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House Painting Tips

I recently painted my home and found several products helpful as well as absolutely indispensible to performing a professional looking paint job on my homes cedar shingle siding.

My House Paintng

I decided to paint my house myself because the cost of having a professional do it is ridiculous and to replace or just cover the siding with aluminum or plastic siding is also too expensive. After completing the front and sides I am actually happy I painted it instead of siding over the cedar shingles that my house is covered with because it looks fantastic.

When looking into painting my home I had a lot of decisions as well as a lot of preparation work to get done before I picked up a paint brush. I looked at my two story home and did research not only in preparation and which paint to use but how I was actually going to get to all the areas that needed paint without killing myself.

I have a two story home and needed to get to the peak which is about 22 feet of actual siding and 24 feet from the ground but I also have a front porch to deal with. I had to be able to reach that 24 foot height with an extension ladder safely so a safety harness and some way to secure a ladder on a porch roof was necessary.

I decided to buy a safety harness and a D ring from a local hardware store called Northern Tool along with a 20 foot 17,000 pound capacity tow rope as my main safety equipment. I used the D ring to attach the harness to the tow rope that was attached to a 3 stack of 2 by 4’s that were in turn screwed to the inside of my attic.

Painting the Second Story

My house has a front porch and to get to the front second story siding I needed to place the bottom of my extension ladder on the roof of my porch. This meant not only standing the ladder up on the roof and securing the base to the roof with 2 x 4’s anchored to the roof and a strap tied to the ladders bottom rung but some way to secure the top to the building.

I used one end of the tow rope and tied off the ladder so it would not be able to come away from the building and then the other end of the tow rope was secured to my harness so I would not fall. I could fall off the ladder but I would not have gone more than a couple of feet because of the tow rope secured to my harness.

I could have bought a six foot fall prevention lanyard but it would not have been able to secure the ladder to my building as well as the harness I was wearing. I can also use the tow rope later on when I finish my painting and for other jobs in the future which makes more sense than buying a lanyard.

I always look to the future when buying things and wanted to make the most out of the required equipment for this job and for the future on other work. I also needed some way to level my ladder to the sides of my porch roof as well as those odd spots on my driveway that are not quite as level as some other areas so I looked into ladder levelers and found Levelok.

Repair Work While Painting

They sent me two ladder leveler sets which worked out extremely well, for my review on Levelok Ladder Levelers just click on the highlighted title. The levelers allowed me to set my extension ladder and a multipurpose ladder on the roof with one leg longer than the other so the ladder was level on the uneven parts of my roof and ground.

The paint for the main part of my house is Sherwin Williams Duration satin finish while the trim work was Benjamin Moore Aura flat finish. I used Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 water based primer tinted with 2 ounces of black per gallon on the whole house before painting and used about 10 gallons for a 750 square foot side of my home.

When figuring how much paint you’re going to use measure the walls of your home to get the square area, if you can’t figure height simply measure the siding slats in inches and count how many are on the side of the wall. I have shingles with eight inches showing and just counted how many shingles are going up the side of my house to measure the height of my walls.

You also need to measure and subtract the windows and doors in your calculations but the amount of paint you use will also vary according to how much the siding soaks up the paint. Rough siding like shingles will take up more paint in the nooks and crannies than wood siding that is horizontal on your house.

Finishing Trim Work

The Zinsser Primer instructions say it covers about 350 square feet but my siding was in desperate need of a good coat of primer along with the top coat of paint. The cedar shingles were previously painted but much of the paint was peeling off so the primer soaked in a lot and it took a lot to get the whole house primed.

I used about four gallons of Duration to paint on the same 750 square feet of siding to give an idea of coverage in a real world example and was very impressed with the paint and its qualities. The Duration paint went on easily and I was painting in October with temperatures down to 35 degrees so the coverage and temperature range is excellent.

The Duration paint went on easily and looks like a plastic coating over the siding after all is said and done so the house looks great when you look at it closely. I chose the Duration paint for several reasons; its quality as mentioned by many painters and a couple of websites along with the sale that lowered the overall cost.

When I was deciding what to use for the main paint I learned a sale was upcoming and Sherwin Williams also has annual sales every spring and fall so I got the paint at 40% off. I purchased ten gallons of Duration which cost me $380; I also had a $10 off coupon for the paint which you can find online as well.

