Fall is the time when most of us begin to roost; to settle in for winter and prepare for the holidays on the horizon. You might already have a fall maintenance or home improvement schedule, and that’s smart. If you're undecided about your next project, exterior paint is worth considering.In addition to enhancing your home's curb appeal, you'll protect the wood from water damage and seal the gaps that allow indoor air to move outdoors. (Read: Home Maintenance Strategies: Which One is Right for You?)
There are a few windows of time throughout the year where painting outdoors is ideal, and early fall is one of them. Aside from working in good conditions, painting your home in the fall helps you set the scene for holiday decorating and entertaining with a fresh face on your most important investment — your home.
Exterior Paint is a Perfect Project for the Fall
One of the biggest benefits of painting your home in the fall is that summer’s heat is waning and humidity is, too. Those two factors can make your hard work look better and make you more comfortable while wielding that paintbrush or roller.
While heat might seem to be paint’s friend, the reality is the opposite. When it’s too hot, paint dries too fast. It can cake, peel, and even bubble up as it dries if the siding is hot from the glaring summer sun.
For best results, plan your exterior paint projects when temperatures are more likely to stay above 50 degrees. In some parts of the country, this means starting the job in the very early fall. Temperatures of 40 degrees and lower are not recommended for painting, as the paint might not bond with the siding, and it will take much longer to dry and also to cure.
Cooler Temperatures Reduce Pests While Working
The last thing anyone wants while standing on a ladder is contending with pests like wasps. When you paint in the fall, wasps and other such insects are less active, and easier to avoid. This is also a good time to rid your home of wasp and hornet nests. If you can spray the nests while standing on the ground, that’s best.
Once you’re sure the wasps are gone for good, then you can knock the nests down with a broom. Or you can use a garden hose with a power stream attachment to force them off the soffits, windows and anywhere else they’re attached.
If you spray the nests with insecticide, you’ll want to think about cleaning that area before painting. Residue might be oily, and interfere with the paint’s adhesion.
Good Prep, Paint & Tools Make Your Exterior Paint Job Look Better
There are techniques that can make the exterior paint job a lot easier. You'll be much happier with the results of your painting, when you focus on preparing the surfaces before starting to paint.
If paint is peeling, you’ll need to scrape or use a pressure washer to remove the loose flakes. Painting over loose paint just means all your hard work will likely peel off before spring arrives. Before you open the first paint can, check the siding and areas around all windows and doors for seams that need to be caulked. This will help seal air gaps, and also give your paint job a cleaner look.
Here are a few tips you can use if you're doing your own exterior paint. And if you're not comfortable working off a ladder, it might be time to hire a professional painter or handyman.
- If you're covering darker paint with lighter, start with a coat of primer tinted to match the final paint color.
- To ensure a consistent color, you want to blend the paint. Pour all the paint you're going to use into a single, large plastic storage tub. Use a paint mixing tool attached to a power drill, to blend it. (Read: Boxing Paint).
- Start painting with a brush along seams and edges first, called cutting in. A small container of paint dipped from the storage tub works well. Feather out the edges using the brush tip, to avoid leaving obvious demarcation lines that might show through the rolled paint.
- Now you're ready to work with a roller. A paint roller screen will help distribute paint evenly through the roller fibers, and also help minimize drips.
- Wait about 24 hours between coats. Unlike in hot weather, fall’s cooler temperatures mean paint will need a little more drying time.
Fall is an ideal time for home improvement and maintenance. (Read: Top 9 Exterior Home Maintenance Projects) The weather is starting to cool off, and unlike spring, the humidity is often relatively low. Just be sure to take nighttime temperatures into account, as well. When the forecast calls for 50 degrees or higher in the daytime, and no lower than 36 degrees at night, you’re good to go.
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