Expert Tips for Painting and Decorating Your Home's Exterior

Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing Paint, Preparing Surfaces, and Achieving a Professional Finish

Painting the Exterior of a House 

Paint-work needs to be repainted every five years or so. The rate of paint deterioration depends on the exposure to wind, rain, direct sunlight, and the thoroughness of the surface preparation. The first signs of deterioration typically include the loss of shine in gloss paint or the over-powdering of emulsion.

Best Time for Exterior Painting

Looking to refresh your home’s exterior with a new coat of paint? Timing is everything! In the UK, the best months for exterior painting are during the warmer, drier periods. Here’s a quick guide:

Late Spring (April and May): These months are perfect for painting as they offer moderate temperatures and minimal rainfall, allowing the paint to dry properly.

Early Summer (June): Early summer continues to provide good conditions with warm weather and less chance of rain.

Early Autumn (September): September can also be a great time to paint, but be mindful of the colder and wetter conditions that can develop later in the season.

Always check the weather forecast before starting your painting project. Aim for a stretch of dry weather to ensure the best results.

Ready to transform your home’s exterior? **Contact Us** today for expert advice and professional painting services!

If it starts raining, stop painting immediately and wait for the surface to completely dry before resuming. Similarly, avoid painting a surface soaked with dew; wait for it to evaporate in the morning. Finish work about two hours before sunset so that the paint has time to set before dew forms in the evening.

It’s also a good practice to follow the sun around the house, working on the east and south sides in the morning and the north and west sides in the afternoon to allow the surface more time to dry, or alternatively starting East, North, West and painting the South side (late afternoon) when the sun is less intense. Working in direct sunlight can be challenging, especially when applying new white paint over old paint, as the glare of the sun makes it difficult to see the painted areas

Before Buying Paint

Consider your surroundings: If you plan to change your colour scheme, ensure that the new colours will complement the surrounding and neighbouring buildings, particularly if your house is semidetached or on a terrace. For example, bright red paint might clash with houses painted in pastel shades.

Calculate the amount of paint you need: by working out the area of each part of the house to be painted. Remember that pebble-dashed rendered surfaces require more paint than smooth-rendered ones. If all the walls are to be painted, estimate the total outside area of the house by multiplying the length of the walls by the height. To measure the height safely, use a laser distance measurer or measure the height of one brick and count the number of bricks from the ground to the eaves, then multiply these figures. Deduct the combined area of the doors and windows from the total outside area to know the area of the walls.

For example: For a typical 1930s detached house with dimensions of approximately 9 meters in width, 9 meters in length, and 8 meters in height, you would need around 38.4 litres of paint to apply two coats, assuming the paint coverage is 15 square meters per litre. This calculation is based on the total area of the house exterior, which is 288 square meters (2 x (9m + 9m) x 8m), divided by the coverage rate of the paint (15 square meters per litre) and then multiplied by 2 for two coats.

Typical 1930s doors are about 2 meters in height and 0.9 meters in width, giving an area of 1.8 square meters per door. Typical windows are approximately 1.5 meters in height and 1.2 meters in width, giving an area of 1.8 square meters per window. Deduct these areas from your total wall area for a more accurate paint estimate.

Choosing the Right Paint

Consider the weather: Select the paint based on the surface. Purchase all the paint of each type from the same batch and get all the same primer undercoat.

Generally, use an exterior alkyd or water-based ‘Trade’ grade gloss or satin paint on wood and metal such as gutters, downpipes, windows, and doors. Use exterior ‘trade’ grade smooth or textured emulsion or masonry paint on walls. Alternatively, on bare wood, use a micro-porous paint, which requires no primer or undercoat. This paint allows trapped air or moisture to evaporate, reducing the risk of flaking often associated with hardwoods.

You do not have to use a similar paint to the one previously used, except never put a glossy top coat over glossy surfaces, especially pipes and gutters. If you are unsure whether the paint is bituminous, rub a rag soaked in white spirit onto the paint surface. If a brown stain appears, then the paint is likely bituminous. In this case, either continue using the same paint type or coat the bituminous surface with aluminium or equivalent primer sealer before applying the desired undercoat and topcoat gloss paint.

Ladder Safety and Statistics

In the UK, falls from height, including ladder-related incidents, accounted for around 40 fatalities in the 2022/23 period, making them a leading cause of workplace deaths. The construction industry reported 45 fatal injuries, with many involving ladder use, highlighting the significant risks associated with improper ladder safety. Thousands of non-fatal injuries also occur annually due to ladder accidents, leading to serious injuries and substantial time away from work.

Black and white pencil sketch of a large house under renovation with scaffolding on the front. Several ladders are set up, and vehicles are parked in front of the house. The scene illustrates the process of exterior house painting and renovation.

Where to Start

Ensure Safe Access: Safe access is crucial. According to the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE), you must ensure that your ladder and scaffold tower are secure, in good condition, and suitable for the task. Use ladders only for short-duration tasks and ensure they are on stable ground. Surfaces should be clean, stable, and stripped if the paintwork is unsound. Repair damaged wood and replace rotted wood. Fix the gutters if they are not firmly attached to the fascia board. Some weeks before starting to paint, check that the putty around the windows is sound. If it is not, remove and replace it.

Ladder Safety Tips

1. Inspection: Inspect the ladder before use. Ensure it is free from damage and that all parts are functioning correctly.
2. Setup: Place the ladder on a stable, level surface. The HSE recommends a 4:1 ratio for ladder placement (1 meter out for every 4 meters in height).
3. Three Points of Contact: Always maintain three points of contact (two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand) while on the ladder.
4. Work Duration: Ladders should only be used for tasks that last no longer than 30 minutes.
5. Height Restrictions: Avoid working at height where possible. If work at height is necessary, ensure that measures are in place to prevent falls.

For more detailed guidelines, refer to the HSE Working at Height Regulations

Always start decorating from the top of the house, working downwards to avoid spoiling any partly painted surface. Protect climbing plants or wall plants with dust sheets by tying them back or cutting them. Also, cover with masking paper or dust sheets. Take care not to weigh down delicate branches. It is easier to paint the exterior walls covered with a climbing plant after pruning. Cover any soil or exterior walls covered by a flower bed.

The general procedure is as follows: bargeboards, fascias, gutters, soffits, walls, downpipes, windows, and doors. If you are working from a scaffold tower, the painting sequence can vary. Start at the top and work downwards. If you do not have to cope with dusty surfaces, DO NOT! Tie pieces of rope around your middle and attach the other end to the ladder bucket or paint can, If needed use a ‘Safety Harness’ and tie the ladder to the wall or suitable safe structure, to complete all preparatory work before you do any painting – to complete all preparation and prime surfaces, but never leave a partially coated surface if it starts to rain. You will have to start the painting afresh.
If you need to stop work, paint a less visible part of the wall before stopping. Avoid the following order: boards, fascias, wall facings, edges of windows, pipes, and downpipes. However, if you are working on a facade or front door, secure the front wall by painting the surfaces you can reach before moving the ladder to another site. Try to have no partly painted wall until you reach a natural break.

Call Now Button