Learn How to Paint Your Home’s Exterior

House Painting Exterior Coating

A fresh coat of paint can dramatically change a home’s appearance. It can take a drab ’90s build with eclectic windows and reimagine it in statement-making white, or give new life to a cookie-cutter McMansion.

Painting your house’s exterior is a big job that requires skill and time. A good painting job protects your investment and improves your home’s value and curb appeal.


As a primary coating, primers offer the ideal surface to apply wall paints and ensure that they adhere well to them. The best primers will also protect the wall paints against weathering and wear. While self-priming paints are an option, they can be less effective than using a separate primer for house painting exterior.

If the previous coat of paint is loose or chipping away, it will need to be removed prior to priming. However, if it is still secure and adhered to the wall surface, you can paint directly over it. You may need to sand the area first to remove any ridges and bumps. If there is mildew or mold on the wall, wash it with a solution of water and bleach to kill any spores. After sanding and cleaning, apply a mold neutralizing oil-based primer to prevent any future problems. This will need to dry completely before moving on.

Base Coat

The base coat is applied to the home using a brush, sprayer or roller. It creates a weathering shield that protects the surface from moisture damage and provides an ideal foundation for the finish coat.

A good quality base coat will also provide some insect deterrence by repelling ants, bees and mosquitoes. In addition to properly tuckpointing cracks in masonry walls and caulking joints around doors and windows, it is important to eliminate insects’ access points by painting the outside of your home.

The chemistry of paint is complex and the proportions vary, but in general paint contains solvents that quickly evaporate to keep pigments and binders in suspension. Pigments are powdered minerals and man-made colors that give paint its hue and opacity. Binders are resins that coalesce to form the film after the solvents evaporate and controls dry time, leveling, mildew resistance and more. Some paints contain a large amount of VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which can irritate your lungs and harm the environment.

Top Coat

The top coat is a colored finishing paint that provides protection for the finish. It is applied to the house painting exterior coating that has already been primed and base coated. It is important that the top coat is compatible with the primer or base coat so that there is not a chemical reaction that would ruin the finish.

Choose a water-based top coat for easy clean-up and less risk of changing over time. It will also dry faster than oil-based.

If the top coat is chosen to match a dark color, it is generally recommended that two coats be applied. If you are going from light to dark or vice versa, then three coats are generally required.

It is important to apply the paint in good weather conditions. Avoid painting when the humidity level is over 85% and when freezing temperatures are expected. It is best to paint in the morning when the dew has evaporated.

Finish Coat

When the base coat is fully dry, the painters can apply a top coat of paint. This final coat helps to protect the surface of your home and give it a finished look. The finish coat will also protect the house from weathering and help to keep it looking new for years.

When it comes to the color of your finish coat, you have many options. Light neutrals are a popular choice since they provide good coverage and durability and can be easily repainted to match your changing style or new buyers’ taste in the future. Darker neutrals, such as charcoal or black, can add a more dramatic look but may require more frequent touch-ups and can be difficult to repaint.

One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when painting their own homes is not applying enough coats. This can lead to premature fading and can cost you more in repair bills down the line.