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Low Hassle Exterior Painting

Fortunately, painting the outside of most homes is easier today than ever. Easier... not easy. When the average cost of a professional paint job runs several thousand dollars (though they do earn it), you may want to tackle it yourself.

Get started right by investing in one of the many home design software packages available. You can't judge color and finish on a computer monitor. But, it will help you estimate the amount of paint needed, provide a list of materials and assist you in budgeting.

Unless you know the effect of a particular paint on your home, try some inexpensive and quick experiments. Buy a pint of your proposed color and finish and try it on a small, out-of-the-way section of the house.

Prepare the surface as you would for the whole job, by cleaning and sanding, if necessary. Scrape off any chips or cracking sections. Apply and let dry for a week and, if possible, observe in different weather conditions (cloudy, sunny, overcast). Take into account the amount of shade in your test area. You may have to try it in more than one spot to get a realistic idea.

You can repeat the experiment using both latex-based and alkyd(oil)-based paints. In years past, oil would have been the hands down favorite for exterior work, but as paint products evolve the choice is now a toss up.