Choosing the Color

The cost of the Duration without the sale or any coupons is about $58 a gallon which is quite pricy for house paint but when the quality of a good exterior paint is needed this is the way to go. I looked into not only the warranty but in getting cheaper paint and found from both do it yourself sites and Consumer Reports that Duration is the best and most recommended.

I also did not follow the recommendations by Sherwin Williams in applying the paint but cost was a big factor in this job, they say to use the Duration as both a primer and the top coat of paint. Duration Satin costs about $58 per gallon while Zinsser primer costs about $10 to $15 per gallon depending on sales like the one at Menards that I used.

There was no hesitating in my choice at painting my house with a less expensive primer like the Zinsser Bulls Eye instead of the more expensive Duration paint. I purchased about 25 gallons of primer for the three walls of my house and will be needing a few more gallons this spring when I finish the last wall.

I did not get to finish the back of my house because winter and cold weather was quickly coming and the temperature was getting below 30 degrees at night so I will finish that up in the spring. I did have a lot of work but it actually went quickly with me doing a lot of scrapping and repairing the siding before I actually got to the painting.

I set up my ladder on the part I was working on and went up to start scraping at the top and worked my way downward, I scrapped peeling paint and got everything that was loose off the siding. I scrapped the underside of the rows of siding to get the previous drips off and used the edge of a scrapper to get between the shingles to get peeling paint out.

I then went and repaired any shingles that were falling off by both gluing with paintable caulk and nailing them up; I actually started out with non-paintable caulk though. I bought the wrong caulk and used several tubes of non-paintable caulk around the front windows and for fixing the shingles but it worked out just fine with the good quality paint I used for both the trim and the main top coat.

I did not caulk the main windows and over all the areas like where the siding meets the roof before priming the whole side of the house. Priming does work well for both wood and caulk so after repairing the shingles that were coming off or gone totally I caulked and then primed the siding and other parts.

I caulked around all windows and any odd seams and joints, especially along the roof line of the porch where it meets the wall and along all the overhang boards or eaves. I used a lot of caulk, three boxes of twelve tubes each for around windows to seal up my home for help in weatherization.

I painted the primer coat then the top coat of Duration paint and then after that dried I painted the trim work with the Benjamin Moore Flat Aura trim paint. I did not have to use two coats of any of the paints other than a few spots here and there and the section where I removed a door.

The top coat as well as the primer and trim work all covered well and only required one coat of paint so this wound up being the best at both cost and quality in my opinion. Using the Duration for a primer would have just been too expensive and using a good quality primer and doing a good job before going to the top coat and trim work ensured good coverage and a good final job.

While I am not quite done with the house painting I am done with the main part and only have one wall to finish this spring, the job took about four weeks from actually starting work to where I was finished for the year. I did not work eight hours a day but I usually worked for four to six hours depending on weather and convenient stopping points.

I spent at least $1000 for the work already done and will be spending more but that is not all just paint and caulk; I bought brushes, a paint bucket, the harness and D ring, tow rope along with two short axle straps and some quick links with screw on closures. I purchased the Duration paint, Zinsser primer, caulk and a box of replacement shingles for repair and a door I removed and replaced with the new shingles.

The job went well and looks great as well as a very satisfying job for this home owner, I have had several people comment on how good it looks. Some of these comments are not even people I know, just people passing by saying it looks great and they just had to stop and comment on it.

I also had one guy ask if he could help and get paid for his efforts but this was not only a one man job because of the reviews, I also did not want to risk other problems. I did not want to pay someone else for work I could easily do but insurance could be an issue if he got hurt which I did not want to deal with.

I had no problems working by myself for the most of the job and did get help positioning ladders and other quick tasks from my sons from time to time. Painting the house and actually working from one small section to the next worked out well even on the higher parts of the house near the peak and eaves.

Although I did have a few moments of “Why am I doing this?” the job went well and I quickly transformed my house from white with splotches of grey and weathered looking cedar to pristine Olive Grove green with Sierra Mist Trim. The Sherwin Williams Duration and Benjamin Moore Aura paints both worked extremely well and are my highest recommended paints for exterior painting.

If you need to tackle a job as big as painting your house you might as well spend the time and effort to do a good job, this also means getting the best paint you can afford. Both paints can be purchased on sale and are well worth the extra cost that a better paint comes at and is well worth the extra money.

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