Friday, March 20, 2015

3 Step Guide to Painting the Exterior of Your Historic House

By Gretchen Sawatzki

Improving your home is just one paint job away, and now is the time to do it. Springtime is like the perfect bowl of porridge - it is not too hot and not too cold, making it a great time to apply paint to the exterior of your home. A good paint job, if done correctly, can last 5-8 years, but the devil is in the details. Luckily for you, we've got it all figured out in this 3-step guide to painting the exterior of your historic house.

The Painted Ladies of San Francisco's Alamo Square undergo
rigorous painting maintenance to keep looking good year
after year. Photo courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org
Step 1. Prep for Paint

That's right, you've got to remove the old before you can apply the new. It's painstaking and annoying, but it's totally worth it. Use a paint scraper to remove loose paint or a heat gun for those difficult places to achieve a smooth surface. Then take an electric sander to even out the rough areas. Finally, take a wire brush to dust away leftover paint chips and powder.

Step 2. Repair It

Like facial injections can plump and fill those pesky, unwanted wrinkles, so can putty and fillers on your home's exterior. After applying, let it dry, and sand it smooth. Repairing damaged areas will help seal out water, prevent long-term damage, and provide the perfect surface for paint adhesion. If you have found rotting wood, now is also the time to repair it or replace it.

Step 3. Paint It

Watch the weather. Painting when the weather is damp or rainy effects paint adhesion and could cause blistering. Wait for a few days of dry weather, it's worth the wait and it will save you a headache. Don't be cheap and penny pinch with your paint either. The quality of your paint will be tested next winter, so choose carefully. A water-based paint (latex or acrylic) is a good option for durability. Water-based paints are breathable, fast drying, nonflammable, and can also be applied over oil-based paints. Oil-based paints dry smoother, have better surface adhesion, and wear gracefully overtime. Watch out though, oil-based paints can bubble and peel if applied over existing water-based paints.

For more information on historic home maintenance including painting and wood repair visit the National Parks Service's Preservation Briefs, you'll be glad you did!

Sources:
             City of Bloomington, Indiana
             National Parks Service
             Sherwin-Williams
             Wikimedia Commons


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