Whether you are painting the exterior of your home to boost its curb appeal, change a color you don't like or refresh a dilapidated paint job, one thing is certain: Painting your home's exterior is a large job that requires proper planning, preparation and tools. In most cases, painting your home's exterior is a job best left to a pro. But before you call one in, you'll want to consider a few factors that will affect your project's cost.
Every painting job develops a unique choreography as ladders go up and come down and tarps are unrolled and folded up. But two basic principles remain: 1) Start at the top and work down. 2) Work in the shade, out of the sun's glare. As the dance proceeds, keep an eye on the weather. Rain can wash freshly applied latex right off the wall, and a temperature dip below 50 degrees F two days after application can interfere with adhesion and curing and dull the sheen of glossy paints. (Latexes like Sherwin-Williams's Duration and Benjamin Moore's MoorGard Low Lustre are formulated to tolerate temps as low as 35 and 40 degrees, respectively.)
For smoothing the edges of scraped spots here and there, you can wrap a piece of sandpaper around a wood block. For larger areas, it's less tiring and more effective to use an electric orbital sander. Move it up and down or back and forth across the surface to remove old paint and smooth rough edges at the same time. Don't use an electric disc sander or a belt sander. Both can leave swirls or dips in the wood that will show through a new coat of paint.
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.).
According to the EPA, professional painters must check for lead -- especially if a home was built before 1978. Many DIY painters forget to test for lead paint. Testing kits are available in home improvement stores for less than $40. You can also hire a lead testing and removal professional to do this work quickly and efficiently on your behalf. Lead paint can be dangerous; it's far better to find it before you put time and effort into painting your home than after the fact.
The best time of the year to paint your home is typically in late spring and early summer when it’s warm outside and moisture is low. This can change based on your geographic location. For example, fall can be a good time to paint in California when the difference between high and low temperatures is low. Your painter will select the optimal time to start your exterior painting project.