Repaint — exteriors especially — before visible signs of wear appear, Bancroft says. Don’t wait until you see peeling or flaking paint. “If I have to spend 40 hours preparing the surface before we can paint, that time is going to result in a lot of extra costs. But if I can spend 10 hours preparing the surfaces to be painted, you’re going to save money,” Freeman says.
For particularly heavy deposits of paint, heat may be more effective than muscle. One way to apply heat is with an electric paint remover, which is a device with a platelike heating element that "cooks" the paint and has a built-in scraper to pull it off. Wearing heavy gloves, hold the heating element against the surface until the paint sizzles. Pull the remover firmly over the surface. The attached scraper will pull off the cooked paint as you go.
To remove a bad piece of siding, you have to pull out two rows of nails: the ones in the bad board itself, and those in the board directly above. Siding is thin and splits easily, so the tricky part of this job is pulling nails without damaging surrounding boards. A cat’s paw is the best tool for digging out nails if damage to the surrounding wood doesn’t matter (Photo 1).
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.)
You will want to use the highest quality exterior home paint your budget will allow for your project -- not only because it will look the nicest, but also because it will save you money in the long term by offering better coverage and durability. Better coverage means fewer coats and fewer work hours for your painter; better durability means that you won't have to spend money to paint the exterior of your home again in just a few years. How do you know how much paint you're paying for? Here's some helpful math:
When you refinish your existing cabinet doors, you get a whole new look without the astronomical costs normally associated with a kitchen remodel. It’s a much smarter way to update your space, especially if your cabinets are still in good condition. It doesn’t make sense to throw out perfectly good materials, just because you’re tired of the color.