Exterior Painting 101 – Everything You Need to Know

September 11, 2020

Are you looking to update your home? Do you want to wow guests even before they step inside? Then it may be time to look into an exterior painting project. An exterior painting project can completely transform your home.

An exterior painting project can completely transform your home. Imagine coming home to a house that is in top condition and freshly painted. A sparkling new exterior sounds pretty nice, right?

Well, it doesn’t just have to exist in your imagination. With this exterior painting guide, you will be well on your way to making this dream a reality.

Exterior Painting Wood

Wood is commonly used when constructing home exteriors. However, it can deteriorate more easily than some other construction materials.

To properly maintain your wood exteriors it is important to paint or stain them on a regular basis. This coat of paint will protect your exteriors from any harsh weather which could otherwise wear them down.

Depending on the severity of weather in your region you may need to repaint them every 4 to 6 years or even more often.

In addition to protecting wooden exteriors, a fresh coat of paint or stain can refresh the aesthetic of your home. The best part is both paint and stain can create a gorgeous exterior.

Painting introduces an opportunity for bold and vibrant, solid colours. This works well on untreated surfaces and surfaces that have been painted previously.

Then, stain highlights the natural attributes of the wood in a variety of different shades. It works best on untreated surfaces or surfaces which have been stained in the past. However, if you want to stain a surface that has previously been painted, you will need to strip this paint first to expose the natural grain of the wood.

Either way, you can’t go wrong whether you choose a paint or stain for your exterior wood surfaces. Both will protect exteriors and create a stunning statement.

Are your wood exteriors rotting? Then check out the exterior painting tips at the bottom of this article to learn more.

Painting Exterior Walls

Once the wood for your walls is prepped you can begin to tackle the actual process of painting exterior walls around your home.

For this, you have two main options. You can go the DIY approach or you can hire a professional exterior painter.

If you go with the DIY approach here are the essential tools that you will need:

  • Ladder
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Brushes

Then, depending on the state of your walls, you may also need these tools to restore them

  • Mould treatment chemicals
  • Paint scraper
  • Sander
  • Wood fill
  • Plaster

If you don’t have these tools laying around your home already it may make more sense to hire a professional. When you work with a professional they can bring the right tools and equipment for your project They can even help you pick out the best paint for your home!

House Painting Exterior

When you are planning to paint a house one of the most important things to keep in mind is its height. No matter how many stories your house has, you will have to paint exterior areas that are well above ground level.

To safely paint these higher areas of your home you must be able to stand comfortably on a ladder while painting. Learning how to do this safely, and effectively can be tricky and takes quite a bit of practice.

If you have any issues with heights or balancing, then for safety’s sake consider hiring a professional. Sometimes DIY isn’t quite the best solution.

Exterior Painting Bricks

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Exterior Painting Bricks

Once you paint brick, it is difficult to recover its natural aesthetic later on. Even though it can produce stunning results, some prefer a more natural aesthetic.

If you need to paint your home’s exterior for preservation but you aren’t a fan of solid colours, a brick stain may be a better option. A clear brick stain will protect your brick from the elements while maintaining its natural appearance.

As well as personal preferences, the condition of the brick will also influence your exterior painting options. If your brick is in rough shape and has cracks or chips you should fix these first. Painting damaged brick can exacerbate problems further.

To find out whether your bricks are a good candidate for exterior painting it is always a good idea to get a professional opinion first.

Exterior Painting Door

When it comes to exterior painting, the walls often get all the attention. However, your walls aren’t the only parts of your home’s exterior which can benefit from a fresh coat of paint. Your front door is the gateway to your living space so a new coat of paint can have a dramatic impact too.

The best way to figure out what colour to paint your door is to look at it in the context of the entire exterior. If you have natural red brick walls than any colour goes. All you need to do is figure out whether you want a subtle, classic look or a dramatic and modern pop of vibrant colour.

On the other hand, if you have exterior walls that are painted then choose a complementary colour to this. When you paint your door in a complementary colour it will create a sleek aesthetic. Should you find yourself struggling to decide on a colour, then classics like cream, white and black are a failsafe choice.

Still not sure which colour to choose? Consider a classic like cream, white or black. The timelessness of a classic colour will ensure that your door is always in style.

