Deciding which paint to use has gotten much easier now that acrylic latexes have pushed oil-based paints almost to extinction. The acrylics offer superior performance (they don't harden with age, the way oils do, so they move and breathe without blistering), they don't mildew as readily, and they emit fewer VOCs, so they comply with new air-quality regulations. They also work over both oil- and water-based primers.


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.
If you’re considering adding fresh paint to the exterior of your home or garage, don’t worry about vinyl siding: it can be painted! Be sure to start with clean, dry siding (this may require pressure washing and good weather). Or, you can wash the siding with soap and water instead. But the main thing is to start with a clean, dry surface so the paint won’t peel. Be sure to select a color for the paint that’s not darker than the existing vinyl color: a darker shade will allow the siding to heat up more than it was designed to withstand.
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