Most exterior painting projects tend to be large in size and your painted exterior surfaces need to withstand years of changing environmental conditions.

Problems will occur when there is improper preparation or weather fluctuations cause temperature differences and moisture builds up under the paint or the surface itself. Once your homes siding or other exterior substrates are penetrated by moisture the wood, concrete or stucco will begin to lift and deteriorate.

By following proper preparation procedures along with using quality outdoor paints your surfaces will be whether-proof and durable along with resisting mold or mildew.

Also, a quality well maintained exterior paint coating will retain its color and beauty extending your projects integrity for many years to come.


Before starting your exterior painting project there are certain health and environmental issues that need to be taken into consideration.

    Protecting your health:
    Older homes, up until 1978 were coated using exterior paints that contained lead. Lead paint is most dangerous when scraped (or rubbed) and lifts from the surface causing dust or paint chips to disperse. Windows for example can create poisonous particles to release into the air when opened or closed.

    Furthermore, surface repairs that involve paint scraping or sanding can result in lead dust that can cause health problems.

    Prior to remodeling your older home be sure to test painted substrates (testers can be purchased from home improvement retailers) or contact the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-LEAD-FYI for more information.

    Paint of all kinds can cause environmental concerns or volatile organic compounds (VOC's). Most older paints contain VOC's and they are harmful (in some form or another) to a good number of living things. A good number of newer paints are now formulated using little or no VOC's.

    For more information concerning your chosen painting products along with proper paint disposal advice be sure to contact your local paint dealer or government environmental agency.


Before applying your exterior paint, be sure to prep and repair any problem areas that your outdoor surfaces may have. Prior to starting, check if the previous coating was an oil (alkyd) or latex based paint (retailers do sell testers). Reason being is that a surface can handle between sixteen and thirty layers of paint.

Areas that have been coated three or more times with an oil based product should (in most cases) be repainted using an oil based paint. As an alkyd (or oil) paint dries it gets harder and less flexible. If oil based paints are repainted with latex the pliable water based product would (in most cases) not stick.

    Exterior wood decking :
    Having paint products adhere to exterior wooden decks or floor type areas for extended periods of time can be virtually impossible. I've tried almost every coating on the market in search of one that works the best. All the companies who've given me guarantees stood behind their brand and replaced the paints or stains after they had failed. Even so, the problem comes with not repaying me for my labor. When guaranteed coatings tend to stand up just as well as regular less expensive products any extra money paid is usually to cover the guarantee of the better paint.

    Stick with a known quality brand (well priced) porch/floor/deck coating when choosing exterior paints or stains. Also keep in mind that you more than likely will have to redo the job every two or three years.

    If the idea of continually repainting your outside high traffic areas doesn't appeal to you then have them recovered. Though expensive in the beginning, you will likely save money in the long run.

    Concrete Flooring:
    All new concrete interior or exterior needs a good month to cure before painting. If you're unsure whether the moisture in your floor has evaporated, lay a piece of plastic onto the surface and tape it down. There should be no condensation build up when you check it the next day. Latex or an epoxy are the usual coatings for concretes as some oil based products can react to the alkalinity in masonry causing a paint to peal or pop off.

    Gas and oil stains are almost impossible to remove and even after extensive cleaning and most coatings including epoxy will not adhere.

    To keep your floors from being slippery try throwing a non stick additive or sand into the product before you begin rolling. Sprinkling sand onto the wet paint before it drys will also work.

    Other products like powdered cement paints are diluted with water and applied to a damp surface, they look very nice but doesn't last as long as an exterior epoxy coating will.

    As a final note, when coating garage floors be sure to use the proper (recommended) product for the job. Driving a vehicle over some paints will cause them to peel off and stick to a hot tire.

    Alkyd based stains are the usual product applied to protect wood shingles. If your wooden roof covering is in bad shape you'll need to apply a primer before spraying on two coats of a stain. Using a stain that has lower paint pigments is recommended as darker colors can fade very quickly when exposed to direct sun light.

    Prior to painting gutters be sure to check with your coatings dealer to see whether you will need a primer. Bring a portion of the down spout with you to help with assessing the type of paint color and product you will need. Gutters can peal and flake if the wrong product is used.

    Wood Siding:
    If your wood siding has been painted a number of times with an alkyd product repainting with oil based paint is advisable. Also, siding that’s been coated with oil in the past has a tendency to get a chalky look or feel to it. Latex doesn't adhere well to a chalk surface. In all other cases use a water based product especially a solid stain as they're durable and have excellent exterior paint color retention.

    Stucco Siding:
    Stucco is almost always coated with a latex exterior paint. If your masonry siding is rough and has excessive cracks or holes use an Elastomeric product to bridge the surface. Elastomeric is costly though. Even so they are, in my opinion, the only product in almost all cases to use on the outside of your home.

    All raw wood surfaces like fences, picnic tables or furniture should be stained. Even when an area or item has previously received an exterior paint I will still recommended re-coating with stain. Solid latex stains are cheaper than exterior paints and are so much easier to prep (they also cause very little peeling or flaking when it comes time to re-coat).

If you do decide to apply a latex paint over an oil based coating it is advisable to either dull the surface (by sanding) or applying a primer coat first. Primer coats do add to the cost of the job and sanding can be somewhat tedious which gives reason to sticking with and oil based paint being painted over-top of an oil based paint.

When multiple paint layers or economics are a concern try and stick with using the same colors for repainting. By doing so you should only need one coat and still be able to create a nice job.

Keep in mind though that once an area has been painted the maximum amount of thickness advisable it begins to crack and peel (about a 16th of an inch or so). Re-coating (in most cases) can only be successfully accomplished by striping the older layers of paint.


New exterior paint coatings and products are manufactured regularly.

When it comes to exterior painting no matter what the surface is I prefer Elastomeric paints . Elastomeric products are more expensive though and may not work for all situations.

Modified oils which are oil based paints that clean up with water are another product that I highly recommend. Talk to your local paint supplier regarding exterior painting advice along with the best products and materials to use for your specific project.

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