Painting a house in logical order;Painting the exterior of a house calls for the same top-to-bottom strategy—as well as many of the same basic tools and techniques—as painting the interior. There are differences, of course. Scale is one. Painting the upper reaches of a house exterior is more perilous than any indoor job. And the variety of exterior construction details means that the painting sequence requires careful planning. There are also methods for applying paint, described on the following pages, that are more useful outdoors than in.
The safe ways to paint from extension ladders. Many houses have dormers, however, that can be painted only from a sloping roof. Use a ladder that reaches at least 3 feet above the edge. This enables you to step safely from the ladder onto the roof without standing on the top two rungs or climbing over the eaves. On the roof be extra cautious: wear shoes with nonslip soles, use a ladder and ladder hook for foot- and handholds, and sit down as much as possible.
An exterior paint job has two major stages: first coating the sides of the house and then the trim. Start on the side that is not in direct sunlight. If there are dormers on that side, paint them first, leaving the overhang, trim and windows for the next stage. Then continue down to the main section. Paint the siding in horizontal strips, moving the ladder as necessary to work safely. (If you paint in vertical strips, you will have to adjust the length of the ladder oftener.)
When the siding is complete, start on the trim. Again, begin with the dormers, then do overhangs, gutters and downspouts as you come to them. Next, do the windows, shutters and doors of the main part of the house. Door and window exteriors are painted the same way as their inside surfaces.
After painting the trim, do the porch railings, then the stairs and foundation. If stairs must be used before they have a chance to dry, paint all the risers but only alternate treads, and then do the rest after the first half has dried. The final flourish is a coat of tough urethane varnish on wooden thresholds.
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