The secret of a good paint job is that most of the hard work is done before a brush ever hits the building. Painting a poorly prepped surface will only result in disappointment, while quality pre-paint work pays huge dividends. So armed with the knowledge that preparation is king when it comes to painting, here are 10 tips to help your exterior paint prep projects go faster, look better and cost less. Thornton House Painting

“In our estimation, M. Brett excelled in the three areas that define a reputable painting company; Price, quality of workmanship and the professionalism of its work crew. The job was completed on time and at the contracted price. The prep work and actual painting was completed to a high standard. Lastly, the work crew was outstanding. They displayed a collective pride in what they did. Again, many thanks and well wishes!”
To paint a large section without leaving lap marks, roll the nearly dry roller in different directions along the dry edge, feathering out the paint as you go. After completing the entire length of the wall or ceiling, move to the next section and paint over the feathered edges. For the second coat, apply the paint in the opposite direction. This crisscrossing paint application sharply reduces (if not eliminates) lap marks. Thornton House Painters
If you paint over dirty, oily surfaces, the paint will easily chip or peel off. So before painting, clean grimy areas with a deglosser or heavy-duty cleaner intended for prepaint cleaning. They work well to clean painted, varnished or enameled surfaces to improve the adhesion of the new paint. They’re ideal for cleaning greasy or oily areas like kitchen and bathroom walls and removing hand marks around light switches and doorknobs. Thornton House Painting
Your homeowner’s association might limit you as to how unique you can be with your exterior paint choices. Check with them first to make sure you don’t have to redo your hot-pink-plus-unicorns murals. It can help to drive around your neighborhood to see what your neighbors have chosen and come up with a color scheme that fits in. If you’re not sure, stores can give you small cans of paint so you can paint patches of color in discrete parts of the exterior to see how they look before purchase. House Painting Thornton
If less than half the old paint is left, however, it may be worth stripping it all off. Guertin gets rid of stubborn remnants using shrouded grinders (like the PaintShaver), infrared paint strippers (such as the Speedheater), or chemical strippers (like Multi-Strip), then smooths the wood with a course or two of sanding. When siding (or bank accounts) can't take the shock of a total strip job, Rich O'Neil, of Masterwork Painting in Bedford, Massachusetts, has successfully hidden rough, well-adhered paint under Peel Bond, a thick primer. Thornton Home Painting
Another factor that affects the cost of painting a house is the paint itself. Different brands come in at different price points. When you’re selecting paint at the hardware store, don’t be afraid to mention your budget to the member of staff who’s helping you. You can also consult the web for recommendations on affordable paint. If you want a super-premium look or paint with minimal fumes you’ll pay extra. House Painting Thornton

