10 Tips for Painting Your House Exterior

Iron-Clad Rules For Painting a House By Yourself

Man Painting House Exterior with Roller
Man Painting House Exterior with Roller. Getty / Fuse

Some home remodeling projects are just too huge to take lightly, and house painting is one of them. So adopt a steadfast mentality, prepare your weapons, steel yourself as if going to war, and most of all, relax and have fun (just kidding).

Here is how to paint your own house, all the while keeping your sanity intact and delivering good work in the process.

1. Each Side of the House Is a Project Unto Itself

Do not think: I'm going to paint the entire house now.

Instead think: I am going to paint this one side of the house now. Consider one side of the house a project and ignore the other sides for now.

2. Do the Hard, Boring Parts First

Hard and boring parts are places like under the eaves. Fun places to paint are the most visible areas.

Psychologically you will run into trouble if you paint all the fun stuff first. You begin to think that the work is basically finished. Then, when you move to those hard, boring areas, they feel like twice as much work. So, get those under-the-eaves-type places out of the way first.

3. Throw Yourself a Piece of Candy Every So Often

During boring stretches, sometimes give yourself a carrot at the end of the stick.

Say to yourself: If I finish this section, I get to do that more interesting area of the facade for awhile.

4. Flat Finishes Can Make Your Work Easier

Flat or satin finish paint?  This is a tough call, as both have advantages.

Satin finish exterior paint is easier to clean, due to its light sheen.

But one great thing about flat exterior paint is that you can pick up again on painting any time after you have taken a break, no overlapping seams visible.

5. On the Extension Ladder, Paint Whatever Is In Reach

If you are on a 16' extension ladder, it can be quite time-consuming to go up and down and move it every few minutes.

For that reason, paint as far as you can comfortably and safely within reach while you are on top of the ladder, rather than following some pattern dictated by the house's architecture.

Again, this is where flat finish paint comes in handy. When you have to return to those painted areas later, it's easy to blend your new work in.

6. Paint Sprayer vs. Brush? Your Conclusion Might Be Wrong

With cheaper paint sprayers on the market now, homeowners automatically assume that spraying their house will be faster and better than brushing and/or rolling. Not so.

Paint spraying necessitates an incredible amount of prep work: every square inch not to be painted must be masked.

Not only that, you need to tarp five or more feet beyond the house (likely farther). In a strict accounting of time, sometimes brushing and rolling comes out ahead of spraying.

7. Pick Your Battles Well

Make the highly visible areas perfect. These are places like: around the front and back doors, the entire facade, etc.

Other places, like under the dreaded eaves, may not require the same level of tender loving care.

8. Do Not Make Paint Do the Work of Patching/Sealing

Before actually dipping a brush into paint and smearing it on your house, you first need to prepare the house by patching and sealing it.

Yes, paint can work minor miracles, such as drowning pin-size holes or filling in hairline cracks. But that is about all.

You run into problems when you try to goop in too much paint and expect it to do the work of caulk or wood filler.

9. Pick the Right Season for Painting Your House

Should you decide to start painting the outside of your home in the wrong season, you will continually be fighting the elements.

Even if you are in a "right" season for painting, you will be working against the clock and calendar to finish.

10. Use Every Possible Step, Even the Smallest

Reaching on the tips of your toes to swat a fly is one thing. But when you are on your toes to paint an entire 22' long section of your home, the work–and potential for injury–adds up by the minute.

Later that evening you will be clutching your back in pain.

Instead, use a step whenever possible to avoid painting far over your head.