How to Paint the Exterior of a House

HGTV.com walks you through the steps of painting the exterior of a house, from prep work through the finishing touches.

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Step 4: Choose Quality Exterior Paint

A good exterior paint is 100 percent acrylic latex. The formula consists of three main components:

- Pigments, which provide the color.
- Binders, which hold the pigment to the wall.
- Solvents, which make the paint spreadable. Today, most exterior paints are water-based.

As paint dries, the solvent evaporates, leaving behind only the pigments and binders. These are known as volume solids. Higher quality paints are generally higher in volume solids. They may also have better binders, which will hold the pigments in place longer. This improves durability.

To determine the percentage of volume solids in a brand of paint, check the manufacturer's website or ask your local distributor for a Technical Data Sheet. In general, paints labeled "premium" or "super-premium" are likely to be higher in volume solids than budget brands.

Step 5: Pick Colors With Curb Appeal

When it comes to color selection, there are so many choices that the decision can be overwhelming. If you're not sure where to start, spend some time driving around your neighborhood to see what appeals to you. Keep in mind that vibrant colors will fade sooner than more muted ones.

Be sure to consider the stylistic elements of your home — choose a color that complements your roofing material and any brick or stone accents. If you're having trouble deciding between two shades, paint sample swaths on a section of your home's exterior. Look at the result during different times of day to see which one you like best.

Before getting your heart set on a certain color, check with your neighborhood association and local building department to make sure there are no restrictions on paint colors in your area.

Step 6: Spray and Roll

The ideal way to paint exterior walls is called spraying and back-rolling. This method requires two people. One uses a sprayer to quickly and evenly spread paint across the surface. The other person follows behind, running a roller over the paint that has just been sprayed on. This delivers an even finish, particularly on textured surfaces like stucco.

"This offers the best of both worlds," Dan tells HGTV. "You get the speed of the sprayer and the evenness of the roller." To protect your windows, cover them with plastic before you begin spraying, or use a sprayer with a shield.

If your budget allows, apply a second coat after the recommended dry time. Muted colors cover better than bright ones. For vibrant shades, you may require a second coat just to get the full color.

"Two coats are always going to give you a better result," Dan adds. "It evens everything out to put a better shell on your house. You'll get more life out of the paint job with a second coat."

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