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The Top 5 Painting Mistakes to Avoid When Painting The Exterior Of Your Home

Painting the exterior of your home is a great way to improve the look of your property and boost your curb appeal. Plus, a fresh coat of exterior paint can help shield your home from the elements since paint adds a protective layer that prevents unnecessary wear and tear from harmful UV rays, rain, and snow.

However, you can accidentally make some mistakes with exterior house painting, and this can cause damage to your property without you even realizing it. This can lead to costly issues that you will need to repair, plus these mistakes can require you to repaint your home’s exterior more frequently.

5 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Painting The Exterior Of Your Home

When you paint your home’s exterior, the first thing that may come to mind is a quick and easy project. Painting all of those trim pieces sounds like an excellent idea right? Wrong! There are many pitfalls when taking on such task which can save money as well as headaches during your DIY home painting project.

Let’s look at 5 common mistakes people make when painting the exterior of their home so you can get the best looking results today!

1. Not Power Washing Before You Paint

One of the most important steps in painting the exterior of your home cleaning the surface of your home with a pressure washer before you paint. This will remove any dirt, grime, or debris that has built up on your siding over time.

If you don’t pressure wash before you paint, the new paint will not adhere properly and will not last as long since the paint is not able to adhere to the side of your home. Cleaning off the dirt and debris also gives you the best surface to apply paint so, so the final product will look smooth and professional.

Be sure to pressure your home at least a few days before you want to paint. This will give enough time for the water to dry so you don’t have to worry about painting on a wet surface.

2. Rushing The Prep Work

Another mistake people make when painting the exterior of their home is rushing the prep work. Prep work can be a tedious and boring task, but the quality of your exterior painting project depends on how well you prep your home before painting. Here are a few things to pay attention to during prep work:

  • Scrape away all loose paint and old paint that is flaking from the home. This not only ensures the final product looks great, it also prevents the fresh layer of paint from peeling off as the old paint layer chips away.
  • Sand down rough edges of siding and paint. Sanding down the edges of old paint will ensure your new paint looks smooth and professional. You can use an electric sander to make the job go faster.
  • Repair wood and other elements of your home that are rotting before you paint. You don’t want to apply a fresh coat of paint to your home if your siding or trim is deteriorating. Be sure to replace those areas as needed before you begin the painting project.
  • Caulk open seams in your home’s siding, trim work, and other areas. This will ensure you get a great looking product after you finish painting, plus it will prevent those areas from getting dirt or moisture which will protect your home for years to come.
  • Taping plastic over windows, doors and fixtures before painting. If you plan to use a sprayer to paint your home’s exterior then you need to lay down a layer of plastic over windows, doors, and other fixtures to prevent them from getting overspray.
  • Be sure to also tie back any landscaping around your home like bushes or trees that might touch the side of your house. You don’t want the branches to brush a new layer of paint, because this can cause streaking and disrupt the drying process.

Taking your time with the prep work will save you time in the long run. It may take a little longer to do it right, but it will be worth it in the end. Be sure to check the age of your home before you scrape or sand paint, since older homes can have lead paint which you will need to take additional steps during this process if your home was built before 1978.

3. Not Considering The Weather

Unlike painting the interior of your home, you need to consider the weather before you start applying paint to your home’s exterior. This is because moisture like rain or humidity can cause your paint to streak when drying.

Even worse, rainy or high humidity can cause your paint to lose its color and protective properties if too much moisture is in the air when the paint is drying.

You also need to consider ultraviolet rays when painting the exterior of your home. This is because if you paint in direct sunlight you run the risk of your paint drying too fast.

To avoid issues that can impact your painting project, you should plan to paint on a day with low humidity, a low chance of rain, and not in direct sunlight. Look around your home to determine when and where you should start painting.

Take note of trees that will provide shade later in the day so you can start painting on the opposite side of your home since the morning is typically cooler with less direct sunlight to think about when painting.

