Picture of a ladder and brush on a ladder in front an external wall

How to paint your home's exterior

Posted on 19/07/2018

Painting the exterior of your home is not something you’ll have to do often, but when that day eventually arrives, and it will, it can seem like a pretty daunting obstacle. Whether you’ve noticed that the paint of your home is chipping away, you fancy a change in aesthetic, or you just want to touch up what’s already there, follow these steps to ensure a job well done.

  1. Safety first

    As with any renovation, no matter the size, safety should always be number one on your list of priorities and painting a house is no different. Unless you live in a very small house, you’re probably going to need a ladder, so make sure you get a sturdy one that you know how to operate properly.

    When painting from atop a ladder it’s important to remember three things: have the ladder positioned one quarter of its total height away from the wall, make sure someone is holding the ladder in place while you climb and paint, and once you’re up the ladder, never reach out more than an arm’s length away. If you need to reach further, climb down the ladder and repeat steps one and two in a closer location.

  2. Picture of a man on a ladder painting an external wall Never reach further than an arm's length away
  3. Equipment

    Now that you’re acquainted with the basics of safety when it comes to painting the exterior of your home, we can take a look at what you’ll actually need, besides a ladder. Paint is obviously one of the most important pieces of kit so make sure you get the right kind, and the right colour. For the exterior of the house, Local Heroes recommends using masonry paint as this is the best suited for the outside of the home and is designed to withstand weathering.

    If you’re looking to get the most out of your paint then we would also recommend purchasing a good quality masonry brush to get into those hard to reach areas, as well as a roller brush with a sturdy handle for large areas, as this will allow you to paint at a much faster rate. Additionally, a paint kettle which can be hung from the ladder can certainly help to speed up the process.

  4. Preparation

    Once you have everything you need, there are a few factors to consider before you actually start painting. For one, make sure you have a few days of good weather to complete the job with some time left over for the paint to dry. Trying to predict the weather in Britain can be a task in itself, but the last thing you want is for the rain to smudge, or wash away completely, all of your hard work.

    Close up picture of brick wall with old paint Use a stiff wire brush to clean old paint and dirt from the front and between the bricks

    Secondly, you’ll want to make sure that none of the old paint is going to interfere with the new, to this end we recommend using a stiff wire brush to remove any old flaking paint or dirt. You won’t need to completely strip the wall and you’ll find that anything that could be a problem will come off with relative ease. It’s also important to look out for any cracks that the paint might get lost in that you may need to patch up with a little mortar.

    Also remember to line any drainpipes, wires, or window ledges with newspaper or masking tape so that in the event that you colour outside the lines you can easily remove these guards and mitigate any potential overspill. Once you’re sure, or at least confident, that you have a few days of pleasant weather, and you’ve removed any excess debris, it’s time to start painting.

  5. Painting

    The actual painting process itself is relatively painless, though it can seem a little daunting and it may feel as though you’re not making any progress at all. A good trick is to split the surface area you’re painting into different sections to tackle in order, use features such as windows or doors to mark the boundaries of each section and approach them one at a time and in a logical order; maybe start with the lower walls before moving onto those that you’ll need a ladder to reach.

    Split the surface area into different sections and use large strokes to apply the paint

    In terms of painting techniques, use large strokes to apply paint to a fresh area and work your way towards an area that you’ve already painted. Again, this will help you break the job down into smaller tasks, giving you a good sense of progression, and ensuring you don’t miss any areas. It’s also important to ensure that you run the brush both ways across the paint so as not to miss out any angles that the previous brushing motion may have failed to reach.

  6. Clean up and relax

    Once you’ve finished painting your home, it’s time to clean up while letting the paint do its work. Make sure to clean any brushes or trays before putting them away and remember it’s always useful to have some turps or similar white spirit on hand to clean any errant paint flecks. If you do find yourself with leftover paint, make sure that you either store it properly in a dry place, or dispose of it properly – do not pour it down the drain.

    Do not pour paint down the drain! Store it properly in a dry place or dispose of it in an environmentally friendly way

    Once the clean-up is completed you can go inside and put the kettle on or, if you’re so inclined, you can sit in the garden and literally watch the paint dry.

Picture of colourful homes in the UK The finished product. Beautiful.

If you follow these steps then you should find that painting the exterior of your home isn’t too taxing a job and you’ll be one step closer to completing your dream home. Additionally, if you still feel that this kind of job is outside of your remit as a DIY hobbyist, then check out Local Heroes to find a trusted local tradesperson in your area.

Once you've finished with the outside and want to move inside, you'll need to figure out whether paint or wallpaper is the best option.