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.
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For a more skilled do-it-yourselfer, either flat or satin paint is suitable. If you are hiring a professional painter, choose the paint finish based only on results, not ease of application. Professional painters are proficient at applying all types of paints and paint finishes. If they make an error, they are accountable and can be expected to fix the issue.
To the touch, they still have the chalky feel of flat finishes, but with a slight waxy smoothness. The same paint color will appear slightly richer in a satin sheen than it does in a flat sheen. Satin/eggshell finishes can be wiped down or even hosed with water. Because of the hint of shine, satin paints have a somewhat more luxurious appearance than flat paints.
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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.
Caulk and seal any windows or openings to prevent air and water from leaking in. This may be the most important part of the prepping process. It's important to have a well-maintained, beautified, non-rotting wood house, but it's just as important to make sure that the windows, cracks and openings aren't leaking air or letting in water, which can ruin the interior of your house. Depending on the severity of the deterioration, you can even resort to using a heavy duty, professional grade, industrial caulking.
Satin paints require a bit more care during application in order to avoid lap marks. As with interior painting, it is important to keep a wet edge during application. It is important that satin paints be thoroughly mixed before application to keep the resins and pigments in uniform ratio throughout the can. Satin paints should be mixed just before every painting session.
Start with an exterior house wash. It is important that you spend some time washing the dirt and grime off the exterior of your house before you start painting. If the exterior surface of your house is free of paint-repelling soil, the primer and paint will adhere better, making the paint last longer. Most of the time, a simple wash with a hose, a pump sprayer and a scrub brush is sufficient, but if you decide that you would prefer a professional to help you, a power washer in the hands of a professional can provide a superior clean.