So one of my bigger projects to tackle while I was on vacation was to paint the exterior of our house. No easy project for sure. And even though it would have been easier to hire it to be done, I just couldn’t justify spending over $5000 on a project I knew my husband and I could do by ourselves.
The biggest challenge is the 2 story portion of the house. This is why I have procrastinated this project for a long time. Partially because I don’t really like climbing up on my roof and looking over the edge.
And partly because I see what happens when people fall off ladders at my job. I cannot tell you how many fractured ankles, calcaneus (your heel bone) and foot bones I have seen because someone fell off a ladder. One patient fractured both of her ankles, and jacked up both knees and wrists which required multiple surgeries because she fell off a ladder building her tiny house. Yep, fell from a ladder from a tiny house.
These are all the things I think about when I climb up a ladder.
But it has got to be done, and I am doing it myself. So I thought I would share with you some advice if you are planning on taking on this project yourself. And a word of caution, I am not a professional house painter, and climbing ladders is dangerous! So use caution if you plan on doing this yourself!
The Prep Work
This is the most important part of house painting. You have got to spend the time and do the prep work, no exceptions. Because how you prepare your house before you apply the finish paint coat is going to make your new paint job last longer.
Power Wash The House
Power washing the house is the first step. This will get rid of the dirt, cobwebs, and grime that can accumulate on your house and make it difficult for the paint to adhere.
Sand And Scrape
If there are any rough areas, or peeling paint, this has to be taken care of before you paint. Scrape of any peeling paint, and sand any rough areas.
It also helps to have a rag with you to wipe of any residue from sanding.
If there are any gaps or cracks, fill in these areas with painter’s caulk. It will prevent moisture from getting in, and your finished paint job will look a lot more professional.
Painter’s caulk is very easy to use and it’s affordable. You can buy a box of 12 tubes of caulk at Home Depot for around $17.00 and then get a caulking gun for about $10.00 for a good one. Trust me, invest in the good one. It make caulking a lot easier.
Tape Off Windows
Before you get all excited about slapping that paint on, do yourself a favor and tape off any areas you don’t want painted. I’m talking about trim, or around your windows. It makes it a lot easier in the end. And you get the benefit of having crisp straight lines when you are all done.
My favorite tape to use is the green Frog Tape. I have never used any other tape that works better. This stuff is the best. And if you are planning on doing a lot of painting, whether in your house, or for striping horse jumps, you can save money by buying a mutli-pack for around $25.00 for 4. It is worth the cost, trust me on this.
Choosing The Right Supplies
Another thing to consider is having the right supplies. You can rent a sprayer, but for me this is more work than I want to do. I would rather paint with a brush and roller. Yes it takes longer, but I like the process. Painting is fun for me. So I like to invest my money in better quality rollers and paint brushes.
Purdy Paint Brushes And Roller Covers
My favorite paint brush for cutting in corners is a 2″ angled brush. It works fantastic for getting straight lines and is excellent for painting trim. You will have crisp lines, and your paint job will look professional with a brush like this! You can even cut in those challenging side trim pieces with a brush like this.
To get further reach, and less climbing up on the ladder, I opted for a pole extender. And of course, I went with a Purdy. They come in lengths from 2 feet to 12 feet. I went with the one that extends to 12 feet. When its fully extended to 12 feet, you need to be pretty steady. But when it is at it’s 6 foot long reach, it’s perfect for getting higher while the ladder remains lower.
In fact I was able to reach all the way to the peaks of the tall section of our house without even being on a ladder! This pole extender was the best thing I could have ever bought.
And when I was on the ladder, I ALWAYS had my husband there with me, holding the base of the ladder stable. You should always have a helper when you are climbing a ladder.
And it’s worth mentioning, I had an old riding helmet that I wore while I was on the ladder too. You can never be too safe. Mind your melon, even if you are not on a horse. I wonder what my neighbors thought, watching me climb a ladder and wearing a helmet?
Choosing The Paint
Now this is where it gets fun, buying your paint. To save yourself a lot of money, and heartache, invest in some samples first. Because once you buy the paint, there are no returns on custom colors. And once you choose the paint color, it is a custom color so you will not be able to return it.
So spend $10.00 and try on your color first, to make sure you love it before you buy 15 to 20 gallons of paint!
We did this, and I am so glad we did.
The first color that I loved was too dark, in my opinion, when I put it on the house. And then I found a lighter shade of gray that was perfect.
I did the same thing with the trim color, to make sure it would look good with the main color.
And while the dark gray was too dark for the all over color, I did like it. So I bought a gallon of it to paint the ‘pop out’ sections of our house. It gives some dimension, and updates the look of our 1989 home. And if you can see the gutter in the photo, I painted all of the gutters down spots with Rustoleum metallic copper.
In regard to finishes, flat, satin, semi-gloss, etc. Choose what is right for you. I chose a flat paint for the body color, and a satin finish for the trim. Ultimately it depends on your personal preference of which finish you choose. I like the flat paint because it is more forgiving on flaws. And the satin is just a touch shinier which gives a nice contrast between the colors.
For my house, the main color is Baltic Gray (Which is a Benjamin Moore color that Home Depot color matched)
And the trim is cotton balls, which is a Behr paint color.
House Painting 101 – DIY Style
After it was all done, I was very happy (and tired) with the project. And by doing it ourselves, we spent $702.54 total for the paint, supplies and brushes, etc. Which means I saved $4297.46 from the original quote. I was very happy to get this job done. Yes, it did take a full week of painting to do it by ourselves, but it is so worth it in the end.
I think the after is way cool! And to compare, this is what our house used to look like, in the baby puke green that my husband decided was the previous color…..
I will have a better after picture in an upcoming post. But for now, I am really happy with how our DIY paint job turned out!
And instead of investing the money into having our house painted, we did opt to invest in something new that we will enjoy a lot, a new spa to replace the ancient hot tub we had. And I will share that project with you in an upcoming blog post!