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- Painting the House: Should You Hire a Pro?
Painting the House: Should You Hire a Pro?
Do you have lead paint? Homes built before 1978 have a good chance of having paint containing lead. If you decide to paint your home yourself, you will have to learn about how to handle and/or remove it safely.
TOOLS, MATERIALS, AND COST
Each home project will vary. If you have determined your needs and already own the equipment, your decision may be easier. But be sure to price out the rental or purchase of tools and equipment. Then compare the price of everything you need to rent and buy to estimates from at least three local professional companies who will bring all of it with them.
Lifts and Ladders. Do you need ladders, scaffolding, planks, or lifts? While a one-story home may only require a ladder, a multi-story house may need not only larger ladders but perhaps scaffolding and planks or a lift. While you may be able to rent needed equipment, consider if you will be comfortable working at heights, says Lyster.
Prep materials. Preparing the house is the first step, and cleaning it is the number one job, says Seitz. Basic cleaning supplies include scrub brushes, pails, bleach for mildew, a cleaning agent such as TSP (trisodium phosphate), and a hose with spray nozzle.
Tip: Consider power washers to clean exterior surfaces. “They do a good job of removing loose paint and surface dirt, but they don’t usually remove heavy chalk, which is created by oxidation of the previous coatings,” says Seitz. Check into hand and eye protection for this equipment and follow the guidelines.
Have drop cloths, rags, and masking tape for around critical areas such as windows. Lyster suggests canvas drop cloths instead of plastic so the grass or flowers underneath are not cooked in the sun.
Paint removers. If you have many areas of blistering or peeling paint, a good amount of scraping may be ahead. Carbide blade scrapers will be needed if a fair amount of scraping is involved. Also try using an old, dry paint brush to sweep dust away. Just be sure to use dust masks to protect your lungs. “Pressure washing should never be used to take off paint because it can ruin wood siding,” says Lyster. Chemical removers may be necessary if the paint has to be softened to be removed, as is the case with many older homes with coats of paint. Power sanding? That can be dangerous because it can release many toxic ingredients into the environment. After getting rid of the loose paint, sandpaper will feather the edges smooth.
Caulking. This is a must to seal up cracks around windows and doors and to maintain flexibility and adhesion over many years, says Seitz. There are many types of caulks available. Discuss your project with your paint retailer. Before purchasing any caulk, check the manufacturer’s instructions for recommended surfaces. Make sure the caulk you have selected is paintable and remains flexible to expand and contract with your home. Caulks that are 100% silicone, for example, are not paintable.
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