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Preparing to Paint Outside

Outside The following is a collection of experienced ideas & recommendations for the home handyman in preparing to paint outside. Repainting all of oneís house can be a daunting task. But by following a few simple rules and working systematically, a professional result can be achieved.

Gutters, fascias and eaves should be painted first. Next, the walls are starting outside from top down and finishing off with final coats to windows, doors and detail. Itís always a good idea to save the fine detail work until last.

There is no great advantage in completing window frames and doors first as itís likely paint will be dripped and splattered on them as the gutters and walls are painted which would mean extra work. Plan the job in such a way that the ladder wonít have to be leaned against any freshly painted surface.

Ladder A Stepladder is essential equipment for any home. Itís worth paying that bit extra and buying an 5m extension ladder capable of reaching the gutters and eaves. The cost can easily be justified because the ladder is available for future maintenance work. Another option is to hire one. For a weekendís work it will probably be worth it.

Types of ladders do vary, so one which forms steps or extends is handy, plus the attachments such as stabilisers, foot rests and ladder tray, are also worth considering. A good safety feature which should be standard on all ladders is a ďladder stayĒ. This piece of equipment clips to the rungs of a ladder and holds it away from the wall. This allows the ladders to be extended to a safe height for painting guttering, without resting on it.

Brushes: for masonry brickwork and render should be of professional quality. A 100mm heavy duty, strong bristled is ideal and should cope with the wear and tear on surfaces. A smaller 50mm brush and an angled cutting in brush, are also essential for getting into corners and painting around windows and door frames. These brushes are also good for gutters, downpipes and other fiddly areas. Again, go for quality, donít be persuaded with a cheaper brush, this will only create extra work in the long run. Picking bristles out of wet paint can be frustrating and time consuming.

Rollers are ideal for applying paint to large areas. Choice of a roller depends on the type of surface to which you intend applying the paint. Brick and cement render surfaces will need a longer nap than a smooth surface. Consider using an extension handle to the roller, as these are a big advantage to people who prefer to keep their feet well and truly on the ground. There are several styles of roller trays to choose from but keep in mind that, if working on a ladder, you donít want to be climbing up and down to refill the tray with paint. Select a large tray quality design that can be clipped to the ladder at a convenient height.

Other Equipment necessary for a good finish includes a paint pot and ladder hook to hang it on, masking tape for the glass on windows, cotton drop sheets (avoid plastic), cleaning rags, glass paper, sanding block, paint scraper, exterior filler and knife to apply it.

Preparation: Previously painted surfaces should be in sound condition. One way to test them is to cut a small cross (x) through the paint with a blade and place a piece of masking tape over the cut. Hold one end of the tape and peel back the tape across the cut, if the paint pulls away with the tape the surface is unsound and the paint will have to be removed completely. All surface to be painted should be dry and free of dust, nails and screws must be fixed well below the surface and holes filled with appropriate fillers.

Old Painted Timber: All loose and flaking paint should be removed by sanding or a hot-air gun. Provide a key for future coats of paint by lightly sanding the whole surface. This is especially important if the previous coats were a gloss finish.

Walls: Painted surfaces in good condition should first be washed down with sugar soap. It removes dirt, mould and grease. Follow the directions on the container, and donít forget to wear rubber gloves.

Filling: This is the last step before painting, all holes cracks and dents need to be filled to get an even surface. Cracks and holes in masonry brick, stone fibro and cement can be filled with an exterior filler, such a Selleys Spak-filla. This type of filler is resin-reinforced which gives excellent adhesion and is resistant to weather. Choose a filler which is fast drying and one which can be sanded smooth. Slightly over-fill the hole or crack. When sanded smooth, the patch should be undercoated to ensure an even appearance for the top or finishing coat. For a sandy texture consistent with rendered surfaces, choose a cement type filler.

Gaps: Where structural movement can be expected, such as between bricks, concrete, timber, fibro or painted surfaces, use a flexible filler such as Selleys No More Gaps. This type of filler ďflexesĒ, contracting and expanding with the gap without cracking. When applying it, smooth with a spatula or slightly damp cloth. It cannot be sanded, so be sure you get a smooth surface before the skin sets, this is about 15 minutes depending on the weather conditions. Once it has skinned, it can be overpainted within two hours.

Timber: For filling holes, dents or chips, but not joints in weather boards, use a filler such as Selleys Polyfilla. This type of filler has a strong adhesion and will flex with the timber. Usually it can be sanded after about six hours and should be undercoated to ensure an even appearance for the top or finishing coat.

How Much Paint? Most paint companies provide coverage estimates on their published data sheets and on the tins of the paint. These estimates are fairly accurate but depend on variables, such as the way you paint, the absorption of the material being painted and the temperature of the surface and drying conditions.

Problems: Mould on paint in general must be removed otherwise it will simply grow through the new surface. The presence of dust and dirt on a surface provides ideal conditions for breeding of mould spores. Treat the surface with one of the proprietary mould removers. Follow the manufacturerís instructions carefully. Alternatively, you can make up your own mould remover using a solution of 1 cup household bleach (sodium hypochlorite type) and nine cups of water. Using this solution wash the surface with a soft brush or sponge. Donít forget to wear gloves. Allow the solution to remain on the surface for 10-20 minutes before rinsing off thoroughly with clean water then wipe with a clean cloth. Repeat this step if the growth is bad.

Allow to dry. Next treat the surface with a proprietary fungicidal solution, diluted according to the directions for use. Do not wash off. Apply the paint in the usual way. If it rains while you are painting, give up and wait for dry conditions. Donít try and repaint waterlogged work. Paint is applied to exterior surfaces to keep out the water, but if the rain is excessively humid or dew forms, the water is trapped between the surface of the structure and the paint.

A good rule to follow is to paint only between 10am and 3pm. The wind chill factor also needs to be considered when painting outdoors. The air temperature may be above 10 degrees but the wind chill could reduce the surface temperature significantly. Donít forget the type of surface will also affect drying times. Porous surfaces such as wood will always dry more quickly than non porous surfaces such as steel. The age of the wood and whether is has been painted before must also be considered when determining dying time. Applying the paint and mastering the basic skill of painting with a brush or roller will guarantee a better finish and with less effort.