Paint One Side of Your House, Once a Year
Painting your house yourself can be a daunting task, not to mention it’s a big commitment of time. It can also be rewarding and if you have the time, it can certainly save you money. Once you get past the time is money formula, and have determined that you are going to take on painting your house, then consider my idea to Paint One Side of Your House, Once a Year.
Hiring a Paint Crew:
A professional painting company crew, depending on condition of your home, can take two or three weeks, or more, to prep and paint an average-size home. Consider cost with a formula similar to this: 4 men = 160 man-hours per week at $25 hour each, equals over $8,000 in labor. That does not even include materials.
So if it takes a pro crew that long, you can safely bet it will take you longer. So answer this question – do you have more time than money?
Hire a Crew Then Take Over
Speaking from experience when my wife wanted to change the color of our house I was overwhelmed with the idea of painting the entire house and trim. I decide that I would hire a painting company to prep and paint the entire house and I would take over after that.
Once the house was painted I waited 3-4 years and painted the front of the house the following year. The next year I painted the south side [most weathered side] and so one. Sometimes, depending on the house paint condition, I skip a year.
Some years I only paint the body and other times I paint only the trim. One time I had the painting company come back and paint the trim and window sash – my least favorite tasks.
Divide and Conquer
Divide and conquer works in political, economic and military strategies, so why not deploy it on your house painting project.
When you tackle an entire house project “quality suffers with quantity.” It’s WAY too much to do for one person. This is even more daunting when you have deferred maintenance for some time.
By painting one side of your house at a time allows you really focus on quality. Painting this way really allows you to adequately prepare the siding and trim surface.
Things that most people would “caulk and forget,” because of the sheer volume of the whole house, can now be addressed with trim or siding replacement, rot repair and proper surface preparation. Painting one side of the house each year WILL result in a better quality finish, and overall longevity of your house trim, siding and paint.
Another Divide and Conquer Plan
A friend of mine tackles his trim first, including windows and doors, in the spring of one year. Then in late August he paints the most visible side and one other side of the house. The following year, he paints the remaining two sides. He then takes six to nine years off before beginning the cycle over again.
This plan works when the house really needs a paint job, when your changing colors or you just don’t want to do the once a year thing.
House Painting Tips:
- Sometimes houses have a lot of peeling paint. Many times this can be traced to moisture getting behind the siding, failure to prep the siding properly or painting in the hot sun. This is where painting one side at a time allows you to deal properly with any and all issues, including carpentry and flashing repairs.
- If the adhesion of old paint has been weakened, using acrylic paint might pull it off and make surfaces look worse. I scrape and sand all lose areas and then prime all old paint surfaces first with an oil primer, to resist the “pulling” of an acrylic top coat.
- Acrylic paints are excellent to use due to their elasticity and other factors. Acrylic paint “drys” quickly, and fully “cures” over many days. As it cures, by a process called “co-polymerization,” the paint film shrinks and can detach weaker under layers of old paint.
- When sanding bubbled or flaking paint areas, “feather” the sharp edges of the old. Then prime the entire area.
- Paint from the top down. This gets the most difficult areas done while your fresh and your concentration is best and allows you to remove paint drips as you move down.
- Paint in the direction of your dominant hand. If you’re a righty, for example, work from left to right. This will keep your body in a safer, more natural position as your work.
- Paint to natural break areas prior to stopping, such as, window trim, corner or a door, to avoid lap marks.
- Avoid painting in the direct sun, paint wont adhere well and will blister and flake prematurely. Chose the best time to apply paint or work on the shady side, moving with the sun.
- When prepping: Keep a hammer and nail punch, wood filler or filler putty, caulking gun, rag, sandpaper, paint scraper, sander and a small scraper with you.
- Wash house before painting or after sanding to remove dust, pollen or containments
- When painting: Keep a rag, sandpaper, and a small scraper handy for touching up spots you may have missed during prep.
- Use a ladder ‘standoff accessory’ to improve the effectiveness of your reach on the extension ladder. The standoff also allows you to straddle windows.
- Set up your ladders safely
- Don’t over reach on the ladder, try to keep your hips within the vertical rails of the ladder.
- Consider getting a “rolling bucket” to hang off your ladder. Then roll on the paint in 3’x3’ areas and follow up by brushing the paint in. “Roll and tip,” as the pros like to refer, it’s the fastest way to apply exterior paint.
- Replace siding that is rotted.