My wife is very smart with and MBA in Business. But, I have been asking her to paint the house for 3 to 5 years now. And each time she will say something like, "You are 64 years old and I don't want you up on a ladder (because even though our house is only one story it has very high ceilings and an attic.
So, since the house now hasn't been painted during the 13 years we have owned it I likely know that it has likely not be repainted for about 13 to 15 years. Also, we decided to change the color of the house. Originally we bought the house as an investment and then as now if you are buying with this motivation it is always "location location location" and then finding a very well built well maintained house at that perfect location.
So, I finally said to her, "I'm going to at least paint the back parts of the house that you can't see from the street. She got a worried look and finally gave in when I said, "If we wait much longer it just isn't good for the tongue and groove siding." So, we found ourselves over at home depot but I listened to her and got long extention poles for painting about 15 and up to 20 feet high while standing on the ground.
I thought about renting a paint sprayer but besides watching my Dad paint his father's house in Seattle when I was about 10 or 12 years old with a sprayer I don't know much about them except I know you have to be really good to use one effectively and I know you have to usually climb a ladder and wear a breathing mask so you don't damage your lungs and wear eye protection so you don' t damage your eyes too. So, because of the ladder and what I promised my wife I decided not to spray and to roll the parts of the house that I will paint. Also, since the house is basically the shape of a Capital L with only the bottom of the L visible to the road I felt reasonable safe to try to get better as a painter on the less visible parts of the house.
However, it is important to understand that my primary motivation is to save the siding so it doesn't crack and get problematic to where it has to be changed. If you haven't noticed wood is extremely expensive lately during the last 20 or 30 years to replace even if it hasn't been specially tongue and grooved. So, my goal is to save the money it would cost to replace the siding rather than wanting to have my house painted. Because even though the paint is oxidized from being there 15 or so years it hasn't started to crack.
So, my wife and I started by hiring a guy to power wash (under pressure) our exterior house and redwood deck. (I couldn't believe that my redwood deck could look new again. So, it went from a mottled gray color to red again which was amazing). Also, the guy we got to do this also power washed our cement and brick driveway and cement walk to the front brick steps. I also couldn't believe the difference this made to the driveway, steps and sides of the house and eves. He sprayed bleach first to kill mold which gathers this close to the ocean in northern California and then sprayed the bleach with high pressure water which was great.
After letting everything dry out a couple of days my wife and I went to Home Depot to pick a color. (Mostly she picked the color) while I gathered rubber gloves, extension poles for painting up high, drop cloths, rollers and brushes and caulking (for around the windows and doors). It is better to caulk all these places before you start painting. However, in some places I caulked first and in others I had already started painting to make myself feel like I was accomplishing something the first day. Building or painting is a lot psychological. If you get too bogged down in the details you will never get started. At least, that's me. So, I just boldly start something so I feel like I'm getting somewhere and then I bring in the details and refinements after I have started sort of like an inventor, inventing a refined process for painting. For me, since I'm an idea person this works best. This worked for me because I was deep in the back yard at the top of the capital L of my house where I could sort of hide and experiment to see what worked and what didn't work for me.
The first problems I started to have were that pigment kept separating in the paint so after 24 hours of it having been mixed at the store I had to stir it a lot every few hours to get it to stay together. The next problem was that I didn't want my rollers or brushes to dry out so I found that if I stored a wet brush or roller in one of the plastic inserts for a roller paint dish in water that I could preserve the brush more easily without having to fully wash it out right then. However, likely you are going to want to change rollers at least every couple of days or sooner depending upon how much wall space you are covering with paint per day. I'm 64 so after about 4 hours of painting I have to do something else for a while so I don't start making painting mistakes I might regret. However, if I rotate between taping windows and doors, mixing paint, and moving ladders and painting stuff around and putting down drop cloths I can put about 6 to 8 hours in if I pace myself. However, I don't just paint 8 hours a day at this age (though others might that's not me). I'm not trying to compete with anyone. I'm just trying to not have to buy more wood siding for my home. The average home (Mine is pretty large) could cost in paints and supplies 200 to 500 dollars to 1000 dollars
NOTE: If you go to somewhere like Home Depot or online there are charts available as to how much the average painter uses to paint something exterior so you know about how many gallons you might need. Though you might need either more or less than that, at least you might better know if you figure out the square footage of the exterior of you house how much paint your might need to complete that task.
