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5 Tips for Painting Your House

A fresh coat of paint on your home's exterior is the fastest and most cost effective way to improve your curb value. But if you plan to tackle the task yourself, there are some tips that can make it easier. Read the following insights for smarter painting.

Choose the right paint. Aside from picking a color you like, choosing the right type of paint is key. The two main types of exterior paint are water-based latex paint, and oil-based alkyd. Beginners might want to choose latex, as it remains fluid longer so it won't crack, it cleans with soap and water, and it dries quickly. If you choose an alkyd paint, which is great because it goes on smoother and shows fewer brush strokes, you will need a paint thinner for cleanup. Also, if you're painting a latex paint over existing alkyd paint, you're going to need a primer to make sure the paint goes on properly.

Prep the exterior. Before you can paint, the face of your home needs to be paint-ready. This means cleaning it of all dirt, which is best done with a power washer. After the home is clean, sand off any spots where paint is flaking, fill any small surface holes or cracks with caulk, and prime any areas showing bare wood.

From the top down. Painting from the top down means you won't accidentally drip or smear your previously painted portions. Start near the siding and paint out.

Paint in the shade. If you can, plan your painting process when the sun is on the other side of the house. A shady spot to paint will not only be more comfortable for you--it will lessen the chance of the sun drying your fresh paint prematurely, which can lead to cracking and flaking. When the sun moves again, paint the other portion of the house.

Never paint alone. Always enlist the help of a buddy when painting. This will ensure safety as you climb on ladders and scaffolding, and it will also give you an extra set of eyes so you don't miss a spot.

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