Pro’s guide to painting home’s exterior

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Q: In an article on restoring a Victorian, you mentioned exterior painting using three coats: a coat of primer, a second coat of one-half primer and one-half coat of finish paint, and a final coat of finish paint. Is this your suggestion for all exterior painting? A: Yes, especially on older wood homes. We also recommend the three-coat approach when painting trouble spots -- such as windowsills -- that are subject to the ravages of sun, wind and rain. Wood siding on Victorian houses in the San Francisco Bay Area is usually clear heart redwood. A century ago, when the siding was applied, building paper and insulation were unknown. As a result, the wood dried from both sides. Even if the house was painted regularly, today the siding is as dry as a bone. A paint job on this type of house has to be done right to get the longest possible life from the new paint. It's time consuming if you do it yourself or very expensive if done by a professional. From time to time we've descr...