Depending on whether you're having your interior or exterior painted, the way a contractor applies the paint can make a big difference. For instance, primer is best applied with a brush while certain types of texture are best applied with a spray gun. Make sure the painter is skilled in using spray if you choose that method, as over-spray could become an issue and drive up the overall cost by using more paint. Thornton Home Painting
Paint supplies cost anywhere from $10 to $100 or more depending on what you need. Painters will typically provide most of the supplies for a project, but sometimes they will allow you to pay for solely labor if you provide all the materials yourself. You might decide to do a DIY paint job down the road. In which case having these supplies on-hand will save you time and money.
High-gloss paint is the most durable and easiest to clean of all paint sheens. It's ultra-shiny, light-reflective, and hard (think appliance-paint tough). High-glass paint has too much shine for interior walls; you'd find the reflections and drywall flaws distracting. It is a good choice for areas that sticky fingers touch, though, such as cabinets, trim, and doors. Thornton House Painting
Paint supplies cost anywhere from $10 to $100 or more depending on what you need. Painters will typically provide most of the supplies for a project, but sometimes they will allow you to pay for solely labor if you provide all the materials yourself. You might decide to do a DIY paint job down the road. In which case having these supplies on-hand will save you time and money. House Painting Thornton
In addition, paint features such as mold and mildew resistance are important cost factors. Many mold-inhibiting bathroom paints, for instance, cost substantially more than ordinary latex-acrylic paint—sometimes close to twice the cost. Also, paints that come with warranties from the manufacturer may be more expensive depending on the length of the warranty. (A two-year warranty is standard.)
If you are unsure about what colors will work best in a space, you may wish to hire an interior decorator to help. Decorators can look at your furnishings, the size and shape of a room, and the amount of light it gets to help you determine the best shades for the space. Design services cost around $50 to $200 an hour, and can help you find the perfect colors for your home. Thornton Home Painting
If less than half the old paint is left, however, it may be worth stripping it all off. Guertin gets rid of stubborn remnants using shrouded grinders (like the PaintShaver), infrared paint strippers (such as the Speedheater), or chemical strippers (like Multi-Strip), then smooths the wood with a course or two of sanding. When siding (or bank accounts) can't take the shock of a total strip job, Rich O'Neil, of Masterwork Painting in Bedford, Massachusetts, has successfully hidden rough, well-adhered paint under Peel Bond, a thick primer. House Painting Thornton
Compare offers. The painter offering the lowest rate may not always be the best painter for the job. Indeed, the total cost isn't the only factor to consider when choosing between multiple bids. You'll want to look at contracts side by side to ensure you're making an apples-to-apples comparison. Are the same materials being used? Are the same services included? Does the painter provide a warranty? House Painting Thornton
Flat, or matte finish on the no-shine end of the finish spectrum. A friend to walls that have something to hide, flat or matte paint (the terms are interchangeable) soaks up — rather than reflects — light, has the most pigment, and provides the most coverage. It's good for adults' bedrooms and other interior rooms that won't be roughed up by kids. That's because it's tough to clean without taking paint off. Thornton House Painting

When the primer is dry, caulk all small joints (less than ¼-inch-wide) in the siding and trim. Most pros use siliconized acrylics—paint won't stick to straight silicones—but Guertin and O'Neil like the new, more expensive urethane acrylics for their greater flexibility and longevity. O'Neil stresses that it's shortsighted to skimp on caulk. "If the joint fails, you're back to square one." Guertin uses the lifetime rating as his quality guide. "I don't expect 35-year caulk will last 35 years, but it should last longer than a 15-year caulk." Thornton House Painters

Exterior paint prep can be a daunting task to tackle. Depending on the size of the project and your experience level, you might not even know where to begin. Like everything, the best way to start is with a good plan. Identify what parts of the project can be broken into sections and what parts need to be done together. Look for areas that will cause you trouble, so that you can approach them with your eyes open. The planning stage is also the best time to consider testing for lead paint. If you have a house that was built prior to 1979, it's always a good idea to know what you're getting into. This is especially important because it's likely that you'll need to sand or scrape your existing exterior paint during the course of your project. See this Family Handyman article Testing for Lead Paint for more details on how to easily and affordably find out if you have lead paint.
Most of a projects price is the cost of labor at $25 to $75 per hour. However, most contractors bid out based on the entire project which includes all work hours. Hourly rates are only useful if your pro asks to do the job as “time and materials.” However, be wary of this pricing structure, it usually shows the contractor is uncertain how long the project will take. Thornton House Painting
Small random-orbit or pad sanders make this job go faster. (Wallis first covers these boundaries with Synkoloid patching compound so no edge is visible after sanding.) As shown, you want to make sure that there is a feathered, smooth transition from exposed wood to old paint. For areas that might get close scrutiny, you can follow up with a 100- or 120-grit rubdown to erase any scratches. Thornton House Painters

1300 square foot house + single car garage. House on hill, 1/2 of house is 2 story, 1/2 1 story. South side of house needs LOTS OF PREP WORK! Paint peeling & flaking off. Want eves & facia white--stucco bottom white--wood siding blue grey--window trim white--and small accents, window sash, and single garage door antique white. (Sherwin Williams paint design colors). 1 base coat, 2 finish coats. Cost in CA.

