10 Tricks for Painting Your Home's Exterior


Work on Your Brushstrokes

Housepainting requires a certain technique and finesse to look professional. Lisa F. Young/iStock/Thinkstock
Housepainting requires a certain technique and finesse to look professional. Lisa F. Young/iStock/Thinkstock

There's more to painting than just slapping the color on the wall. Like most things, a certain technique is involved. First, start your exterior paint job from the top of the house and work your way down (it's harder to drip up, after all).

If you're using a brush, dip about 2 inches (5 centimeters) of bristles into the can and shake off the excess by slapping the brush against the sides of the container. Lay the paint on thick, quickly going back and forth about two or three times. Reload your paint and repeat until you've covered about 3 or 4 square feet (0.3 to 0.4 square meters). Finally, smooth out your work with your brush (this time, without adding any extra paint). Use long strokes and work from the unpainted area to the painted area [source: The Family Handyman].

For rollers, dip your roller into a 5-gallon (19-liter) bucket and shake the excess off on a roller screen, a metal grid that can hang in the bucket. Using moderate pressure, roll the paint on to your surface, reloading when the paint no longer flows easily. Cover 3 to 4 square feet. Follow up with your brush and paint in the crevices and siding [source: The Family Handyman].

If you're painting overlapping siding, paint the "butt" or bottom edge before working on the broad surface [source: Truini]. To minimize lap marks, paint a section of four or five boards all the way across before the paint has a chance to dry [source: Benjamin Moore].

Author's Note: 10 Tricks for Painting Your Home's Exterio

I will never paint the exterior of my house for one reason: I am scared of climbing ladders. I'm not afraid of heights — it's the fall that gets me. My kids make fun of me relentlessly, pointing out each time my neighbor ascends a ladder to clean out his gutters or repair some aluminum siding. In my defense, my fears are perfectly grounded. Falls from ladders are the leading cause of injury and death among construction workers — 605 workers were killed in 2009 alone and more than 200,000 were seriously injured by falls from ladders [source: CDC]. And I've seen enough slapstick comedies to know that when the father climbs a tall ladder, painful hilarity ensues. Which brings me to the second reason I will never paint the exterior of my house: It's brick.

Related Articles


  • Barnhart, Roy; Carey, James; Carey, Morris; Hamilton, Gene; Hamilton, Katie; Prestly, Donald R.; and Strong, Jeff. "Caulking and Patching Your Home's Exterior Before Painting." Home Improvement All-in-One for Dummies. May 2004. (June 20, 2014) http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/caulking-and-patching-your-homes-exterior-before-p.html
  • Benjamin Moore. "Exterior House Painting Supplies." (June 20, 2014) http://www.benjaminmoore.com/en-us/for-your-home/exterior-house-painting-supplies
  • Benjamin Moore. "How to Paint a House Exterior." (June 20, 2014) http://www.benjaminmoore.com/en-us/for-your-home/exterior-painting-tips
  • Dawson, Mike. "Exterior Wood Primers." PaintPRO. September 2006. (June 20, 2014) http://www.paintpro.net/Articles/PP804/PP804-Primers.cfm
  • Hurst-Wajszczuk, Joe. "How to Paint Your House's Exterior." This Old House. (June 20, 2014) http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,20180479,00.html
  • Lernley, Brad. "A Pro Confides His Best Tips for Painting Exteriors." This Old House. (June 20, 2014) http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,202236,00.html
  • Mahoney, Doug. "Painting Tool Showdown: Brush & Roller vs. Paint Sprayer." Popular Mechanics. Dec. 4, 2009. (June 20, 2014) http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/reviews/4338823
  • Paint Quality Institute. "Hardboard." (June 20, 2014) http://www.paintquality.com/paint-professionals/paint-tools/prep-prime-paint/exterior/hardboard/paint-paint.html
  • Reader's Digest. "10 Ways to Increase Home Value with Exterior Paint." (June 20, 2014) http://www.rd.com/slideshows/10-ways-to-increase-home-value-with-exterior-paint/
  • Truini, Joe. "7 Smart Tips for Painting Your House." Popular Mechanics. (June 20, 2014) http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/improvement/outdoor-projects/7-smart-tips-for-painting-your-house#slide-2
  • Truini, Joe. "How to Caulk Wide Cracks." (June 20, 2014) http://www.todayshomeowner.com/video/how-to-caulk-wide-cracks/


Can I use interior paint for exterior surfaces?

Can I use interior paint for exterior surfaces?

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