Exterior Painter Price Guide

Thousands of people ask Bidvine for help with their projects every year. We track the estimates they get from local professionals, then we share those prices with you.
Price Range





Exterior Painting Door

When it comes to exterior painting, the walls often get all the attention. However, your walls aren’t the only parts of your home’s exterior which can benefit from a fresh coat of paint. Your front door is the gateway to your living space so a new coat of paint can have a dramatic impact too.

The best way to figure out what colour to paint your door is to look at it in the context of the entire exterior. If you have natural red brick walls than any colour goes. All you need to do is figure out whether you want a subtle, classic look or a dramatic and modern pop of vibrant colour.

On the other hand, if you have exterior walls that are painted then choose a complementary colour to this. When you paint your door in a complementary colour it will create a sleek aesthetic. Should you find yourself struggling to decide on a colour, then classics like cream, white and black are a failsafe choice.

Still not sure which colour to choose? Consider a classic like cream, white or black. The timelessness of a classic colour will ensure that your door is always in style.

Exterior Painting Cost

To create a comprehensive plan for your exterior painting project it is essential to draw up a budget first.

A detailed budget will equip you with the financial knowledge you need to effectively plan the project. This budget should include the cost you expect to spend on materials and labour as well as a timeline for the project.

The best way to determine precisely how much these factors cost is to do a little bit of market research. Lucky for you, we’ve made that one step easier by gathering this research for you in the table below:

Median Hourly Rate
Median Total Cost
Median Total Hours
Exterior Painting

The results include the median hourly costs and median total costs that exterior painters on Bidvine charge. However, it is still important to keep in mind that this cost may vary depending on the nature of your project.

There are plenty of factors which can cause this cost to fluctuate. Perhaps your house is smaller or larger than average and will take longer to complete. Maybe your walls are in rough shape and you will also need to add space in your budget for preliminary repairs. Either of these factors could influence your estimate.

To discover a precise estimate for your project relay as much information as possible to your professional. To help out we’ve included a series of questions in the request form to get you started.

Exterior Painting Tips

Create a Realistic Timeline

Perhaps one of the most valuable things you can do to reduce your stress when preparing for an exterior painting project is to create a realistic timeline. While you may wish that the project would be finished in a single day, in most cases this is simply not feasible.

Repainting the entire exterior of your home takes time and effort to make sure that it is done right. It takes approximately 60 hours to paint an entire house. Still, keep in mind that this like the cost could, vary depending on the scope of your project and the size of your home.

With so may variables it is important not to short-change yourself when it comes to time. Planning an exterior painting project the week before you intend to host a party is probably not the best idea.

Be Aware of the Season

When you put together a timeline, you also need to consider the seasonal timing.

The season and it’s accompanying weather have a direct impact on exterior painting projects. Each season presents its own challenges to exterior painting. However, if you prepare for these ahead of time it is possible to paint in any season.

In fall and winter, the most obvious challenge is the cooler weather. The colder temperature can affect the way that different paints adhere. To prepare for this, opt for a paint that has a minimum application temperature which is much lower than the actual temperature outdoors.

In the spring and summer, it is important to keep the opposite in mind. The only difference is that you need to be aware of maximum application temperatures for paint instead of minimums. If you fail to pay attention to this you might accidentally buy a paint that won’t adhere correctly in summertime temperatures.

Aside from temperature, the other main thing you need to keep an eye on is precipitation. Whether it is fall, winter, spring or summer precipitation could put a damper on your project. Paint just won’t stick when exterior walls are damp from flurries or rain.

Find the Right Paint for Your Walls

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Find the Right Paint for Your Walls

After you have put together a budget and timeline for your project, the next step is to find the right paint for your walls. Not every type of paint will suit every exterior material, so it is crucial to do a bit of research first.

The two most common types of paint used to paint house exteriors are latex and oil. Check out the chart below to discover which is best for the exterior materials of your home:

Type of paint
Compatible materials
Latex or water based
Vinyl, wood, aluminium, stucco, brick
Oil or alkyd
Aluminium, iron, steel, brick
Brick, wood 

If you are looking to read more about the different types of paint, we found this article helpful. 

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Choose a Durable Paint

The type of paint like latex, or oil isn’t the only factor to consider when picking a paint. The durability of a paint is also important – not all paints have the same quality standards.

Just because a paint is inexpensive doesn’t mean that it will hold up over time. While all paint wears down eventually some paints will wear down faster than others.

