While these February days are wet and wintery in most places, and particularly snowy in more northern areas, spring will be with us before you know it. Especially if you believe the predictions of one Punxsutawney Phil. And of course, as those first rays of of springtime sunshine caress your house, they’ll be highlighting the damage and dirt that winter has left on your walls, windowsills and gutters.
The outside of your house makes the biggest impression, so a good spring cleaning of the exterior walls should be the first thing on your list after your home-improvement hibernation of the last few months. Also it’s a glorious time to be outside in the fresh air after a stuffy wet winter. As well as the walls, you’ll find lots of tasks that need doing in the yard, such as cleaning up the garden and planting bulbs. If you are a keen gardener, you will want to get any flower beds and garden borders done before you paint, or you’ll trample all over them when you’re moving around the walls.
So if you’ve made up your mind that it’s time to paint, start by taking a close look at your property. The winter rains, winds and storms may have exposed some of your wood, leaving it at risk of rotting and this spring paint job could save you a more expensive repair job later on. Look out for areas that have discolored or blistered paint too as this could indicate leaks and the presence of mold or mildew. This will need treating before you paint or add primer.
Also while looking around, pay careful attention to the doors, windows and trim, and keep your eyes skinned for any wood that might be split. Wood filler can help with trouble spots provided there’s no decay. At the same time, you might want to examine the roof for any broken, or missing tiles or shingles, clean leaves and twigs out the gutters, and water spouts and get rid of any cracking caulk.
You need to clean the walls before you actually get your brushes out. An effective way to do this is by power washing. But if it’s been a long time since walls were last painted, you may need to remove the old layers of paint altogether. This can be a long and tedious job that needs tackling with sandpaper and scrapers. Be careful though, if you suspect your house retains a layer of paint from before 1978, you have to take precautions about lead paint and ensure masks are worn; that pets, loved ones and children are kept away and that all scrapings are dealt with safely. In some states of the US this may require having a licenced contractor deal with lead-laced paint, so it’s worth checking on the regulations in your area.
With the walls clean and dry, you’re ready to go and start with a primer. It’s best to choose a cool day to start painting. This is because the most effective paint for exterior walls is latex based, and this goes on much more smoothly in cooler weather. If you’re trying to apply it on a hot day, you’ll find it dries very quickly which can be frustrating and leave you with a bad finish. But a high quality latex paint, applied in the right conditions is durable and flexible ensuring your spring clean paint will last a good few years. But avoid a windy day, as wind can also dry out your paint too quickly and can blow dust and other lumps into your paint – this leads to outbreaks of mildew when it is on the wall.
Of course, painting the outside of your house, is a big job at any time of year and can involve ladders, scaffolding and sometimes even harnesses. If you are thinking about a spring paint, why not leave it to the experts like the team at Sharper Impressions? We are fully licenced and can give you a high quality and long lasting finish. You’ll not only enjoy a professional job, but also gain some time to enjoy the joys of spring regardless of it starts today or in six more weeks.