A sure-fire way to make your home look better, prolong the life of your siding and add resale value all at once is to give the exterior a fresh coat of paint. But with a contractor paint job running in the thousands of dollars, you may be considering undertaking the task on your own this summer. If so, here are some tips and a couple of new tools from Wagner that will help you get the job done quickly with professional results.
Proper preparation of the siding is absolutely essential to a good-quality, long-lasting paint job. Loose and peeling paint must be removed first and the edges of the remaining paint feathered down to create a smooth surface for the next coat. Painting over old paint that is not well-adhered is pretty much a guarantee that the new paint job will fail. There is no way around this less-than-enjoyable task, so just resign yourself to it.
But while you can’t avoid it, you can make it a little easier by using the proper tools. One new tool you might want to consider is Wagner’s PaintEater ($74.99). The PaintEater is a hand-held electric tool that is somewhat similar to a disc sander, but instead of using sandpaper, it uses a 3M disc made from spun fiber. The fiber disc is aggressive in removing paint, but its unique design prevents the old paint from clogging up the sanding surface, so you get a lot more work done without constantly replacing the paper.
The PaintEater removes loose paint quickly, and will also feather down the edges of the remaining paint for a better, smoother surface. It can be used on wood, masonry and cement, but be aware that the rotary motion and aggressive paint-removal disc make it unsuitable for siding shingles or textured siding.
In addition to a tool such as the PaintEater, you’ll also need a hand scraper and a sander to take care of the corners and the hard to reach areas. With any of these tools, be sure to wear eye protection to shield your eyes from flying paint chips — which can be surprisingly sharp and dangerous — as well as a dust mask or respirator to protect you against inhaling the dust.
When you’re done with the scraping, the bare surfaces need to be primed to protect the wood and provide good adhesion for the top coat. Use a good-quality exterior primer that’s compatible with your top coat, and apply one or two coats on all bare surfaces.
When preparing the siding on an older home, you need to be very aware of the possibility of lead paint. Even if the home has been repainted with latex, one or more of the underlying layers may contain lead. For more information about testing for and removing lead paint, contact the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) online at www.epa.gov/lead, or by phone at 1-800-424-LEAD (424-5323)
Professional painters rely on airless paint-spraying equipment to apply paint quickly and cleanly with minimal overspray. You can rent a professional-grade airless sprayer, but the occasional user might want to consider investing in Wagner’s Paint Crew Plus ($249.99).
Designed with homeowners in mind, the Paint Crew Plus has a 2800 PSI piston pump that’s driven by a 1/2-horsepower electric motor, so you have plenty of power for spraying a variety of finishes. The sprayer features a pressure selector that allows you to vary the pressure between 1000 and 2800 PSI, which is very helpful in choosing the best pressure for the finish you’re working with. Higher pressures are needed for spraying many of today’s exterior latex paints, and you can dial the sprayer down to a lower pressure to give you better control and less overspray when working with thinner materials.
The Paint Crew has wheels and a telescoping handle for easy transport, as well as a 2 1/2-gallon paint hopper that’s removable for easier cleaning. You also get a 25-foot high-pressure spray hose, a professional-grade metal spray gun and a reversible spray tip. A convenient hose wrap holds the hose when not in use, and there is a storage area for additional spray tips. Also included is a roller-arm assembly, which attaches to the hose in place of the spray gun, allowing for faster rolling of interior surfaces.
With this or any other type of airless sprayer, NEVER point it at anyone. The high-pressure pumps used with airless sprayers are capable of pushing paint through a person’s skin, so be sure you read and understand all of the safety precautions.
Remodeling and repair questions? E-mail Paul at email@example.com.
What’s your opinion? Leave your comments below or send a letter to the editor. To contact the writer, click the byline at the top of the story.