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- Painting the House: Should You Hire a Pro?
Painting the House: Should You Hire a Pro?
The paint may be peeling, the color fading, or it just could be time to freshen the look of your home’s exterior. Is this a project you can do without the pros?
- Photo: Flickr
If you’re used to taking on your own renovations, painting your home’s exterior might be a natural money-saving project. But before you start positioning that ladder, here are the equipment, safety, and stress factors you should review.
TYPES OF HOUSES AND FEATURES
Some houses are easier to paint, others more difficult. Which is yours?
How tall is your home? Mike Lyster of Mike Lyster Painting and Wallcovering in Oshkosh, WI started out providing exterior painting services more than 28 years ago. He suggests that older, taller homes would be best left to a pro. Dick Seitz, Director of Communication and Training for Valspar, one of the largest global coatings manufacturers in the world, agrees. “A one-story rambler is relatively easy. A three-story Victorian with multiple dormers is a big challenge.”
Try this as a guideline: Straight exteriors on a simple, box-shaped house make for easier work. Irregularly shaped homes of two stories or more with dormers, gingerbread, or turrets, for example, tend to make for a more time-consuming and complicated project that may suggest a professional is needed.
Any intricate designs? On the more ornate homes, such as those of Queen Anne style, accessibility is an issue. Ladders won’t get you into their many high nooks and crannies. Homeowners need experience and the correct equipment to be able to inspect, remedy, and paint in what can be awkward positions. If your home has delicate detailing on the first floor, decide if you are the type of person who enjoys doing detail work. If you do have the patience, a first-floor project should be right for you. Those who prefer the broad strokes might be better off leaving the detail work to a pro.
Flat or sloping ground? Seitz also suggests looking at the grade (the finished surface slant of ground ) around the house for ladder positioning. It’s a plus if all sides have flat ground up to the house. Walkouts with slopes make it difficult to safely position ladders. Also check to see if obstacles like trees, shrubs, decks, fences, vines, or electric wires will be in the way.
How much prep-work? Examine your house for potential problems that may require extensive prep work. “Wood rot, mildew, severe peeling, or alligatoring are typical siding problems,” says Seitz. “Cracked window panes, crumbling glaze, and loose caulking around trim are other issues.” If you’re familiar with solving these problems, just be prepared that you might need a few extra days to remedy the situations. Talk with an experienced paint retailer about the problem for some potential solutions. Another option might be to consider hiring a pro to fix any extensive issues before you get started.
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