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.[1]
Painters often tint primer close to the color of the top coat, but Wallis thinks that's a recipe for "holidays," or missed spots. Instead, he tints his primer a contrasting color. "If I can see the color coming through, I know I need to apply more paint," he says. On the cottage shown in this story, he chose a gray-blue primer to go under a peach top coat.
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.
Deciding which paint to use has gotten much easier now that acrylic latexes have pushed oil-based paints almost to extinction. The acrylics offer superior performance (they don't harden with age, the way oils do, so they move and breathe without blistering), they don't mildew as readily, and they emit fewer VOCs, so they comply with new air-quality regulations. They also work over both oil- and water-based primers.
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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.
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.
Some service pros are employees, franchisees, dealers or independent contractors ("Corporate SP's") of larger national or "Corporate Accounts". When this is the case, you may be matched with the Corporate Account or with one of their Corporate service professionals. The above screening process is not applicable to Corporate Accounts, as HomeAdvisor does not screen Corporate Accounts or Corporate service professionals.

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.
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