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Painting home exteriors calls for prep time

TEMECULA – Warm weather months are a great time to treat a home’s exterior with a new coat of paint. It can give the home coveted curb appeal and attractiveness that also serves as a protective shield from the deteriorating effects of wind, water, sun and mildew.

Do-it-yourselfers (DIYers) recognize painting as one of the most economical ways to make a noticeable difference outside their homes.

In fact, the “Why Americans DIY” study of 1,000 American homeowners commissioned by Ace Hardware revealed that nine out of 10 homeowners choose to DIY to save money rather than pay someone to do the job.

Following are some guidelines on how to freshen up a home’s façade.

Preparation priority

A paint job – how it looks as well as how long it lasts – hinges largely on the preparation technique. After all, 90 percent of the task depends on proper prep work.

First, have the necessary tools including various sizes of paint brushes and rollers, sandpaper, scrapers, exterior-grade caulk and putty, masking tape and a drop cloth or two to protect shrubbery, walkways and cars.

It may also be beneficial to have protective eyeglasses or a face mask on hand, as spattered paint can cause serious damage to the eyes.

A sturdy ladder may help to reach high spots. Another useful is a pot hook (about $3), which will allow a person to hang the paint bucket from his ladder for easy access.

The initial step in the preparation is water-blasting the siding of the home to get rid of debris. Use either a normal hose with a high-powered spray attachment or consider renting or purchasing a pressure washer – a simple electric model will run between $100 and $150. Trisodium phosphate (TSP) is a safe cleaning agent to use. To remove and prevent mildew, use a detergent with “mildewcide” or a mixture of one quart of household bleach in three quarts of water.

If the home was built before 1978, take caution before cleaning or removing paint because it may contain lead. To determine this, purchase a lead paint test (about $11) or have a professional test it.

Once the surface area has been power washed, concentrate on damaged areas. Scrape off flaking paint, repair surface flaws, remove old caulk and re-putty windows.

Lastly, sand over and prime spots where repairs have been made to ensure a smooth area for the paint to adhere to.

The next step is priming. A paint primer seals porous surface materials so the topcoat won’t soak in and dry unevenly, and it helps prevent peeling, rusting and bleed-through. A local Ace store will be able to point out the pros and cons of choosing either an exterior latex or oil-based primer.

Once everything is cleaned, one will need to figure out how much paint he’ll need, and what kind to use. A good rule of thumb for estimating is multiplying the length of each wall by its height, and then adding another 30 percent to be safe.

Typically, one gallon of paint will cover 200 to 350 square feet. Also, buy extra to touch-up the trim.

Above all, invest in the best paint money can buy. Doing so will actually save money in the long run because high-quality paint truly outlasts lower-quality brands.

Easy application

Choose the color and then decide how to apply it. This is actually less challenging than the preparation. Brushes and rollers will be helpful in getting into any cracks and crevices, but a paint sprayer is the fastest way to get the job done. Opt for the technique that feels most comfortable doing.

Follow the “top-down” rule – work from the top down to get the most even coverage, and finish with the trim.

Also, take care to paint into already wet paint, and not away from wet paint, making sure that there are no noticeable overlapping marks or shading nuances.

After reading this guide and help is still needed. Don’t despair. There are experienced folks at every neighborhood Ace store. Have a happy time painting.

For more information, contact the Temecula Ace Hardware store at 30733 Temecula Pkwy. The store can be reached by calling (951) 491-6090.


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