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How To Paint- Painting Exterior Trim With Perfection

How to Paint – Painting Exterior Trim

Painting exterior trim is among the more difficult exterior paint jobs. It requires more preparation and greater care during execution. But it can also be the most satisfying, since good trim really makes a house stand out.

How To Paint-Preparation

Proper preparation is key, as it is with any painting job. Trim will need to be masked. If wall painting is done first, it can be very difficult to achieve the proper color if wall paint has touched the trim first. If trim is being done alone, it’s necessary to mask around the trim to avoid getting paint on the walls. Even if the trim and walls are the same color, new paint will show as a different shade.

Windows represent a special challenge. The wooden or metal dividers between panes, make necessary  masking to avoid getting paint on the glass. It’s usually easier to mask the glass carefully than to scrape off paint afterward. Also, it’s safer, since a blade used to clean off the glass can slip and scrape the newly painted trim.

As with any exterior painting job, it’s critical to ensure that surfaces are dry before beginning. That goes double for trim. Large wall surfaces exposed to the sun will dry off more quickly than sections of trim that contain angles that trap moisture.

Wait 2-3 days after it has rained before beginning an exterior job. Also, start the job a little later in the day, to allow morning dew to evaporate. By the same token, it’s a good idea to finish a couple of hours before dusk, to let new paint dry before dusk.

More than just moisture, temperature is important, too. Apart from the fact that moisture gathers more  in cooler temperatures, cold weather causes paint to dry too slowly.  Cold temperatures can cause wrinkling. Above 50 degrees is the minimum for most climates.

The opposite extreme can be just as big a problem. High temperatures cause paint to dry too fast, which can introduce surface irregularities. Blistering is common when oil-based or alkyd paints get too hot. The compounds separate and a bubble forms with solvent inside. Oil-based paint is harder to paint with but offers longer wear.

How To Paint-Using A Brush

As with any painting job, always start from the top down. Dip the brush a couple of inches into the paint, but remove any excess by wiping the brush against the rim. Don’t try to rush the job by using too much paint at once. Then pull the brush up and hold it parallel to the ground with the paint filled surface up.

Work the brush perpendicular to the grain for the first few strokes. That gets paint into all the miniature grooves and cracks. Then brush with the grain to smooth everything out.

On smaller surfaces such as window dividers, use a smaller brush or at least turn a large brush on its side. Even when the areas are masked be prepared to take the time needed to do trim right. A fast brush will flick paint onto surfaces where it’s not desired. This is not a part of the paint job where you can expect to do large sections quickly, as with wall surfaces painted by a roller. Painting with a brush is just slower.

Smaller rollers can be used, though, on thick trim. A four inch wide roller can do a four to six inch piece of trim just fine. Go slowly though. A fast roll will inevitably fling paint onto the walls and then you will have a clean-up on the walls. once you get the painting down to an art would you like to know how to start your own paint business? It may be easier than you think.I recommend that you read How To Start a Painting Business to get you started.

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{ 4 comments… add one }

  • Woollen Carpets April 15, 2010, 1:04 am

    I am painting an exterior metal door the color clay pot. I am wondering if the more coats I paint on it will the color get darker. I have painted two coats on it already!

    • gailjrichardson April 15, 2010, 6:59 am

      Thanks for asking a question. A lot of people wonder this.The paint should not just keep getting darker. If you don’t have the first 2 coats on properly you may still be seeing coverage of the previous color. As the paint cures out overtime it may change a little but your fresh coats should stay true to colors. Did you sign up and get your free guide? It would be helpful for your decorating needs

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