An external paint job can totally change the appearance of your house, and while it takes some effort it is far less expensive of time consuming than any other remodelling project. Alternately, rather than change the look a paint job can restore a house to an earlier, newer look. Either way, regular painting protects your house from the external elements and keeps your investment in better condition.

A thorough washing is the first step in any paint job. A dirty, let alone greasy, surface will cause no end of problems when applying paint. Professionals often use high pressure sprays, which are highly effective, but require a certain amount of skill; broken windows are but one potential hazard with high pressure systems. A scrubbing brush is an equally effective, if somewhat more labour intensive method.

Before washing and painting the outer house walls any plants should be protected with drop cloths. The plant and surrounding soil should be well watered, then covered with a fabric cloth; do not use plastic coverings on plants as with will overheat them.

The previous external paint must be sanded before the new paint is applied. Always use a face mask to prevent inhalation of paint dust, and use tarpaulins to catch dust and debris for proper disposal. If your house contains lead paint as many pre-1980 buildings did, always have the job professionally done; lead paint is highly toxic and must be handled in a safe manner. A device called paintshaver collects the dust as it sands, though these devices are expensive.

Primers are used to prepare the surface for the new paint. These primers can be painted over bare wood, older paint or various fillers used to repair the surface. If the previous painted surface is still reasonable you can skip primer, though many professionals believe it makes for a better end result. One school of thought chooses a primer of a similar colour as the final paint job, another prefers a contrast to show if a spot has been missed. If there is any metal to be painted, like nail heads, it is best to coat them a metal primer lest rust later bleeds through to the painted surface. Wood requires wooden primer, modern versions of which can be water based.

If there are joints and gaps in the wood they need to be caulked. Straight silicon will never really paint properly, so use siliconized acrylics instead. More expensive caulking options will last longer than cheaper ones.

After choosing the final colour for the house find the appropriate acrylic latex based paint. Oil based paints have been mostly replaced by modern acrylics which perform better, retaining some flexibility and resist cracking with age. They also work well over water based primers. If you are painting any metal work you will need oil based paint. Oil based paint is also useful for floors and stairs that receive a lot of wear.

When painting, start at the top and work downward. Always work in the shade, out of the Sun’s glare (you can plan you day around where the sun will be at any time), and keep an eye on the weather. Fast dropping temperatures and rain will ruin a paint job very quickly. Do two coats of paint for the best results.

Due to safety issues such as correct disposal of old lead paint it is often best to let professional painter restore and paint houses. Talk to Tiger Painting, Sydney, for any concerns or painting needs.