As the weather switches from messy to mild in much of the country, every homeowner’s attention turns to the out of doors. It’s time to clean things up, tend to the garden, and make needed changes to both the home and its surroundings. Where to start? Assuming that your exterior paint is failing, it’s best to focus on that first.
There are plenty of good reasons to paint pronto, some of which are simply a matter of common sense. First, the weather is most comfortable now. Second, it’s smart to paint before putting down your mulch, which along with your plants, will just get trampled if you paint later on. Third, why not get your painting done before more pleasant “distractions” like vacations, sports, and barbecues begin?
Your home is very likely your biggest investment – one that shouldn’t take a back seat to other items. If your house paint is nearing the end of its life expectancy, you’re taking a chance by postponing repainting. It doesn’t take long for exposed wood to begin to rot; and other types of exteriors are subject to their own special problems when the paint wears off. With any type of home exterior, wait too long and you run the risk of paying for expensive repairs or replacement, as well as repainting.
Another reason to get to your painting first: Exterior latex paint forms the toughest, most durable, protective finish when the weather is neither too cold, nor too hot, but just right. . .like it is now. It’s always best to do exterior painting when temperatures are above 50 degrees F., but not too extreme. Very hot days can cause the paint to dry too quickly and impair good paint film formation. By painting in moderate temps, odds are you may get a longer-lasting paint job.
Pick a day that’s not windy to paint. Like the heat of the sun, wind can cause latex paint to dry too quickly and prevent optimal paint film formation. Plus, wind can stir up dust and other contaminants that can imbed in the paint to create an inviting surface for mildew, which feeds on such matter.
If a painting day starts off fine, but turns very hot, try to avoid painting in direct sunshine, since surfaces sitting in direct sun can be 10 to 20 degrees hotter than the air temperature. Simply work your way around the house so that you are always painting in the shade, especially in the afternoon hours. As a bonus, you’ll be more comfortable working this way.
To extend the life of your paint job so that you can devote future springs exclusively to gardening or golf, always apply at least two coats – either a coat of primer and one of paint, or two coats of house paint. (You might even need three coats or more if your home’s exterior is made of a porous masonry surface.)
If you’d like to put off your next exterior paint job for as long as possible, be sure to apply the very highest quality 100% acrylic latex paint. Because these paints are especially durable, flexible, and colorfast, they tend to last 10 years or more, compared to ordinary paints, which often provide only three or four years of service. It’s one of the best ways to keep from painting again anytime soon.