Can I DIY My Exterior Paint Project? 4 Pro Tips

  • The sun is finally out in Vancouver, and that means exterior painting is in full swing. “DIY” ing is very popular among Vancouver homeowners. Lots of people have painted a room in their home over the years, but wonder if they could do the same for the exterior. 

    Looking To DIY Your Exterior Painting Project? Here Are Our Pro Tips

    1. Prep prep prep!

    The hardest part of exterior painting is making sure the surface is paint-ready. 50% or more of the time spent on an exterior painting project is going to be prepared. 

    This prep includes power washing, scraping of dry/peeling paint, sanding (more than once) and more. You’ll also need to fill cracks and holes with a wood filler as well as take on necessary caulking. Homeowners also need to spot and replace wood rot before painting. 

    Doing a DIY exterior paint job means spending several days or more on preparation. This is the most important step to ensure the end result looks great. We advise taking your time, and asking experts whenever you’re unsure.  To put it in perspective, a professional crew will spend 30-40 hours preparing an average-size home for painting. 

    2. Use the right paint and materials

    Paint Type: 

    Homeowner’s first step when selecting paint should be to determine if they will be painting with oil or latex-based paint. 

    Oil-based paint has traditionally been used in exterior painting due to its durable qualities.  However, in the last 10 years, latex paint has really caught up in quality and is a suitable alternative.  Latex paint is much friendlier for the environment and as such is becoming a popular choice.  

    Latex-based paint will not stick on top of oil-based paint, so homeowners should be sure to make sure they are aware of what kind of paint is currently on their home. If you’re not sure, you can always scrap a sample off and ask a local professional. 

    Paint Quality: 

    The best rule of thumb is to not cut corners on the quality of paint.  Inexpensive paint is likely to fade faster, peel faster and cover up to 50% less space than a more quality paint. That means you may end up buying 2x as much paint!

    Exterior paint can cost between $50-$90 per gallon.  For the uninitiated, the variety of choices can be overwhelming.  Our general advice is to pick something middle of the road and chat with the seller about your project for advice.  Shop around and find someone you trust, and make sure your choice of paint is a good fit for the surface(s) you’ll be painting.  

    Other Materials

    Whether you’re painting on wood, vinyl, stucco, masonry, or metal, each surface is going to require a specific application.  When purchasing your materials, be sure to account for each surface, and ask professionals which application method is best. 

    Most exterior painting requires a combination of brushing and rolling, and some projects will be much more easily accomplished with a sprayer.   

    Choosing the right materials will lead to easier application, make better use of your paint, and lower the overall cost of the project.

    3. Check the weather forecast

    Temperatures that are too warm or too cold are likely to impact exterior painting. For a DIY project, homeowners should try to paint when it is between 10-30 degrees celsius outside.

    Cold weather can cause paint to dry too slowly, attracting dirt and grime. Cold weather can also reduce the lifespan of the paint. Finally, if the paint is too cold it will thicken and cover less area, increasing the cost of the project. 

    Painting in weather that is too hot will cause paint to bubble and blister. This paint will peel when it dries and ruin the look of your freshly painted home. 

    Vancouver is no stranger to rain, and rain can be a real disaster for an exterior painting project.  Paint will not adhere to a wet surface. Homeowners should keep one eye on weather forecasts when tackling exterior painting.  

    4. Be honest and realistic with yourself

    Painting the exterior of your home is likely to take a long time and considerable effort.  Without significant experience or reliable help, a DIY project could take a month or longer to complete. 

    DIY exterior painting is generally a great fit for homeowners who plan ahead, are willing to spend significant time on the project, and are interested in picking up (or already have) painting and carpentry trade knowledge. 

    For DIY’ers looking to save money, exterior painting might not be the best project to take on. The investment of time is high and it is easy to make big mistakes that can be costly and even more time-consuming. 

    A professional painting job should last 15-20 years and is a great value renovation. A professional company like Fresh Paint can make it more affordable than you think