O'Neil patches shallow holes and divots with Ready Patch because it dries fast, sands smooth, and stays flexible. Deep cracks and rotten spots are best repaired with two-step epoxies, such as those made by Advanced Repair Technology. (For a step-by-step instructions, see Repairing Rot with Epoxy.) The days of using polyester auto-body fillers on wood are over. "They cure too hard," says Portland, Oregon–based painting contractor Kathleen George. "They look good at first, but then they peel away."
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Walls should be wet down before getting scrubbed, then washed with a gallon of water mixed with 1 cup chlorine bleach and 1 cup of either a concentrated, phosphate-free cleaner, such as a trisodium phosphate (TSP) substitute, or Jomax House Cleaner. Working in sections, from the bottom to the top, will avoid streaks. Be sure to rinse walls well before the solution dries. Wood siding and trim should be ready to paint after a day or two of dry weather.

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.


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."
If you choose to paint your home yourself, you can save on the cost of labor. But if you don’t have the time or experience to tackle to job, it’s worth paying the going rate for painters in your area. If your home requires power washing prior to painting, and if it requires caulking for windows and doors, the cost will also rise. Whether paint is applied with a sprayer, brushed, or rolled on will also factor into the price. A painting pro can easily offer an estimate prior to undertaking an exterior painting job.

Painters often tint primer close to the color of the top coat, but Wallis thinks that's a recipe for "holidays," or missed spots. Instead, he tints his primer a contrasting color. "If I can see the color coming through, I know I need to apply more paint," he says. On the cottage shown in this story, he chose a gray-blue primer to go under a peach top coat.


In addition to working on our house, Rome has now done jobs for my in-laws, brother, cousin and even a family friend (so its fair to say that I've seen a variety of his work in person) and all of us have been more than pleased with the finished products! If you're browsing for someone to "get the job done", end your search NOW and give Rome a call, you won't regret it!
In addition to working on our house, Rome has now done jobs for my in-laws, brother, cousin and even a family friend (so its fair to say that I've seen a variety of his work in person) and all of us have been more than pleased with the finished products! If you're browsing for someone to "get the job done", end your search NOW and give Rome a call, you won't regret it!
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If less than half the old paint is left, however, it may be worth stripping it all off. Guertin gets rid of stubborn remnants using shrouded grinders (like the PaintShaver), infrared paint strippers (such as the Speedheater), or chemical strippers (like Multi-Strip), then smooths the wood with a course or two of sanding. When siding (or bank accounts) can't take the shock of a total strip job, Rich O'Neil, of Masterwork Painting in Bedford, Massachusetts, has successfully hidden rough, well-adhered paint under Peel Bond, a thick primer.

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