Panama Beach House Renovation

Panama Beach House Renovation

One of the biggest, fastest Panama remodeling projects you can do is painting your exterior.  Painting a house may seem simplistic, even monotonous, and to a certain extent it’s true. You can really only move a paint brush over the same spot so many times before you find yourself ready to quit. This is why many people hire professional painters to get the job done. After all, they get to do all the dirty work, and you get to watch TV.

For those of us who don’t have the luxury of hiring someone to take the work load away from us, however, the dreaded exterior painting idea sits long in our storage shed and eventually becomes a reality. Truthfully, it’s not the painting that you need to worry about. It’s the preparation, and this is a step by step guide to preparing for home exterior painting the right way, so that you can save time and money, and the anxiety of wondering whether or not you missed a step.

The first item on your preparation list is to gather the necessary tools. You will need paint, of course, a putty knife, a paint scraper, sand paper, possibly an electric sander, a new paint brush (or a few), likely a heat gun for the hard to reach areas and a pressure washer for high areas that may not be safely accessible, such as eaves.

Once you have collected these items and have them readily at your disposal, you’ll need to secure any items that may get damaged in the process, or that may hinder it in any way.

Damage in this case could mean flying debris (if you need to do any re-siding), paint chips, paint droplets, and cleaning agents if you’ll be using them. Take care to shut down the air conditioners in your home if any are exposed to the areas you’ll be painting in. Use a canvas drop cloth to cover walkways, plants and bushes. Plastic drop cloths are sold in hardware stores but are not recommended for covering plants. Additionally, if there are any plants that will interfere with your work at ground-level pull it away from your work area and tie it off so that it doesn’t spring back and mess up the paint.

Once you have an obstruction free workspace and have ensured that nothing of relative importance will be damaged, remove the shutters from your home and repair anything that needs work that will eventually be painted over. This step could take a while depending on how many items need to be repaired, but it’s worth the time and effort to nitpick at this stage.

Next, start removing the old paint. This may or may not be a good time for the pressure washer, depending on whether or not you know how to use one or how long you want to spend in the preparation stage. In the hands of someone inexperienced, a pressure washer has enough force to carve a gulley into the foundation of your home. Additionally, at the right pressure, a pressure washer will not remove all of the loose paint from the targeted areas.

Ultimately, it may be quicker, depending on your home, to just use the hand-scraper right out of the gate and keep the pressure washer on you in case you really need it. For pillars or eaves, use the heat gun. Place your putty knife where you want to start scraping and aim the heat gun at the edge of the putty knife. As the putty knife slides under the paint, follow it with the heat gun so that a clean paint ribbon is stripped from the surface. Take care to aim the heat gun away from yourself at all times.

Next, sand everything down, taking care to use your putty knife to fill in any cracks in the wood with wood-filler, which can be purchased at any major hardware store. Many people like to sand only where they’ve scraped, but if a house really needs a paint job, they likely hit most of the siding on the first step, anyway.

Start at the top of your house and work your way down. For the hard to reach areas, like eaves and the top shingle, try using 80-grit sandpaper and sanding it by hand. A belt sander works if the shape of it fits the surface you’re looking to sand down, but your ultimate objective is to take the edges off the paint that remains bonded to the house and smooth it out with the surface that still needs to be painted. Some people like to scrape and then go back and sand. Others like to sand as they go. Either way, do not make the mistake of substituting scraping for sanding.

The purpose of scraping is to remove the paint that is no longer bonding with the wood. Painting over loose paint will not fix the problem. It will only make it worse. Depending on what brand of paint you get, a few coats could last you up to ten years. If you skip the first step and paint over loose material, you will be lucky if it lasts you ten hours.

Finally, use the pressure washer, if you have one, on the lowest setting, taking care not to let the stream hit the house where it shouldn’t (i.e windows). Remember, pressure washers can cause serious damage, so consult a professional before using one if you are unfamiliar with how it works. Different brands have different gauges and different switches. Not every pressure washer is the same. Once you have sprayed the entire house, start at the top on one side.

Using goggles or otherwise suitable protective eyewear, mix a bucket of water and trisodium phosphate. Trisodium phosphate, much stronger than bleach, is a chemical that strips the old paint of its gloss and cleans the area. This step may seem unnecessarily hazardous, but in reality it is critical to the success of the project. As you work your way down, the trisodium phosphate strips the exterior of your home of dirt, grease, grime and anything else that would prevent the primer from properly adhering to it once it has been applied. Rinse the areas to which you have applied trisodium phosphate thoroughly as you complete each section.

The next step in preparation is the longest step that you’ll have to take. It’s like watching paint dry…well, almost. It’s actually watching the house dry. Depending on the type of paint that you plan on using, the drying time for the house varies. The drying time can also vary depending on whether or not you used the pressure washer. The best way to avoid a disaster is to wait another day if you’re not sure the surface is dry enough. If you plan to use a latex paint, a day is usually sufficient. If you plan to use an oil-based paint, give it a week.

Finally, look around for any nails in your siding that may have been shaking loose from the sanding and hammer them back in, caulking any unwanted crevices between door jams and windows as you do so.

You are now ready to paint your home.  This is a Panama remodeling project you are sure to be proud of.

If you are ready to start a Panama renovation project, be sure to contact us first.