Painting the outside of a home can be a big complicated job so while any do it yourselfer can do it themselves, you might not want to.
If you are short on time and have a lot on your plate you may want to save yourself the stress and hire a professional painter.
If you have plenty of time on the other hand, or you just have a small job and are confident in your ability to choose the right paint for the right surfaces, doing it yourself can certainly be very satisfying. To help you along, below is the lowdown on exterior paint chemical make-ups and what kinds of surfaces each one is made for.
Should I Paint or Stain?
Depending on the surface you are painting you might not want to paint it at all. Instead, surfaces that are wood and ones that you walk on, ie. decks, you are often better to use a completely different type of coating: a stain.
A stain, without going into the chemical make up, allows the surface underneath it to breathe. This is critical for surfaces like wood that naturally absorb moisture as the stain will allow that moisture to escape. This means that the wood won’t rot, at least not because of trapped natural moisture in the air.
Stains penetrate the surface whereas paints create a completely new surface on top of whatever you are painting, giving the potential for future paint chipping.
Bottom line: If you step on it, stain it. If it’s wood; also stain it.
Stains come in semi-transparent, semi-solid and solid (opaque).
The semi-transparent and semi-solid will allow the natural texture of wood to remain visible while the opaque variety looks more like paint in that it completely masks the underlying look at the wood.
The picture to the right is a good example of an opaque stained deck.
Oil based paints offer better adhesion which means they are better for metals, ie pipes, drains etc. They have a longer drying time but are also better at stain-blocking so are good for “bleeding woods” such as cedar and redwood.
Bottom line: Use oil paints for metals and bleeding woods.
Water based paints are recommended for most exterior uses. Floor, siding, masonry and roof paint are all best with a acrylic-latex water based paint because it dries quickly, is durable and resistant to sunlight degradation.
Acrylic-latex paints are the best because they can expand and contract with materials, making them good for sidings. They also dry fast, and hold up to weather.
Bottom line: Water based paints for siding, floors, masonry and roofs.
So if you are ready to tackle an exterior painting job, I hope this information helps you choose the best paint or stain for your project. Happy painting!
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