You will have a choice of four basic paint sheen groupings: flat or matte, satin/eggshell, semi-gloss, and gloss. Your home's exterior is subjected to major stresses that include rain, snow, UV rays, and physical wear. All of that is compounded by the sheer difficulty, cost, and extended timeline for painting a home's exterior, making the question of the perfect exterior paint finish a critical one.
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As the dance proceeds, keep an eye on the weather. Rain can wash freshly applied latex right off the wall, and a temperature dip below 50 degrees F two days after application can interfere with adhesion and curing and dull the sheen of glossy paints. (Latexes like Sherwin-Williams's Duration and Benjamin Moore's MoorGard Low Lustre are formulated to tolerate temps as low as 35 and 40 degrees, respectively.)
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Glossy finish paints also may be a logical choice where an exterior will need to be washed frequently, such as in a climate where wind-blown dust is a problem, or in a home where active kids may soil the siding. But the reflective shininess will also spotlight every bump and imperfection, so for most people, they are not a good choice for large areas of the siding.
A thorough scrubbing is a must before painting any exterior surface. It removes the dirt and broken-down paint residues that keep fresh coats from adhering and gets rid of mildew that grows on paint in all but the most arid climates. Most contractors clean with pressure washers, but in the hands of someone unfamiliar with the equipment, these can gouge wood, shatter glass, and drive water behind siding and trim. Using a hose, a pump sprayer, and a scrub brush is slower but safer, and just as effective.
#2 Many time, homeowners complain about the paint quality as they often see stains come through the new paint and show up on the wall again. Again, it is important to prep the surface, ust the proper primer. If you have tough stains on the exterior walls prior to painting, then make sure you use a quality stain block to prevent the stain from bleeding through.