Along with moisture and sunlight, you should also consider the temperature when painting. This si because hotter weather can cause paint to dry in an uneven fashion. Ideally, you want to paint when the temperature is between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If it’s outside of that range, you may want to wait or use a different type of paint.

4. Not Using Primer

Another mistake some homeowners make when painting the exterior of their home is not using primer on bare wood or other surfaces. Primer helps the paint to adhere to the surface better and also provides a barrier against weathering.

You should always use primer on any wood siding and event aluminum siding that has not been painted, or areas that have been stripped or looks weathered. Your exterior paint job will look a lot better and last a lot longer with the application of some primer to these bare areas before you begin painting the exterior of your home.

Along with using primer on areas of your home that have not been painted before, you should also use primer on any areas that you are going to be painting a lighter color over a darker color. This is because primer will help to cover up the old color and provide a better foundation for the new paint color.

This is also true if you are painting over yellow, since yellow is notoriously difficult to cover since it is a vibrant colors that many new layers of exterior paint can’t cover easily.

Primer helps paint adhere to surfaces, and you can use primer on wood, vinyl, and metal surfaces to ensure each coat of paint will last longer and look great for years to come.

5. Not Using The Right Tools

The last mistake we will look at is not using the right tools when painting the exterior of your home. This includes not only using the right type of paintbrush or roller, but also making sure you have a ladder that is tall enough and safe to use.

You should always use a high-quality paintbrush or roller when painting any surface. This is especially true when painting the exterior of your home since you want to make sure the paint job lasts for years to come. Here are some common tools that you will need to pain the exterior of your home:

  • Exterior Siding Paint:  A good quality exterior paint will resist fading and wear. You will typically want to choose an egg shell sheen for the paint to ensure the final product looks great and lasts for years to come.
  • Exterior Semi-Gloss Paint For Trim Work: You should use semi-gloss paint on trim work to help your home pop. Plus, this level of sheen resists UV light and weathering better than other kinds of paint.
  • Paint Sprayer: No matter the size of your home, it’s always best to use a paint sprayer to speed up the process of painting your home. Be sure to read the instruction manual before using to ensure that you know how to operate the machine.
  • Painter’s Tape:  This is an important tool to have no matter what type of painting project you are working on. Painter’s tape helps you to create clean lines and can be used to protect surfaces that you don’t want paint on.
  • Ladders: You will need a ladder that is tall enough to reach the highest points of your home. Make sure the ladder is in good condition and that it is placed on level ground before climbing up. You should try to have a 6′ A-Frame ladder to help with lower sections of your home along with an extension ladder to help you reach the highest points of the exterior.
  • Drop Cloths: You will need drop cloths around the exterior of your home to catch any drips before they stain your sidewalk. This simple process will save you hours of touch ups and cleanup work at the end of your exterior painting project.
  • Paint Scraper: This tool can help you scrape old paint from your home to allow the new layer of paint an even surface to adhere to.
  • Exterior Caulk & Caulk Gun: Be sure to pick up a few tubes of exterior caulk and a caulk gun to fill in gaps around the exterior of your home. Pay special attention to areas around your windows and doors since moisture can enter the areas and cause damage to your siding.
  • Plastic Sheeting: Cover your windows, doors, and other items around your home if you plan on spray painting the exterior. This will prevent overspray from coating these areas, which can lead to clean up work at the end of your project.

Avoid Common Mistakes Of Exterior Painting Today!

By following these simple tips, you can avoid making some of the most common mistakes made when painting your home’s exterior. Painting your home is a big job, but it’s one that can be tackled with careful planning and execution.

With a little bit of work upfront, you can save yourself time and money in the long run and have a beautiful finished product to show for it.

Have you painted your home’s exterior recently? What tips would you add to this list?


Hi, I'm Chris. I'm a professional painter with over 10 years of experience. I want to show homeowners tips, guides, and advice to save them time and money when painting their own home. I know it can be daunting to take on a painting project yourself, but it doesn't have to be. With the right information and some guidance, you can easily paint your home and save money in the process.


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