Thursday, October 10, 2013

Take-A-Bite Tutorial : How To Paint Your Exterior Wood Siding

One of the things that was sorely neglected for the past few years was the back of the house.  By the time we were wrapping up the majority of the exterior renovations last year, it was getting late in the year and I had just enough time to slap a perfunctory coat of paint on the front of the house.  And let's be honest here - Mama needed to get a LOT done inside of the house.  The interior work felt much more pressing - laying the flooring, getting the bathrooms working and moving us all in upstairs.  Things like painting the outside of the back of the house, didn't feel all that important.

Now that the weather has changed to dry and cool-ish, it felt like the perfect time to get started on making the back of the house look as nice as the front.  The boys play in the yard a lot, the neighbors visit with their kiddos, we like to barbecue and eat outside (even though it's getting a bit brisk earlier in the evening).  It means a lot to me that this place looks as good going as it does coming.  I don't know if that even makes sense right now - just go with it.  Let's just say the back of the house was really starting to look weary and totally not matching the new vinyl siding on the upstairs addition:

(I hired a worker to clean up the backyard for me before I started painting.
He promised me he was 16 and was legal to work -- I have my doubts)

So, if you're like me (of course you are!) and you wanna slap some paint up on your house, there's a few things you're going to want to take into consideration:

(Please note that this tutorial is meant mainly for painting your wood siding.  Painting things like vinyl and fiber-cement board have different requirements)

1.  Check the weather  - Fall is a great time to get your painting done.  You're not dying of heat exhaustion and being eaten alive by mosquitoes (if you live in the Midwest).  However, if the temps are dipping well below about 60 degrees Fahrenheit (10-15 Celcius), then you might run into problems.  If latex paint doesn't have enough time to cure, you might be dealing with adhesion issues and mildew growth.  Neither of these things sound like fun.  My usual rule of thumb is to try to wait for a clear, sunny week when the temperatures don't go below 50F at night.  I also try to get all of my coats of paint on during the sunniest and warmest times of the day.  Keep in mind that if you're painting a sunny location of your home, the sun is going to warm the house itself and you may need to work fast if the siding is getting too warm and drying your paint at a quicker rate.  Paint drying too fast = ugly brush strokes.

My working conditions were awful.


Seriously, terrible.  The sunshine.  The cool breeze.  The sounds of seagulls.  Ugh.  Inhumane.

2. Scrape it like you mean it - Now things start to go downhill for a while.  Take a minute to assess what you're working with and break out your scraper.  You're looking for loose, chipping paint and you need to get rid of it.  If you don't, you're new paint is going to do the same thing and look like crap.  Trust me on this one.



3. Fill the gaps - Grab your interior/exterior spackle, wood filler and caulk and get fillin'!  Spots like nail holes and small recesses in the wood will get wood filler, seams and spots that could allow water to penetrate beneath the siding get a healthy dose of caulk.

4. Take a moment to step back and realize that your house now looks a million times worse than when you first started


5. Prime all of your newly-exposed wood and spots that were filled - I used Zinnser exterior water-based primer for this particular application.  If I was dealing with something like knots in wood or stained wood, I'd probably go with a heavier-duty oil-based primer.  


6. Finally, you can start painting - After your primer has had time to dry (always read the labels), it's time to get down to business.  I like to paint my door frames first and I go super-sloppy.  Then, once dry, I cut in all nice and neat with my wall paint.


Invest in a good, quality brush for your paint.  It'll go on smoother, be easier to cut-in and will just be an all-around nicer experience.  I used to just pick up a few dollar-store brushes, do my project and keep moving.  The difference in the finish when you use a higher-quality brush shows.  Buy a couple, take good care of them (washing, combing, storing) and they'll be worth it in the long run.

The house paint that I used was Olympic exterior latex in Wistful Willow.  It was a color that came in closest to the siding on the upper portion of the house.  I still think it could have had a bit more brown in it, but as for the paint itself, I'm pretty pleased with its performance.  It took me two coats and touch-ups here and there to get full coverage.

7. Go pour yourself a drink and admire your work - Seriously, go get a drink.  You earned it!  Let's take a look at the 'before' one more time:


And here's what it looks like after with some Fall pizazz thrown in:




It's not the most dramatic transformation ever, but I think the sunny, washed-out photos really don't do it justice.  It's so much cleaner-looking in person and just feels fresh.  



Did you see who came by to say 'hello'?




3 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing ood and helpful article with us. I really have enjoyed all of this very cool information.
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  2. I emphatically see where you're coming from, Carol. Interior works really seem more important during home improvements and should be strictly done on time. It is where you stay and what you use more, after all. But if we look at the big picture, all those interior efforts can't and wouldn't last with a neglected exterior. Failing to repaint the siding can be a potential cause of leak and who knows what other worse problems. Glad you already made the time for this project, and thanks for the tutorial! I got some tips. ;D

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    1. Hugh! Thanks so much for the comment --- and you're 100% correct: "all those interior efforts can't and wouldn't last with a neglected exterior". I didn't mention it in the post, but one of the reasons I jumped on getting the exterior finished was because all of my new french doors (3 sets!) were developing mold because I didn't get them primed/painted. The last thing I wanted to do after all of this mess was to have to replace my doors because I was too caught up inside.

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