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Why I Didn’t Paint the Exterior of My House

Professional exterior home painting tips for homeowners that will help when DIY’ing your house painting project.  Stop “procrastipainting” about painting your house and get it done. 

I have an exterior house painting update for you. Not the full reveal yet, but a sneak peek on how the exterior house painting process went.

house exterior getting painted

Getting the outside of the house painted has been on my To-Do list for 3-1/2 years. It was time to stop “procrastipainting” and get it done.

Getting my house painted has been a totally different kind of home improvement project for me. Somewhat unique since I didn’t DIY it as I have done for 99% of all the updates to my house.

The main reason I decided to hire professional painters is this…

… the need for tall ladders.

Even though I am in good shape and can easily climb a ladder, falling is too much of a risk. Not worth it, so we hired professional painters to paint the house.

Since I do so much DIY, this quote isn’t really valid but it has always made me smile since the day I saw it in a relative’s apartment. I like work; it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.

For me, it was fun watching the painters work instead of doing it myself. While they worked, I did ask them a lot of questions about painting an exterior of a house so I could share with you.

If you have been procrastipainting like I did, these tips will help you paint the exterior of your house like a pro.

Exterior Home Painting Tips

The exterior paint aisle in a Home Depot

The first thing that I had to decide once we knew we were finally going to paint the house, was what color to actually paint the house.  I went to Home Depot and looked at many color swatches and tested out the colors on my house. You can read all about that process in this post on the color I chose to keep my house in harmony with neighboring homes.

I chose to use Glidden Premium Exterior paint that is a Paint + Primer in one. It is an acrylic formula that protects against UV rays, color fading and the weather. It is also ideal on a variety of surfaces, making it perfect for my house.  A paint that does it all without the premium price. Right for my budget starting at $26 per gallon.

How to Choose The Right Pro Painter to Paint Your House?

To find a professional painter, I searched online for “exterior house painters near me”. I contacted four painters who came out and gave me bids.  I asked each a few questions about their painting process and time frame for when they could do the job.

I knew the last painter that came out to the house would be the one we would use. He was not only personable, but he explained in detail the process he uses. This and his paint knowledge sealed the deal.

When DIY’ing Exterior House Painting

Painters on roof painting house

  • Enlist Help – If you are painting the exterior of your house yourself, see if you can enlist a few helpers to assist you.  Having others to help will make the job a lot easier and get it done faster.

Family and friends will usually work for free or for a good meal after a day of painting. Also look into hiring a few college age kids who need some money and may have free time over the summer months.

How Much Paint Do You Need to Paint The Exterior of a Home?

Glidden Premium Exterior Paint and primer

After I chose the paint color and finish, the next thing was how much paint would I need to buy? When using a pro, they will figure this out for you, but when painting the exterior of your house yourself, here is a simple reference to determine how many gallons of paint you will need.

When painting two coats on the Exterior of a Home:

  • One gallon can of paint will cover up to 400 square feet.
  • Two gallon cans of paint cover up to 800 square feet.  (For reference: Inside your home – two gallons will cover an average size room)

What Tools Will Make Painting the Exterior of a House Easier?

As the saying goes… “Having the right tools on hand will always make the job easier.” This is also true when painting a house.

  • You can start with basic paint tools like drop cloths, clean up rags, paint stirrers, and buckets to clean brushes and spray machine parts.

Here is a closer look at the tools that the painters used when painting my house.

ladders on deck getting ready to paint the exterior of a house

  • Pressure Washer – Pressure washers make cleaning the outside of a house easy.  There are two kinds – electric and gas-powered. With electric pressure washers, there’s little upkeep and no fumes. A gas-powered pressure washer provides a bit more pressure to quickly remove very set-in dirt and mold.  I have used both on other projects over the years and prefer the electric. I found it easier to use and move around.

  • Exterior caulk and caulk gun.  Caulking cracks and crevices along windows, doors, joints and around moldings before painting will make the paint job look professionally done. Caulking hides imperfections and will create smoother, seamless transitions.

ladder propped up against house using a ladder leveling tool.

