To determine how much paint your house needs, measure the house's perimeter. Then multiply that figure by the height, excluding gable ends. Take the measurements with a steel tape measure, or reel out a ball of twine around the house and mark and measure the twine. If you will use a different paint on your home's trim, subtract 21 square feet for every door and 15 square feet for each typical window. Divide the final figure by the square-foot coverage specified on the can of paint to determine the number of gallons you will need for one coat.
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Once you have removed all the loose paint, you should apply an appropriate primer to some of the distressed areas, especially if your paint-removal system has exposed raw wood or bare metal. The kind of primer you use depends on the kind of paint you'll be using later. For latex paint, use latex primers; for solvent-thinned paints, use solvent-base primers; and for metals, use metal primers. Not only do these coatings provide extra protection against the elements, they also form a firm foundation for finishing paints. Also, priming is always required when you're working on new wood.
More recently, professional painters are responsible for all preparation prior to painting. All scraping, sanding, wallpaper removal, caulking, drywall or wood repair, patching, stain removal, filling nail holes or any defects with plaster or putty, cleaning, taping, preparation and priming are considered to be done by the professional contracted painter.
Before the scrubdown, protect nearby plants by misting their leaves and saturating the surrounding soil with water, pulling them away from the house, and shrouding them in fabric drop cloths. (Plants will cook under plastic.) Lay more drop cloths along the base of the walls to collect any falling paint debris. Walls should be wet down before getting scrubbed, then washed with a gallon of water mixed with 1 cup chlorine bleach and 1 cup of either a concentrated, phosphate-free cleaner, such as a trisodium phosphate (TSP) substitute, or Jomax House Cleaner. Working in sections, from the bottom to the top, will avoid streaks. Be sure to rinse walls well before the solution dries. Wood siding and trim should be ready to paint after a day or two of dry weather.
The cost to paint metal siding -- most commonly aluminum and galvanized steel -- will depend on a variety of factors. In some instances, a simple cleaning will suffice to prepare metal siding for painting. In worst cases, painting professionals will need to repair metal that is rusted, damaged or missing pieces due to climate conditions. In the case of severe damage, a professional will have to remove the old finish and paint to get to the original layer, which will add on to the final price. When you add the actual painting of the metal siding, you might be looking at a final bill between $400 (~250 sq. ft.) and $1,500 (~1,000 sq. ft.).
As any painter will tell you, prep work is just as important -- if not more important -- than the paint application itself. If the paint on your house is chipping or peeling, it needs to be scraped and sanded smooth before applying a new finish. In most cases, you won’t need to remove all the existing paint, but scraping, sanding, patching, caulking, and priming are critical steps that take place before the start of most exterior painting jobs.