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Painting Exteriors

  • Which Paint, Where?
  • Preparation
  • Applying the Paint
  • Checklist

    If you're painting a large exterior area, a little psychology helps. Identify sections and then prepare and paint one section at a time. That way you set yourself intermediate goals, for instance a wall at a time. One finished wall is really motivating and you'll feel less daunted by the remaining ones, which look shabby by comparison.
    Use ladders with care. Secure extension ladders safely when working at heights. Lean the ladder so that the base is 1 metre from the wall for every 4 metres of height. Tie the ladder securely at the top or bottom to stop it slipping.

    1. Which Paint, Where?

    You have a choice of two paint-types: water based or solvent-based. Water-based paints offer a number of advantages, including easy application, rapid-drying and easy cleaning up after painting. Gloss Acrylic paints are commonly used for weatherboard homes, while Matt Acrylic paints are popular on brick, cement render and concrete surfaces.
    Generally, solvent based enamel paints are to be preferred wherever a tough, hard-wearing, easy-to-wipe-clean surface is required. They take a little extra time to apply but can be well worth the trouble for doors, door frames, windows and other high wear areas.

    2. Preparation

    Take a critical look at your house to see what needs to be done. Look for any defects that might affect the final finish. It's important to fix every fault before you begin or the paint won't be able to do it's job properly. There is no point spending time and money on a paint job that will have to be redone because it is starting to flake and look bad.
    New Surfaces
    New bare Timber should be primed first, then cracks and holes filled with an exterior wood filler, sanded smooth and dusted down.
    Brick and cement render should be rubbed down to remove loose sand, and cracks or holes filled with an exterior filler, then sanded, dusted off and undercoated so repairs won't show through. Bricks and cement surfaces are not perfectly smooth, so smooth sanding may not be required.
    Metal gates, gutter and downpipes should be washed with turpentine and coated with an all purpose metal primer.
    Painted Surfaces
    All peeling paint must be scraped or wire brushed away, then primed. If you're unsure just how bad the old surface is, try the tape test. Scratch the paint and press on a finger length of masking tape. Then rip it off. If some of the paint comes off with the tape then the surface should be stripped.
    For large areas, use a heat gun to soften the old paint, making it easy to scrape off with a stripping knife. Use a chemical stripper for around windows - where heat might crack the glass.
    Next, fill cracks and holes use Selleys Permafill on flat surfaces and Selleys No More Gaps on the two joining surfaces where movement is likely. Sand the filler level with the rest of the surface. Thoroughly sand the whole area to be painted to clear any uneven spots and five the new paint a slightly roughened surface it can stick to, especially if the existing paint is a gloss enamel. Exposed nail heads, if they are not galvanised, should be punched below the surface, and the holes filled and sanded smooth to prevent rust stains. Use a sugar soap to remove all grease, dirt and dust.
    Rust on metal guttering, downpipes, gates or metal window frames (not aluminum) should be cleaned away with a wire brush and the metal primed with Dulux Rustguard. Gutter leaks should be repaired and sealed with a silicon sealant, such as Selleys Roof & Gutter. This will give a long-lasting and weatherproof seal. Think about using a transparent sealant that will be virtually invisible.

    3. Apply the Paint

    If painting the whole house, start with the fascia board and under the eaves, followed by the gutters. The walls come next, then the windows, sills and doors and finally the downpipes. In this way, any paint that is dripped onto a wall under a fascia or gutter will be covered up when you come to paint the wall.
    Use a roller, if possible, on flat surfaces as paint will go on much faster this way than with a brush. Paint pads, especially 100mm or 180mm sizes, are an excellent alternative to brushes and rollers on smooth exterior cladding and weatherboards. After coating about one square metre, even out the paint by lightly rolling across the surface with an almost dry roller. Always work from the unpainted area back into the painted area, maintaining a wet edge to avoid lap marks.
    Be sure to prime any new or exposed metal on gutters and downpipes before painting.
    For windows, start by cutting in around the glass with a small sash brush, then use a larger brush for the surrounding frame. Use masking tape along the glass edge to give a clean finish.
    Doors are painted from the outside in, doing the moulding first. Paint the edges, then the face, returning to the edges to lightly feather off any surplus paint with the tip of the brush. You'll probably be using an enamel here, so it's better to remove the door completely and paint on trestles.
    When to Paint
    Always paint in the shade, never in the sun.
    Outside painting should only be done in temperatures between 10 and 40 degrees Celsius. In summer, the best way is to follow the sun around your home and paint only on the shady side. A hot sun will dry out the surface too quickly, which may cause the paint to wrinkle.

    4. Checklist

  • Primer or Undercoat
  • Paint in the finish and quantity to suit your job
  • Paint brushes - a selection of wider and smaller brushes
  • Roller frame and roller tray to suit
  • Roller covers to suit roller frame and paint finish
  • Extension handle for roller frame Exterior filler (such as Selleys Permafill for cracks and imperfections)
  • Flexible sealant (such as Selleys No More Gaps)
  • Filling blade (for applying filler)
  • Heat gun or chemical paint stripper (for removing old paint)
  • Sandpaper (for smoothing surfaces to be painted)
  • Drop cloths (to protect driveways, paths, etc)
  • Sugar soap, sponge and gloves (for washing down surfaces)
  • Stepladder
  • Flat paddle or ruler
  • Masking tape
  • Clean up rags for spills and drips
  • Turpentine (if using solvent-based paints)



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