House Painting - More than Good Looks

Article written by Karl Crowder

Often homeowners and building contractors overlook house painting, regarding it as an esthetic treatment. This attitude disregards the true importance of both interior painting and exterior painting and how they affect the future of your home and wallet.

The main financial affects of house painting are reduced utility bills and an easier maintenance schedule. The paint system, including proper caulking, reduces air and water vapor infiltration into the walls and eventually into your home. Water vapor in the exterior walls reduces the effectiveness of insulation and can cause rot or mold problems.

The same idea is used for the inside of your home. Interior air is often more humid than outside and the temperature is controlled, warmer in the cold months and cooler in the warm months. Even with vapor barriers some water vapor could enter the walls and condense. A good paint job can drastically reduce the water vapor in the exterior walls and help control mold.

The painted surfaces, both the interior and exterior of your home, act as a system that controls the movement of air and water vapor through the exterior walls reducing the damaging effects of condensation. This system, if performing properly, can drastically lower your utility bills.

Exterior Painting

By and far your homes exterior benefits the most from a good paint job. The painted surfaces have to withstand extreme weather, UV light from the sun as well as the build up of contaminates from pollution. The paint does this while being only a little thicker than a piece of paper.

The aspects of house painting are craftsmanship and the quality of the materials used. Craftsmanship deals with the steps involved and a person’s ability to use the tools effectively. Plus choose the most appropriate products for the job. It can’t be stressed enough that the quality of the primer, caulking and paint will directly affect how long the paint job lasts even with the best craftsmanship.

The key points of exterior painting are contained in the preparation of all painted surfaces and the application of top quality finish paints. The preparation must be done correctly and completely.

Prime all porous surfaces; such as raw wood and masonry. The primer is an absolute necessity in order for the paint to fully adhere.

Caulk all gaps. Water is the main cause of paint failures and it will find a way in. Use top of the line sealants on all gaps and cracks even if you think they are well protected.

Apply 2 full coats of top quality house paint. The use of two coats will cost more but can extend the time before repainting. Plus most manufactures specify a minimum thickness and this is easily reached with two coats of paint.

Exterior Painting Options

Some options to consider are back priming, back rolling the first coat and using an Elastomeric coating instead of the standard 100% acrylic.

Back priming is applying a primer to all sides of a surface before installation. The best surfaces for this are wood trim and fascia boards plus the soffit material. The reasoning behind back priming is, if water does get behind any of these materials a layer of primer will stop it from seeping through and peeling the paint. It can also prevent premature rot.

Back rolling refers to using a paint roller directly behind the sprayer during the application of the first coat of paint. This will produce a better seal on all types of siding as well as masonry surfaces.

Another option is upgrading from a standard paint to an Elastomeric coating. This is a very thick type of paint that can stretch 200%, much more than regular paint. It will easily outlast 100% acrylic paint. Elastomerics are more expensive and it takes a lot more but you won’t need to repaint anytime soon. There is many other benefits check with your local paint store for more details.

Interior Painting

You are probably thinking “if it looks good it must be good” and this is true but the finer points of interior painting can affect everything from durability to even the exterior paint. New construction posses several challenges that are different from repainting an existing home.

The main challenge is all the pieces that need to be painted and the order this will be done. Another challenge is maintaining a clean environment. All of the dust and debris from previous contractors must be removed before any painting can start. If it’s on the floor it will be on the walls eventually. Finally the last challenge is time. I caution against trying to do or have the house painting done to fast. Good work takes time; it’s just the way it is.

Having a Plan

The key to having interior house painting done quickly is efficiency and for that some organization is needed. Once the house is readied for painting, cleaning and masking, PVA wall board primer will need to be applied. Spraying is the quickest method and the one chosen by most professional painters. Another area that will need priming is the closets with built-in shelving. I like to use a universal fast drying acrylic primer.

Now it is time for some color. How the walls and ceilings are painted depends on the amount of colors you choose and where they will be applied. If the ceilings will be a different color from the walls then painting the ceilings is next followed by the walls. If the walls and ceilings are the same color then entire rooms can be finished quickly. Once again using an airless sprayer is the preferred method whenever possible.

You’re not done yet. The base, casing, doors and windows still need finishing. These components are taken care of last. After all the various finishes are applied the other trades can be brought in to finish their work. Touch-up is at the end after all of the trades have finished and just before you move in.

) Hiring a Painting Contractor or Do It Yourself

Now you need to decide if you will paint your home or hire a painting contractor. Many aspects of house painting can be accomplished by most homeowners. A good way to save some money and get the painting done quickly is to hire a contractor for the exterior and parts of the interior while doing some of the interior house painting yourself.

You will need to decide if you have the time and the skill needed. If time is important hire a contractor for the entire project.

Karl Crowder has been a professional house painter for over 20 years and writes for ,your house painting guide. Visit for all the interior painting and exterior painting techniques needed for a successful paint job.