If you were wondering how to figure out the square footage you take the length and width of an area and multiply them together Length times width (in feet equals the square footage of an area). Then if you add all these square footages together from all around your house you will have a better Idea of how much paint you will need for your house. And most painters recommend 2 coats of paint. However, I'm toying with the idea of putting 2 coats where I can manage it and then put another coat next year if I have the time. But there is a flaw in my idea. Here are the flaws: first if I do that I might have to power wash the house again because all the spider will move into the eves and gutters and downspouts by next June and only by powerwashing can all the webs and buildup be easily cleaned. But, what if the power washing dislodges new paint I put on this year? So, as I have thought about this I realize this really isn't a great idea. However, this is all very time consuming and unless you have the time or can afford to hire someone else or have a kid you trust that wants his allowance upped (I'm not sure about this idea because of ladders and roofs) then just remember how much time It actually takes to paint a house and have it done right in all ways. It is a lot of work. end note.Note added August 15 and we are still detailing all the back yard and eves and still working on the front of the house as of today and likely won't completely finish the front until late
August or early September.
If you paint the whole thing yourself on weekends or in your spare time if you are retired if you watch carefully what you are buying. Since my home is large I figure everything but the front of my house could take me (working every other day or every third day) because I have a life outside of painting probably about a month. So, give yourself enough time to do it all without spilling paint all over everything and making a mess. If you are too tired to be working without making a mess it is time to stop.
Also, it's important to consider 2 coats of paint or more to really cover your home. If the weather is particularly foul where you live you might talk to somebody about whether you need even more coats to cover your house. Also, the amount and kind of paint will depend upon whether you are painting wood, stucco or some other kind of siding. I'm just painting wood tongue and groove so it is pretty straightforward but for other things you might need to ask someone.
If you have tongue and groove like me and you are going to roll it and brush it I found that it is important to brush the grooves where the tongue and groove meet first before you roll the whole wall.
Another thing if you wear reading glasses to read. You likely don't want to wear reading glasses when you roll unless you are wearing plastic goggles over them as paint may splatter on your lenses and be difficult to clean. This is especially true if you are painting a wall above where your head is. The roller is like a wheel of a truck throwing up rocks on the road but instead of rocks it throws a fine spray of paint in little droplets. So, the faster you make that roller go the faster those droplets can come at you, your face, glasses, eyes, mouth and hair. One way to protect your hair to to take an old T-shirt and turn it inside out and put the top over your head and let the t-shirt drape down your back. This way your hair doesn't become a paint mess. Also, wear some kind of plastic gloves on your hands because when you are mixing paints, moving cans of paint, painting or all the steps your hands will get paint on them. So, if you are wearing plastic gloves all you have to do is to wash off the gloves and keep right on going.
Also, it helps to have a hose and a section of your yard where you are going to clean up brushes, rollers, plastic trays, gloves and anything else that gets paint on it that you don't want it to be there long.
The last thing is what kind of physical shape are you in? I have to tell you that even though I lift weights over my head to keep my rotator cusps strong so I don't tear one like many older men I know and even though I walk my dogs in the forest almost every day that I'm here, my pain threshold went up the first 4 days I was painting by about 2/3. So, be ready for pain if you aren't exercising a lot every day already. However, for me, the pain cut in half on the 4th or 5th day. So, your body does start to adapt to using all these arm, back and other muscles. But it is nice to have a hot tub spa to get into to take that pain away when I want to. However, a hot shower or bath can do the same. Also, this might help you to be more fit in your upper body because of all the exercise you will get.
Just remember that ladders and axes are the two most dangerous things around any home. So, in this case ladders need to be respected. And if you are over 50 ladders and roofs REALLY need to be respected. As I was taping one of the windows on one of our bedrooms I realized I was about 9 feet high where my head was from the ground. And I also realized that spending all day on a ladder at my age is NOT a good idea. I still go up on the roof when I need to but I'm usually up there less than 5 or 10 minutes. But painting is another story so get an extension for your roller so you can paint most stuff 15 to 20 feet above your head without going up on a ladder. However, today I was wondering if I duct taped a paint brush to a long extension whether I could do the detail painting under the eves. This is still in the idea phase, however.
