings: Windows and doors don't usually get painted.

  • Factor in Texture: Rough surfaces, like stucco, will need more paint than smooth ones.

  • Coverage: Most paints cover 300-400 sq ft per gallon, but that's in ideal situations where you squeeze every last drop out of the can, brush, and roller. Add 30% to account for waste on your project.

  • Buy Extra: Always get 10-15% more than you think you need. The paint mixing machines aren't 100% perfect, and even getting the exact same color could end up being slightly different from the color you initially bought.

7. Two Coats Minimum, Three is Even Better

Don't think of painting like putting on a band-aid – slapping on one thin coat of paint just won't cut it for long-term protection and looks. Here's why multiple coats matter:

  • Even Coverage: Helps hide what's underneath and gives you that beautiful, consistent color you're after.

  • Proper Film Build: This is how thick the dried paint layer is. Too thin, and it'll be vulnerable to the elements.

  • Durability: More coats simply make that paint job last longer. Two to three coats with quality paint can often get you up to a decade or more!

8. Hiring a Painting Contractor? Do Your Homework!

Hiring a pro for your exterior painting project can be the difference between a joyous experience and a major headache. Here's what you need to know:

  • Licensing: While not required in Texas, it's a sign of professionalism.

  • Insurance: Don't just take their word for it! Have them provide proof of liability and worker's compensation. One accident on your property without insurance is a disaster.

  • References: Ask for recent ones and DRIVE BY to actually look at the work. Ask the homeowners if they're still happy months or a year later.

  • Detailed Estimates: Get at least three, and make sure they specify materials, prep work steps, number of coats, and warranties.

9. What About Warranties?

A warranty on a paint job is a good sign. But like all those fine-print contracts we sign, the devil's in the details. Here's what to watch out for:

  • Length: 2-3 years is fairly standard with quality contractors. Beware of "lifetime" warranties – those are often loaded with loopholes.

  • What's Covered: Does it only cover the paint failing in the first year? Or does it include some guarantee on labor if something goes wrong?

  • Exclusions: Many warranties exclude "acts of God" (like those big Texas storms), damage due to poor home maintenance, or fading. Know what's NOT covered!

10. Price Isn't Everything

We've said it before, and we'll say it again – cheapest is rarely the best value. There's a reason some contractors can offer super-low prices:

  • Cutting Corners: They might skip on important prep work or use the lowest-grade paint they can find.

  • Uninsured: A major risk to YOU. Just one incident and you could be on the hook.

  • Fly-by-Night Outfits: They might take a deposit and disappear. Hiring based solely on price can backfire badly.

  • Illegal Workers: Some companies use painters who are not authorized to work legally in the US. Unfortunately, this is a common practice in the greater Houston area.

Spring Texas Painters is a Professional Painting Contractor specializing in Residential and Commercial Painting.

Why Choose Spring Texas Painters?

  • 5 Star rating on Google Reviews

  • Locally Owned and Operated

  • Fully Insured

  • 3-Year Worry-Free Transferable Warranty

  • All Lead Painters are Background-Checked

  • Sherwin-Williams PRO+ Contractor

We invest in continuing education with industry-leading organizations such as the Painting Contractors Association (PCA), the Academy of Professional Painting Contractors (APPC), American Painting Contractor (APC), and are a Sherwin-Williams Pro+ Contractor.

Whether you have one room painted or a whole house, we stand by our Worry-Free Three-Year Guarantee. If you have a problem, just give us a call.

(281) 203-0898

Protect Your Home and Your Wallet

Alright, folks, we've covered a lot! Exterior painting is a big undertaking, but with some knowledge and the right steps, you can ensure your home looks fantastic for years to come.

Remember, prep work is vital, choosing the right products is essential, and if you're hiring someone, do your research.

Have more exterior painting questions? Drop a comment below, We just might get back to you! Until next time, happy painting!


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