Basing your decision solely on which paint is the most inexpensive could influence you to buy a lower quality paint. However, this low-quality paint could cost your more in the end if you need to repaint after only a short time has passed.

To avoid this conundrum, keep quality in the forefront of your decisions. It could help you save money in the long run! 

Choose a Durable Paint

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Measure First

Before you head to the store to buy paint for your walls, measure the square footage of each wall first. To do this, follow our handy step by step guide to measuring your walls.

These measurements will help to ensure that you buy the right amount of paint at the store. With proper planning, you reduce the chance of running out of paint before the project is finished or wasting money on large quantities of excess paints.

To play it safe, buy a bit more paint than you think you will need. If you don’t use the extra during the painting project you can store it and use it for touch-ups later on.

Find out If you Need Repairs

The old saying goes, “If it isn’t broken don’t fix it,” well in this case if it is broken you must fix it. A coat of paint simply won’t fix your exteriors if they are rotting. Not to mention that leaving them to rot underneath the paint could even make the problem worse.

In the worst cases, these issues could lead to structural damages. Even in mild cases, a minor problem like a cracked brick could get worse if you don’t repair it before you paint.

To avoid any problems down the line, make any repairs a top priority before you paint. If you aren’t sure how to find out if the exterior of your house needs repairs, ask a professional. They can inspect your walls and determine their condition ahead of time.

Prep the Exteriors

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Prep the Exteriors

If exterior walls are already in top shape then the last thing you need to do before painting, is the prep work. Even though it might sound tempting you simply can’t skip over this step. The prep work is essential to achieving a smooth coat of paint. After all, the last thing you want is to trap dirt or mould on your walls for years to come.

To properly prepare your walls for exterior painting follow these 6 simple steps:

  1. Strip any paint that is peeling off
  2. Sand down rough surfaces
  3. Treat areas that have been exposed to mould or moss
  4. Clean grime and dirt with soap and water
  5. Leave to dry completely
  6. Cover areas that will be a different colour with painter’s tape

Add Traction to Floors

Are you painting the floor of a deck or patio? Then look out for paints which come with particles like sand for traction. When the weather gets rough, this traction will help to prevent slips and falls.

Depending on the material of your deck you may have the option to apply a stain instead of paint. If your deck is made of wood then a stain can help to preserve the natural grain of the wood while still refreshing its appearance.

A stain may also work better than paint if your deck is closer to the ground. Moisture rising up from the ground could reduce the ability of paint to adhere.

If you aren’t sure whether paint or stain is a better option, a professional patio builder can help.

Start from the Top

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Start from the Top

When you begin to paint the walls of your home, start at the top. Painting from the top down allows you to simplify the process because you will be able to catch any dripping paint as you paint down the wall.

In contrast, if you were to paint from the bottom up then any paint drips would land on the freshly painted part of your wall. To fix these drips you would have to repaint that section all over again. This would make the project twice as much work.

Make life easier on yourself and catch the drips as they fall by starting from the top and working your way down.

Store Excess Paint Properly

When you are all done painting, if you have any leftover paint you must take care to store it properly.

First of all, any excess paint should be kept away from small children and pets.

Then, to maintain the quality of the paint you need to place it an area with a stable temperature. You should store most paints at room temperature. In general, you should keep it at a temperature that is above freezing and lower than 35 degrees Celsius.

If it gets close to either of these temperature limits, the quality of the paint can degrade and it won’t adhere as well later on. So, keeping it at a stable temperature will ensure that it is still high-quality when you go to use it for touch-ups later on.

Stay on Top of Maintenance

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Stay on Top of Maintenance

Over time, no matter how high the quality of paint you use is, it will inevitably wear away as it ages. The exposure to harsh weather will slowly chip away at it.

To keep your exterior walls in top shape you should repaint your house before the paint has completely worn away. It is far less work to repaint when the original coat of paint is still mostly intact. If you wait too long in between repainting you will need to strip off the old peeling paint before you can start.

In between fully painting the exteriors, you may need to do a few touch ups as well. These touch-ups will maintain the coat of paint and can even prolong the life of it. That way you won’t need to repaint quite so often.

Are you unsure when you should repaint? Do you think it may be time to repaint your home now? Let Bidvine help connect you with a trusted, local professional painter and find the expert advice you need!

Further Reading

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