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Painting the outside of your house
By Ray Lewhite.

Painting the outside of your house is an expensive job which should be done every four or five years. but unlike some repairs it is something that the average householder can do very well himself. You can in fact, do a first class job for about one sixth, or less of any quotation you are likely to get from your local builder (This is understandable as labour represents a large portion of his total costs.
Apart from the personal satisfaction of doing it yourself you can be sure that the quality of the paint, preparation, etc., are exactly what you want.

Now's the time

Painting the outside of your house
The best time to paint is spring, early summer or autumn, when the weather is not to hot and fairly dry. You can paint at any time though, except in rain or freezing weather. Spring is perhaps preferable because later in the year insects abound and can ruin a days work. But whatever the time the time of year wear suitable clothes!
You will need the following equipment : two inch. and a half brushes for larger surfaces, two one inch. brushes for smaller areas, one emulsion brush for stucco or concrete walls, a putty knife a paint scraper and a electric blow heat gun (but only if the paint is old and thick) sandpaper, turpentine or white spirit (for thinning paint and cleaning brushes), paint can or kettle, hook for hanging kettle on ladder rungs, putty (glazing windows, filling cracks and knotholes in woodwork), extension ladder, which you can either borrow rent or buy.
You will find that four coats of paint are ample, applied as shown below. You can always add a second top coat if you wish to.
(1)BARE WOODWORK. One priming coat, two undercoats, one top coat (oil paint).
(2) METAL GUTTERS AND PIPES. One priming coat, two undercoats one top coat (oil paint).
(3)CONCRETE OR STUCCO WALLS IN PORCHES OR VERANDAHS ETC.

Two coat of exterior masonry paint (water based)For priming aluminium primer is preferred it has several advantages. It is absolutely inert and eliminates any need for knotting. In modern houses often built with unseasoned and knotty wood, it saves a lot of trouble. Your local paint shop will always be glad to advise on the various types of paints and colours available and supply you with a bunch of colour cards to inspect at home. But whatever type of paint you choose, buy the best. Saving money on paint is false economy and may waste all your efforts.
Start on the gutters, downpipes and top floor ; any paint you spill will not spoil work already done. First remove the old paint. In many cases it is not necessary to use a heat gun. Where there are several layers of old paint stripping is advisable however. You can also use a reliable chemical paint remover.
A thorough scraping with a paint scraper to remove loose paint, flakes and blisters, followed by thorough sandpapering will normally be quiet sufficient. Any paint still adhering after this can safely be left. Remember that a little extra effort here will make all the difference to the finish.
Wash down with warm water and detergent. Rinse off thoroughly and allow to dry. This is important.
Next examine all windows and make sure that the putty is in good condition. Where it is cracked or coming away from the glass remove it and re-putty, after giving all surfaces a coat of paint. The wet paint ensures a good bond.
Allow the putty to dry for a day or two before painting over it. Any cracked window panes should be replaced. At the same time fill all cracks and knot holes. Many patent fillers are available and are easy to use. Cracks are particularly liable to appear at the ends of sills. They are not only unsightly but rain will soak in and eventually rot the wood.
Check gutter joints for leaks and where necessary fill on the inside with a bituminous filler obtainable from any D.I.Y shop. While you are doing this clean out the gutters. This should be done every year in any case, and its better to do it before painting.


Now for the actual painting

Painting the outside of your house
Remember, the surface must be completely dry before you paint. Paint will not adhere to a damp surface. You must allow at least 24 hours between coats, though primer and undercoat will be dry to the touch in a few hours. You will find that a lot of a lot of external painting can be done from indoors, which saves time up the ladder. But make sure you do not lean out to far and that the feet are firm on a non-slip surface.
Painting the outside of your house
On windows, ventilators and doors all surfaces which are visible when they are open should be treated as external and painted. Sand down after each coat with fine sandpaper. After the first undercoat check again for cracks and holes in the woodwork, as these then show up more. Clean up as you go along. Its easier to wipe wet paint off with a rag than to have to scrape it later.
If you have metal guttering paint both inside and outside. To save paint you can paint the inside with any old paint which you may have laying around. Mix it all up in a can. It won't be seen so the colour does not matter. If your house has a cement rendered porch or verandah it can be painted with exterior masonry paint. Masonry paint is washable a very useful quality where there are children in the family!
Painting the outside of your house
When the upper part of the house is done you can proceed with the ground floor and doors in the same way - all of which can be reached with a step ladder.


Keep brushes soft

Brushes should be kept in water when not in use. A jam jar is the best container. Drill a hole through the handles and suspend the brushes on a wire resting on top of the jar, so that the bristles do not touch the bottom. Never rest brushes on the bottom of the jar as they will go out of shape.
Don't use brushes for top coat that you have previously used for undercoat without cleaning them thoroughly, as follows :
Painting the outside of your house
(1) Brush out all excess paint on old newspaper.
(2) Rinse thoroughly in white spirit or a proprietary brand of brush cleaner.
(3) Wash in warm water and soap.
(4)Rinse in cold water and spin out.

If you are not going to use the brush immediately hang it up to dry.
Keep your paint tins tightly closed and do not store where they can get affected by frost. Stir paint thoroughly before using - at least five minutes if it has been standing for a few days, and longer if necessary. Do not paint direct from the original tin. Transfer the quantity you need to another can. There are two good reasons for this. If you drop the can you will only lose a little paint. If you have to thin your paint do not add thinner to the original tin ; if you overthin theres nothing you can do to get it right again. Always remove any skin or lumps with an old spoon. To keep putty in good condition store in a polythene bag. This retains the moisture and the putty will be easier to handle. If the putty dries add a little linseed oil and knead it until soft.
An extension ladder which is easy to handle is always a useful thing to have about the home. But if you don't own one and can't afford this useful item you can usually hire one quiet cheaply and it will be delivered to your door and when you are finished with it - collected. A 14 ft ladder (extending to 26 ft) is a useful size.
Painting the outside of your house
Place and use your ladder with care. Make sure that the base is firmly and evenly placed. The distance between the foot of the ladder and the wall should be about a quarter of its length. As an extra precaution place a sack of sand or stones at the foot of the ladder to prevent slipping. When high up it gives confidence to lash the ladder to a window frame or secure downpipe.
English weather being what it is painting may sometimes have to be delayed for a week or two. Renting a ladder can then become an expensive business you can buy a ladder from a good manufacturer for about £150 depending on length.
Finally successful painting takes time and care. But when the job is done you have the satisfaction, particularly in winter weather, of knowing that your property is well protected for several years to come.

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