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Now that summer has all but arrived, the time has come to cross off a few of those items from your to do list. If you’re like many homeowners this time of year, one of the biggest items on your list is to finally improve your home’s paint. Whether this means touching up a few worn spots or indulging in an entirely new color palate for your home, here are a few helpful tips that will you get started in the right direction.

Consider Style

When selecting what color to use when painting, make sure to take the style of your home into consideration. Will your new color scheme match the architecture and general feel for your home? Will a new color scheme clash with existing aspects of your home that you cannot simply paint over, such as stone, masonry, wood, or painted roofs? Will your new color scheme make your home standout from your neighbors’ in a way that might draw unwanted attention? By giving more weight to answering these types of important questions rather just selecting your favorite color to paint your home, you can ensure your painting project becomes a success rather than a terrible mistake.

Power Wash to Prepare

Using a power washer to removed caked on grim and dirt that has accumulated on your home’s exterior over the winter can save you a lot of time when preparing your home to be painted. In some cases, you may need to apply a paint stripper to remove your home’s top layer of paint. However, in most instances a power washer will remove paint chips and flakes that might prevent your home’s new coat of paint from properly adhering.

Watch the Weather

Since you can’t take your home inside to keep it dry, you need to carefully select the right time to paint. Ideally, you want to find a week where no rain is predicted for a full seven days.

Use the first three or four days to ensure that every part of your home is completely dry. Even if the outside of your home’s exterior feels dry to the touch, moisture can remain trapped inside for several days following a heavy down pour or the use of a power washer. Once you feel comfortable that any trapped moisture has evaporated, you can start the painting process. However, since your home will need 24 hours to fully dry depending on the paint used, you also need to make sure no future downpours are predicted the following day.

Take the Time to Test

Even after you’ve gone through answering the above questions concerning your home’s new color palate, you should still take the time to test out a new color by applying it to a back corner of your home prior to painting the rest.

You may find the color appears lighter in the can, but much darker once applied to your home’s exterior. Additionally, not all paint is created equal, and you may also find that the particular brand you purchased doesn’t apply evenly, has a tendency to streak, or dries too quickly in the hot summer son.

By taking just a little time to test your paint before starting a major overhaul of your home’s appearance, you can save yourself a lot of time and trouble.

Timothy Lemke is a freelance writer who consulted Brian Hoge, the house painting Portland professional for this article.


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