The arrival of warmer weather means outdoor chores move to the top of the to-do list. And spring, with its lower humidity and light breezes, is the ideal time to get out the paintbrush.
You can paint your house’s exterior at any time of the year but Stacey Bates from Resene says the perfect conditions are 15 – 20 degree temperatures with 70 - 80% humidity. Extremely hot weather or direct sunlight can evaporate the water in the paint too quickly, making it difficult to work with. Colder weather, rain or rapid humidity changes mean your paint might not dry. “A good tip is if your washing on the line isn’t drying, neither will the paint,” she says.
On average a house will need to be repainted every ten years but this will depend on the condition of the surface and how good the existing paint job is. "A quality three-coat waterborne paint system can be expected to perform on new timber weatherboards or concrete for 10 - 12 years, but if the surface is in weathered or poor condition you may be looking at 6 - 8 years," Bates says. "Make sure that you clean your home’s exterior each year as this extends the life of your paint finish."
You’ll also need to assemble your tool kit. Bates recommends having the following:
- A selection of good quality brushes (flat for weatherboards and angled for cutting in or window frames)
- Roller sleeves, trays and extension poles
- Paint pots for decanting paint in more manageable quantities.
- You may also need filler and filling knives for any cracks and holes, sandpaper and sanding blocks, a caulking gun, tac rags, masking tape and film, gloves, dust masks, drop cloths, a window scraper and stirring sticks.
Preparing the surface is the most important part of the process – the more thorough you are, the better the finish will be. "For repaints it is very important to use Resene Moss & Mould Killer and Resene Paint Prep and Housewash as there will be mildew, dirt and contaminants on the surface that will prevent the paint from adhering properly," Bates says. "Then sand any flaking areas using 120-150 grit sandpaper and dust well, then spot prime with a good quality primer undercoat like Resene Quick Dry. Fill any holes and gaps, lightly sand filled areas and re-prime. Older weatherboards require more work if there is flaking, perished or unstable paint to be removed."
Brick surfaces need a coat of Resene Concrete Primer before paint is applied. "Older bricks erode and are more likely to have mould, efflorescence and accumulated windblown salts on the surface so will need to be treated and washed," she says. "Check for cracks and make repairs then apply a seal coat of Resene Sureseal which will penetrate into the brick to bind and strengthen it."
Window and door frames should be washed and then de-chalked with a 3M Scotch-Brite pad. "Scrape and sand any flaked or unsound paint," Bates says. "If necessary replace window glazing putty and fill nail holes and cracks. PVC masking tape or washi masking tape will give you crisp clean lines to cut into the glass. Prime or spot prime with either Resene Quick Dry primer or Resene Wood Primer."
Opting for a premium quality exterior paint will ensure performance and longevity. Bates recommends Resene Hi-Glo, Resene Sonyx 101 or Resene Lumbersider which are durable, UV resistant, flexible, easy to apply, clean and maintain. "They are also designed and made in New Zealand for our unique weather conditions," she says. "For cementitious surfaces you could also use specialist products like Resene X-200 which is a weathertight membrane or Resene AquaShield which gives a flat contemporary mineral paint look for art deco or heritage homes."
When it comes to colour, neutrals are still the crowd favourites. Bates says greener greys like Resene Half Tana or Resene Foggy Grey contrasted with crisp white is a popular combination, as are lighter, almost white tones or darker charcoals and blacks.
"We’ve also been seeing more and more pops of colour being introduced to exteriors in front doors and single panels, adding refreshing colour and energy among oceans of neutral weatherboards."
If you’re opting for a dark coloured paint or stain, consider using a Resene CoolColour which reflects more of the sun’s heat than a standard version of the same colour. This will help to keep your paint and cladding cooler in the hot summer sun.
And if the weather is especially hot when you’re painting try to paint out of the sun on the cooler side of the house. If your paint is drying too fast in the heat, add Resene Hot Weather Additive to give you more time to paint.
If your property isn’t due for a total repaint there are other ways to keep it looking sharp. Resene’s Krystal Ford suggests repainting the letterbox, restaining timber garden edgings or freshening up the front door with Resene Enamacryl in an inviting new colour.
Sprucing up decks and fences is another task that will return dividends on time spent. Resene Woodsman stains are a popular choice as they enhance the natural timber grain, while paint will give a more solid finish. Ford says you should aim to restain every couple of summers, while paint will last longer. "Once you’ve cleaned the surface with Resene Moss & Mould Killer and Resene Timber and Deck Wash, paint on a coat of Resene Wood Primer then two coats of Resene Lumbersider in your choice of colour. If staining, prep then apply Resene Woodsman Decking Stain. In three months’ time, apply another coat for extra protection."
Painting old concrete paths is another way to beautify your outdoor area. "After cleaning, old concrete will require a coat of Resene Sureseal and then two topcoats of Resene Walk-On paving paint," Ford says. Add Resene SRG grit for a non-slip surface.
Hiring a professional
If you don’t want to tackle the painting yourself, Bates advises doing plenty of research before hiring a professional. "Choosing a painter for a big job is a little like dating, so before you meet, draw up your list of 'must haves'," she says. Get at least three detailed quotes so you can compare pricing accurately. "You generally get what you pay for. Negotiating a lower price may be a false economy if the painter has to cut corners to get the job done quickly."
It’s common to pay an initial deposit then instalments as the work progresses, but don’t pay for the entire job in advance. "If your painter tries to use cheaper colour 'matches', put your foot down and don’t compromise your standards."
This article was created for Resene