Planning an Exterior Painting Project in 5 Easy Steps

Exterior Painting Project

If your home exterior is looking drab, one easy way to make a big impact is with a fresh coat of paint. Springtime and early autumn are good times of year to tackle your home exterior painting project. The temperatures are warm enough for easy drying, but without the excessive humidity associated with summer months. This means quicker drying times!

If you’re not sure how to begin a large-scale exterior painting project, don’t worry. There are a few planning steps that will go a long way in finishing your painting project on time and without unexpected headaches. It’s simply a matter of thinking ahead, buying enough paint in the same color, and then tackling the job one section at a time.

Here are some planning tips to help get you started on your home exterior painting project:

Step 1: Envision the Final Product

Before you visit GNH Lumber to choose paints, you will need to select a color palette for your home’s exterior walls, trim, shutters and doors. There are some tried and true color combinations that produce a handsome result, so you can take the guesswork out of color choice.

You can use Benjamin Moore’s “Color Viewer Tool” to help visualize the end result, and even list compatible paint colors by name and product number for easy reference.

Tip: If you’re painting your home’s exterior for resale, it’s best not to opt for unusual or intense colors, like flamingo pink or bright orange. Basic whites, light blues, light beiges and yellows work best for curb appeal.


Step 2: Prepare the Exterior Surfaces

A clean and debris-free exterior is best for holding paint, so before you apply a single coat, spend a day preparing your home’s exterior. The first step is sanding or scraping old and peeling paint with this helpful 5-in-1 Painting Tool, available at GNH. (You can also use this tool to patch up holes in walls, siding and shutters with Spackle, putty or wood filler).

Next, check for gaps between siding and windows, and caulk where needed, or replace lengths of siding or shingles. Finally, use a power-spray to thoroughly wash your home’s exterior and allow a couple of days to dry completely before applying a primer coat.

Tip: Paint has trouble sticking to anything but smooth, clean surfaces! Rotten wood or siding won’t hold paint well, so it’s best to replace with new before painting.


Step 3: Planning & Prep

Watch your weather forecast carefully, and choose a stretch of warm, dry days to execute the painting project! Weather is critical, because paint needs proper humidity and temperature to dry properly. Plan on having a couple of days (a weekend) to work.

After freeing up the time in your calendar, you can now prepare to paint! Make sure you purchase more than enough paint to cover your home’s exterior, siding, shutters, doors – and get a little bit more than you think you will need for touch-ups.

Tip: Place plastic tarps or drop cloths over walkways, shrubs and grasses to help protect against spilled paint. Move or cover up any outdoor furniture, hoses, grills, etc.


Step 4: Use Primer

The rule of thumb has always been to apply a good coat of primer, sand, then apply your color coats. This is still a good rule to follow. That said, new paint technologies have combined primer and paint into one product, which manufacturers assert will cut down on the number of coats you will have to apply. This newer paint is more expensive, but may be comparable to the purchase of separate primer and paint.


Step 5: Boxing the Paint

Take all the cans of the same-colored paint and mix them in one larger container, such as a 5-gallon bucket. This preserves color consistency across the whole home exterior. Pros call this method “boxing the paint.” According to DIY Network, “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.”

Tip: Start at the top and paint down to control streaks and drips. Drips are inevitable, but this method will allow you to feather out mishaps in the direction you are working.


Happy painting! With a little planning, your home exterior painting project can be fun and satisfying, and the result will be beautiful. Adding a fresh coat of paint both protects the exterior surfaces of your home and improves its value. Questions? Ask us!

Sources: DIY Network Exterior Painting Preparation, DIY Network 10 Things You Must Know When Painting a House Exterior 

Do you have a painting project in mind?

Stop in to your local GNH Lumber to learn more and to get that project started today. Get your painting project started!

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