  • Caulking takes time but is worth it. Apply caulk after the surface is dry from power washing.  Smooth the line of caulk with a fingertip.  Have a rag handy to wipe excess off your hand as you work.

why you should caulk cracks and seams first before painting the exterior of a house

  • Check again for spots that may need more filling in after the first coat of paint has dried.

Painter painting trim with Glidden Premium paint and primer in one

  • Quality Paint Brushes – 3 – 4 inches wide.  Using a high quality paint brush will make a huge difference in how the paint goes on – less brush strokes and when the tip is chiseled, it will make the brush loaded with paint glide right over the surface.

commercial painter paint sprayer

  • Paint Sprayer – This is a professional paint spraying machine. When DIY’ing your exterior paint project, you don’t need such a heavy-duty one. Ask at the paint counter at the home improvement store for homeowner sprayer recommendations that will fit your project and budget.

Using a paint shield to spray paint on the exterior of a home

  •  36″ x 9″ Paint Spray Shield  – If using a paint sprayer to paint the house, you will need a paint spray shield and short paint pole to hold the shield. Both of these are sold at the home improvement store.

  • Ladder  – One or more ladders will be needed so you can reach the highest point on your house.

Two painters painting the outside of a houwe

Also have a smaller 5- 6 step ladder. It will come in handy for painting around first floor windows and lower areas that don’t need big + tall ladders.

How to remove paint from glass on a door or window

  • Razor Blade Scraper  – When the paint is dry, use a razor blade scraper to remove the excess paint around the glass on windows and doors.
  • If the paint is really sticking in any one area, wetting the glass will help.  The scrapers are sold at paint counters, home improvement stores, and even at the dollar store.

Painting tool to keep ladders steady

Ladder Accessories –  When using ladders, have a few ladder accessories like a hook to hold a gallon of paint from a rung on the ladder to a tool apron that goes around the top of the ladder to hold brushes, caulk guns and more.

With the need to position ladders at odd angles, a ladder leveler tool will instantly level any ladder in seconds.

It even levels on steps and stairs. It does not attach to ladder, but creates a stable platform for your extension ladder.

Two painters using a paint sprayer to paint a gutter and eave

It took about 5 days to prep and then paint the house with two coats of paint + primer. As you can see from the photos the weather was perfect for painting – clear and dry with low-humidity.

3 Painter's using a spray gun to paint the exterior of a home

I am happy to be able to tell you that the exterior painting is complete. :-)  !!!!

Both Ed and I love the new look the house has taken on…and so do our neighbors.

There is still much more to do to the exterior, but I am so happy that I finally stopped procrastipainting and got the job done.

I will share the AFTER with you in a few days.

No Worries House Painters in the Columbia SC area

Jay of No Worries Painting & Pressure Washing and his crew of Andrew, Rod and Alfonso were great. If you live in the midlands of South Carolina and are looking for a painter, I highly recommend Jay and his team. He can be reached at: 803-351-0398.  Email:  [email protected]

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34 Comments

  1. i just stumbled on your blog. I think that it was a very smart decision to higher a professional. When dealing with a big house like yours. This blog was very informative, I had to read all 3 parts. Boy is the ending result beautiful. I’m sure you neighbors are happy that you stayed with the same paint scheme is the rest. Which will probably be better for property value. Thanks again for such a fun read, if you are looking for another informative House Painting Article  check them out. The tools of the trade article they wrote headed me out with buying paint supplies for my last project

  2. Amazing! Thanks for sharing this. I’m excited for the reveal. I just noticed that some of these painters don’t do proper procedure of painting.

  3. I agree on roller and brush. My preference as it lasts longer—still diy – ing the paint job until I cannot do it any longer. I am looking forward to the reveal.

