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Exterior Painting and Finishes

The time has come to paint the exterior of your home. If you own an older house, this ritual is probably repeated more often than you’d like. Even if your home is fixed with vinyl siding, exterior painting is an option. Learn about the nuances of the job along with finishes and techniques.

Consult the Experts

Even if you are looking to do the job yourself, consult a paint dealer or a painting contractor to set you straight on getting started. The entire process can take longer when you are not fully prepared in the beginning.

Know your paint. There are two types: interior and exterior. Exterior paint is more durable. It has to be to withstand the elements and the sun beating down on it 24/7. For any exterior painting job, always ask for the appropriate paint to use.

Painting contractors can shed some light on where to begin when preparing for an exterior painting job. It’s the outside so you don’t have to do as much as you would for interior paint jobs. Still, tape off windows, doorknobs, outlets and any metal fixtures and such that you will be painting around before you begin.

Gather the equipment. Most exterior paint jobs will utilize two sizes of paint brush along with a couple sizes of rollers and paint pans and drop cloths. When working around windows, for instance, use a narrower brush for more precise application. Larger smooth surface areas can benefit from a wide roller for quicker application.

Add your primer first. Just like interior painting jobs, a primer works to ensure better adhesion of the paint color, proper display of the shade and color you have chosen, less peeling and blocks stains and marks.


There are 3 finishes available for exterior painting: flat, satin and gloss.

  1. Flat – Flat has no shine to it whatsoever. It doesn’t reflect light. Older wooden frame houses can benefit from colors in the flat paint finish. On the downside, it is more porous than the other two types and soils faster.
  2. Satin – This is the most desirable finish for exterior painting jobs. It is not shiny or flat but provides the right amount of shine to show off your home. Choose a satin finish that is right for the type of material you will be covering on the outside of your home (i.e. vinyl, wood or other).
  3. Gloss – Just like with lips, this paint finish will show up rather shiny. It is best for doors and around windows. It is also the most durable of the paint finishes and easy to clean. Avoid using gloss in larger areas the entire outside of your home. It gives the plastic appearance.


The technique is much the same as with interior painting. With paint brushes, slide the brush along the wall until the bristles begin to bend. Don’t allow them to flick away from you or you’ll have uneven wispy strokes of paint everywhere. With a roller, paint siding in the “N” pattern, rolling across to spread the paint and finishing with light pressure strokes in one direction only.

Are you planning an exterior painting job? You can do it yourself or enlist the help of a painting contractor.

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