It is also important to assess the work you are doing as you go along to make sure both you and your family will be satisfied with what you are doing. If you or your family aren't satisfied with your painting job, just remember it's not worth getting a divorce over how you paint your house.
Another thing to consider worldwide in painting your house is what kind of weather you likely would be expecting. I know weather is an anomaly almost everywhere on earth especially this year where it has been the hottest year in history in the U.S. for the past 12 months where rivers like the Colorado River might actually dry up this year because of the drought over the Rocky mountains which is the source of the Colorado River which heads west through Colorado, Utah, Arizona and ends up as the Arizona-California border before it empties into the Gulf of California in Mexico.
Another thing to consider when you are painting is that you need to put on your glasses so to speak to look for drips and runs before they dry as you paint. Otherwise if you miss them they will dry like that and have to be sanded out. Also, you want shoes that you likely will either wash off or throw away after you finish your project. I chose an old pair of Camoflage colored Crocs that were worn in the soles so I just can throw them away when the painting job is completed later this month hopefully sometime. Also, since they are rubber sandals I can either choose to wash them off or let the paint dry and just step out of them every time I get off a drop cloth so I don't get paint spots from the bottom of my shoes on my redwood deck for example, or on the flagstones in the flagstone path around my home and back yard. So, I also try to be barefoot while painting when I come into my house so I purposefully step out of my shoes onto my deck and into my house barefoot and leave my
Crocs on the drop cloths. So, the more aware you are as you paint the better it is going to turn out both on the wall, on your deck or path and in your house on your carpets and floors.
Note: By the way duct taping a brush on the end of an extension can work if you are careful even 15 or 20 feet high. However, watch for drips because you are so far away at that distance it is easy to miss drips at that distance and once they dry they might have to be sanded to get rid of them. So, even though a brush on an extension works be sure to use masking tape over the threads on the end of the extension or the paint will clog the threads when you want to screw on the roller mechanism that takes rollers to roll with.
So, is it worth it to use an extension if you miss the drips? I think you have to make that call yourself. If you are safe on a ladder and under 50 years old and can concentrate on staying on the ladder or scaffolding while painting then maybe you should just do that. However, if you are over 50 (I'm 64) you might want to think twice about whether you can do two things at once (stay on the ladder without falling off while you paint for hours) or not. I find it easy to go up on a roof and walk around for about 10 minutes being very concentrated and okay. But when I try to paint for hours I find I get distracted sometimes while painting and forget to remember I'm on a ladder. It only takes one lapse and you will fall. Remember, it only takes one second of a lapse of concentration to fall off a ladder and ruin your whole day or even your life. So, think very carefully about this.
Also, at home Depot they will mix about 5 gallons at once for you, (if there is no one else having paint mixed right then. They have a computer that automatically adds color and stuff according to numbers will you wait and then they put it in a shaker to mix it for you.
In northern California exterior paint that is satin is about $38 to $40 dollars a gallon. I put the first 5 gallons on about 1/3 of my house with 1/2 of that 1 coat and the other half 2 coats. So, far I have have bought 10 gallons total.
My home is about 2500 square feet of floorspace internally. Even though this has no real meaning in regard to painting the outside of a structure that could be 1 story, 2 story and literally any height from about 9 feet to 20 feet or more, basically what I'm saying is that I have about a 2500 square foot floor space of house and this is the amount of paint I'm using so far on a single story house with a very high ceiling and an attic over much of the house. Also, your particular style of painting might use more or less paint that I'm using to cover the same space as well. However, usually it is recommended that there be at least 2 coats of good paint on a house to protect the house for 5 to 10 years or more. And since my primary goal is to not have to replace my tongue and groove siding, hopefully ever and since I also have a cement tile (forever roof) it is a relatively low maintanence house in this respect. However, something to consider is that you cannot put a cement tile roof on your home unless it was built to carry the extra weight when it was originally designed.
Here are some more articles I wrote as I progress (August 15th 2012)
Letting someone more professional than me paint th...
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