  4. Sorry to be negative nancey lol but ive ben a painter for 20 years worked for thw biggest companys i would have fired them right off the gate for not covering and protecting wondows and brick lol and also the choice of application . spraying only allows the paint to set on the surface and dose no good on old wood siding lol zero hide and filling . now use a roller and back brush it will really fill all the cracks and imperfections in the siding giving great hide and durabillity. Thats my rant from a painter to yall mic drop lol

  5. Wow these painters are very unprofessional i would never use them just by seeing the photos using a sprayer with no windows or brick coverd !!!also the best way to apply paint on t11 tung and groove siding is with a roller to really work it into the wood. Another thing is just the overall appearance of the workers no whites on. painters in jeans is a red flag right off the gate means no pride in there trade journeyman where there whites. Also glidden is absolutely the worst choice for paint period

  6. Wow! Even with the sneak peek it’s easy to see that’s the color your house is supposed to be! While I love teal, (it’s a staple in my wardrobe), I’m not sure it was the best choice for a house? During the time it was built it was probably very on trend, right? You have a beautiful home. I truly enjoy your posts! Sounds like you are really pleased with your contractor. So great when that happens!

    1. Hi Donna – When we first drove up to the house with the real estate agent, the first thing I saw was the teal color didn’t like it at all. Lucky it was just paint and easy to change. :-) Our neighbors told us the house has always been teal. It really looks nice now in a neutral. I am getting the photos edited and will post the reveal in a few days.

  7. I could never do this and my husband would never go for this, ha! Thank goodness my house is brick. Can’t wait to see the finished product. Thanks.

    1. Hi Shelly – My previous house was traditional red brick – very classic. I liked it and would never have changed it. It was very colonial – perfect for a suburban Philadelphia home. The lake house is a mix of styles so I went with the contemporary rustic vibe. Will post the reveal photos in a few days.

    1. Thanks Cyndi – The house looks so much better now. My husband Ed can believe the difference. We still have more to do, but now when I drive down my driveway, I like what I see. :-)

    1. Hi Julia – It took me time to finally figure out what to do with the exterior. I am so used to the Phila suburb home – classic brick – colonial with Georgian touches and white trim all over. I still love that, but had to re-wire my brain to more rustic with a tad modern mixed in.

    1. Great point Beverly :-) I remember using the unpaintable kind once when painting trim in a bathroom. :-( What a mess I created that took time and effort to fix.

  8. Hi Diane, I can’t wait to see the big reveal on your new exterior. It was funny to read that you were having your house painted within the same two weeks that we were doing the same. I’ll have to send you before and after photos so you can see what a radical change it made for us, too.
    Enjoy!

  9. Looking forward to seeing the reveal. It looks wonderful so far, love what difference paint can make!

    1. Hi Kathy – Paint is magical and the most affordable way to make a change. We are very happy with the color now. I can’t wait to add some decorative features to the front and then the landscaping – I am planning for lots of color in the way of flowers and shrubs. Will post the house painting reveal in a few days.

  10. We need to finish painting our house this summer…love the tips about caulk and our biggest concern is the fact that the paint didn’t stick to our new porch (made of cedar…which we let air for a year+). We even used an oil-based primer! So, I think we’re going to consult with some professional painters, too.
    Love the color scheme you used…it makes it look so much newer and brighter!

    1. Hi Kimberly – Wow! A year plus to dry. I guess the wood had to dry out first before painting? The pros I had were great. The owner was so knowledgeable and knew exactly what was needed. I don’t think I would have thought of caulking first, but doing it truly made a huge difference. I hope you can find out what needs to be done to get your porch right and then the rest of your house painted. It is a big job, but one that really is worth it.

  11. WOW! The tilt of those ladders in a few pics would terrify me. I love to see pros in action tho. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Suzanne – I agree about the ladders. I used to climb ladders like this on a daily basis when I worked in retail display. No longer… not worth breaking a leg or worse. The medical bills would cost more than the pro painters.

  12. It looks amazing already!! That dark teal paint color was definitely holding your beautiful house back. It will certainly shine now. Can wait to see the reveal pics. I would be so giddy with excitement if it were me.

  13. OMG! When I read the title of the post, I thought you were going to say you had decided against painting the exterior! Had me going there for a bit! Ha! Glad things are progressing – it will be fabulous when it’s all finished. I can’t wait for the final reveal!

  14. Hi Diane,
    This looks beautiful! Thanks for all the helpful tips. Our home is brick but just learning about the tools available for tricky jobs is very useful. I have a narrow interior stairwell that has been intimidating me for YEARS! I just may give No Worries a call (I’m on Lake Murray as well). Thanks for the recommendation!