Friday, June 24, 2011

Five Ways to Take the Pain out of Painting

For some people, exterior painting's a pleasure, but for others, it's a pain. If you find the project to be less fun than funk, here are five simple ways to take the pain out of your painting:

1. Simplify the color selection process. "Selecting an exterior color scheme doesn't have to be a white-knuckle experience," says Debbie Zimmer, spokesperson for the Paint Quality Institute. "You'll seldom go wrong by applying a dark shade of paint to exterior walls, and using light contrasting paint on your trim." Want something a little more interesting? Simply adopt one of the color-coordinated palettes you see in paint company brochures, advises Zimmer. These are created by design professionals who have a keen sense of color. Be smart, and ride their coattails.

2. Speed up the work with power equipment. According to Zimmer, good surface preparation is important on every exterior paint job, but it doesn't have to be done by hand. Rent a power-washer! It will quickly remove any loose or peeling paint, dirt, grime, and mildew. You might even consider renting a power-sprayer to apply your paint more quickly.

3. Use a combination primer and paint. Getting a good paint job used to require a coat of primer and one or more coats of paint. Today, you can find coatings that function as both primer and paint in a single can, says Zimmer, who suggests that these combination coatings can greatly reduce the time and effort needed to finish an exterior painting project. Spend a little time searching for one of these painter-friendly coatings, and you'll save lots more time (and work) later in the job.

4. Invest in the best quality paint. With due deference to Charles Schwab, top quality 100% acrylic latex paints may be the best investment out there. Not only do these paints look smoother and more even when applied, but they're also tremendously durable compared to bargain-priced coatings. According to Zimmer, top quality 100% acrylic latex exterior paints typically last 10 years or more, compared to four years or so for ordinary paints. Think about that return on investment when you go to buy paint.

5. Paint in moderate weather conditions. While today's top quality coatings can be applied in a wide range of temperatures, there's no need to make exterior painting an endurance contest. "Mild weather and moderate temperatures are best for both you and your paint - making for more pleasant working conditions, and better conditions for the paint to form the most protective film," says Zimmer. High winds? Put the power-sprayer and ladder away. No need to compromise your safety, or the integrity of paint film that can dry too quickly in windy conditions.

As you can see, it doesn't take strong medicine to take the pain out of painting - just some common sense and careful planning. Apply equal parts of both and you'll be well on your way to more pleasurable exterior painting!

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