It’s a lot of tedious and time-consuming work, and it’s usually wise to hire an experienced painter to tackle the job for you, especially for bigger jobs or jobs that require a ladder. A painting pro can provide an estimate by the square foot of your house’s interior or exterior, the level of difficulty posed by the house’s configuration, and the going rate for labor in your area. Start by researching the pros and cons of various types of paint. Then, if you’re using pro, get three estimates to make sure you’re getting the best deal. Painting a house is not inexpensive, but the right work pays off in protecting your home and keeping it looking fabulous for years to come.
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As the dance proceeds, keep an eye on the weather. Rain can wash freshly applied latex right off the wall, and a temperature dip below 50 degrees F two days after application can interfere with adhesion and curing and dull the sheen of glossy paints. (Latexes like Sherwin-Williams's Duration and Benjamin Moore's MoorGard Low Lustre are formulated to tolerate temps as low as 35 and 40 degrees, respectively.)
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When the primer is dry, caulk all small joints (less than ¼-inch-wide) in the siding and trim. Most pros use siliconized acrylics—paint won't stick to straight silicones—but Guertin and O'Neil like the new, more expensive urethane acrylics for their greater flexibility and longevity. O'Neil stresses that it's shortsighted to skimp on caulk. "If the joint fails, you're back to square one." Guertin uses the lifetime rating as his quality guide. "I don't expect 35-year caulk will last 35 years, but it should last longer than a 15-year caulk."