Mixing multiple cans of the same color of paint into a larger container, such as a five-gallon bucket, will help ensure a uniform color is applied to your home's exterior. This step, called boxing the paint, is a method the pros follow. This step is important if, for example, you initially bought a gallon or two of paint less than you needed and then picked up the extra gallons at a later time. Thornton Home Painting

Climate is another factor to consider. Sunlight, wind, rain and salty weather can all wear out exterior paint. Oil-based paint is durable against wind, rain and temperature changes, but sunlight tends to degrade it. Alkyd paint chalks and sheds very thin layers when it begins to wear. Latex paint is the more durable option for very sun-drenched and relatively dry climate areas. Latex paint with high vinyl content should be avoided, however. Acrylic resin is by far the more durable binder for outdoor latex paint.
Keep in mind that color can impact the way a room appears in many ways. Light colors may help brighten a darker space. Cool colors will recede visually from the eye, and make a small space appear bigger. Warm colors contract visually, which can make larger spaces appear smaller or more cozy. Combining cool and warm tones in one room - like with accent walls - can visually change the shape of a room, making rectangles look more like squares.
Without a doubt, it's a look that rarely goes wrong. When you have a traditionally styled home with plenty of trim and other details, you best serve that home aesthetically when you increase the contrast between the trim and the field color. For the broad white trim of this new-construction home, Illinois-based JB Architecture wisely shaded down the field color's gray to emphasize its difference from the white trim. Thornton House Painting
Aside from the size and the material of your home, there are several factors that affect how much it costs to paint your home. If you paint the home yourself you’ll almost certainly spend less than you would if you hired professional painters. If you’re doing a cost comparison, remember to include the cost of painting equipment when you’re tallying the cost of a DIY paint job. You’ll need a ladder, brushes and buckets in addition to the paint itself. For an interior job, you’ll probably want tape and a drop cloth. Thornton House Painting

From clean whites and pleasing neutrals to cool blues and vibrant reds, exterior paint colors are your home's calling card to the world. Calibrate the color right and you'll have a house exterior that welcomes visitors when they roll up to your home. More importantly, the right exterior color will give you joy every time you return home, for years to come.


While some professional painters will charge a flat fee for a painting project, most charge an hourly rate—about $25 to $100 per hour on average. Most painters will charge more for last-minute jobs (think 48 hours' notice or less), travel costs (if you live far away, the painter may want extra money for gas), or intensive prep work (e.g., removing mold or stains before painting). Also, depending on the painter, the rate may or may not include the cost of paint materials such as paint, primer, and supplies. House Painting Thornton

Test different paint swatches. The last thing you want to do is paint a whole room and then decide you despise the color (yes, it happens!). Try out different paint colors on the surface before choosing the paint that you want. Buying sample sizes will help you save money. The caveat: paint color samples are not real paint, so if you try to finish or touch up a project with samples, the paint will fade. Thornton Home Painting


Painters often tint primer close to the color of the top coat, but Wallis thinks that's a recipe for "holidays," or missed spots. Instead, he tints his primer a contrasting color. "If I can see the color coming through, I know I need to apply more paint," he says. On the cottage shown in this story, he chose a gray-blue primer to go under a peach top coat.
For a more skilled do-it-yourselfer, either flat or satin paint is suitable. If you are hiring a professional painter, choose the paint finish based only on results, not ease of application. Professional painters are proficient at applying all types of paints and paint finishes. If they make an error, they are accountable and can be expected to fix the issue.  Thornton House Painting
To the touch, they still have the chalky feel of flat finishes, but with a slight waxy smoothness. The same paint color will appear slightly richer in a satin sheen than it does in a flat sheen. Satin/eggshell finishes can be wiped down or even hosed with water. Because of the hint of shine, satin paints have a somewhat more luxurious appearance than flat paints.  Thornton Home Painting
Once you have the interior square footage calculated, experts say you’ll want to divide by 350. 350 square feet is the average coverage of a gallon of paint (though some say 250-400 square feet). The average coverage for a gallon of primer is 200 square feet. Your square footage divided by 350 square feet gets you the number of gallons of paint you’ll need. Square footage divided by 200 gets you the number of gallons of primer you’ll need. You can save money by ensuring you don’t buy too much paint.
Scattered over your home's exterior are a handful of items that you'll want to avoid painting over, painter's tape can help. This list includes exterior outlet boxes, utility heads, and hose bibs and racks. Depending on the nature of the item, you'll either tape around or remove these completely during the exterior paint prep project. Doing this work now will allow you to maintain your momentum when you're actually putting paint on the home. Most of this work tends to be at ground level, but if you find yourself up on a ladder taping things off, keep in mind that safety trumps speed. Check out this article on extension ladder setup and safety for a quick refresher on how to work quickly but safely. Thornton Home Painting
When considering painting styles, be sure to consider how the colors will interact with one another, as well as the rest of the room. For example, accent walls should always be highly visible, and either be the wall you see first when entering the room or the wall that your focus will be on once you’re in the room to be the most effective. The accent wall color can be repeated as smaller accents on pillows and throw rugs throughout the room. 
For a more skilled do-it-yourselfer, either flat or satin paint is suitable. If you are hiring a professional painter, choose the paint finish based only on results, not ease of application. Professional painters are proficient at applying all types of paints and paint finishes. If they make an error, they are accountable and can be expected to fix the issue.  House Painting Thornton

