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Location: HOME > Technical Support

Exterior Painting Options

Painting the exterior of your home involves a little more effort and preparation than painting interior surfaces. You have to plan the job on a good weather day, obtain ladders and other outdoor materials, and select the right paint for the exterior surface you want to spruce up. What are the options when it comes to selecting exterior paint?

Surfaces that must endure outdoor conditions require durable paint designed to withstand all that Mother Nature dishes out during the course of a year. Exterior paints cost anywhere between $20-$25 per gallon and should be selected for color retention, mildew resistance, and ability to endure temperature changes. A good exterior paint will stay glossy and resist chalking, cracking, and peeling.

Acrylic latex paint doesn't absorb water and, therefore, mildew growth is kept to a minimum. Oil-based paints are durable even with one coat and can take temperatures below 50 degrees F. At your local paint shop, select the sheen and formula that works best for you.

It's important to follow sheen guidelines when selecting exterior paints. On old wood siding, for example, a flat finish is ideal because it will hide imperfections present in the wood. Trim, smooth aluminum, and vinyl siding take semigloss paint well, as satin and semigloss are easy to keep clean and naturally resist stains.

To bring out the natural beauty of wood grain stock or custom-mixed stain is a good choice. The cost ranges from $5 to $10 per quart. Oil stains absorb into the wood's pores, darkening the wood as well as sealing it. Pigmented oil and wiping stains are the easiest to apply, while powder-in water stains are easy to clean but have a tendency to raise wood grain.

Wood siding can be stained to provide coverage that lasts a long time and breathes, so that you won't have to deal with blistering, cracking, or peeling in a few years. For more coverage, which you might expect from paint, consider applying a solid stain. The texture will still show through, but you'll achieve a more uniform look. Semitransparent stains give you a more subtle color without diminishing the look of the grain.

Exterior woodwork needs an oil-based, alkyd paint because it dries slowly and can take more abuse. Doors, trim, banisters, and porches need this type of paint because they endure a lot more wear than other exterior surfaces.

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