Exterior paint averages $25-$40 a gallon, and a 3,000-square-foot home takes 15 or more gallons of paint, or $375-$600 just for the paint. However, really premium paint can cost $50-$100 a gallon, or $750-$1,500 for that large home. Doing it yourself also requires renting a pressure washer or sprayer for $50-$100 a day; extra-long ladders or scaffolding at $20-$75 daily; and a power sprayer for $50-$100 daily, plus masking tape, drop cloths and other supplies. However, it's possible to paint a large, two-story house for materials-only costs of $400-$600. Thornton House Painting
What's in a house painting contract is an important question that comes up as you get deeper into your remodeling venture. Between the time you decide your house needs a new coat of paint and the time the job gets done, a lot transpires. After you've decided on an interior painter or exterior painting contractor, you should have them write a formal contract, and this is what it should include: Thornton House Painters
You’ll spend between $500 and $3,000 or $1 to $3.50 per square foot to paint concrete. However, expect to pay $2 to $7 per square foot since concrete almost always needs a coat of primer first. Double that price if the concrete requires stripping. Concrete is porous. Sealing it not only helps blend foundations and walls with your home’s aesthetic, but also seals it against water. Repairing or resurfacing concrete costs $300 to $500 for every 100 square feet. House Painting Thornton
The materials of the home’s facade should be considered before painting your home. When painting flat surfaces like siding or wood, you can opt for standard outdoor paint. When painting a textured surface like stucco or brick, “elastomeric” paint is a much better choice. This type of paint can stretch more than normal paint, which allows it to bridge over small gaps and crevices, painting smoothly over texture.
Protect wood fences and deck with exterior stains and wood sealers. A few coats can keep your deck vibrant, healthy and looking great for years. Or, go for more of a restore by treating your deck to new colors or texture with deck paint. Remember, cleaning is an essential part of the project. It will stop premature peeling and make your exterior paint last longer. Pro tip: Take at least as much time to prep as you will for painting.  Thornton House Painting
On average, expect to pay $0.60–$1.60 per square foot for exterior painting. The average for painting labor across the country is $30–$40 per hour before you pay for paint, painting supplies, location costs, and equipment. To get a very general estimate, though, painting contractors will take into account the square footage of your home and the number of stories and also factor in normal prep work.

Exterior paint prep can be a daunting task to tackle. Depending on the size of the project and your experience level, you might not even know where to begin. Like everything, the best way to start is with a good plan. Identify what parts of the project can be broken into sections and what parts need to be done together. Look for areas that will cause you trouble, so that you can approach them with your eyes open. The planning stage is also the best time to consider testing for lead paint. If you have a house that was built prior to 1979, it's always a good idea to know what you're getting into. This is especially important because it's likely that you'll need to sand or scrape your existing exterior paint during the course of your project. See this Family Handyman article Testing for Lead Paint for more details on how to easily and affordably find out if you have lead paint. Thornton House Painters
×