Painting the outside of your house is a great way to spruce things up and protect your home’s exterior from the elements. But tackling the heights and angles of a house exterior without scaffolding can seem daunting. Not to worry – with the right gear and some planning, you can paint the outside of your house without breaking the bank on scaffolding rentals or professional painters. Let’s walk through how to take on this project safely and efficiently.
Gear Up with the Right Ladders and Equipment
The key to scaffold-free success is having ladders and tools that allow you to comfortably reach all sides of your house. Here’s what you’ll want to have on hand:
Choose Wisely Between Extension, Articulated, and Multi-Purpose Ladders
Extension ladders are tried and true. They extend to heights up to 45 feet and the multiple adjustable configurations let you position yourself at any point to tackle siding, eaves, windows and more. Locking mechanisms on each rung feel secure underfoot.
Articulated or multi-configuration ladders are ideal for navigating uneven ground or wrapping around corners. The joints bend into various positions – even scaffolding-like shapes – to get you up close. The wide base and rubberized feet provide stability on grass or dirt.
For ultimate versatility, go for a multi-purpose ladder. It reaches up to 20 feet when fully extended but also easily converts into a folded step ladder for low-level work. Lean it against the house to paint siding then reposition it freestanding to tackle trim.
Outfit Yourself with Handy Extension Poles and Brushes
An extension pole equipped with a paint roller that extends up to 16 feet makes quick work of high walls and ceilings. Look for telescoping poles that twist and lock securely at your desired length. The lightweight aluminum means easy maneuvering.
Angle sash brushes excel at cutting crisp edges along trim, windows, and doors. Their stiff bristles hold plenty of paint. Wider brushes quickly cover siding. Opt for high-end nylon or natural bristles.
Roller covers glide smoothly across broad expanses. Match the nap thickness to your siding’s texture – low nap for smooth surfaces, high nap for rough.
Trays and Drop Cloths Are Painting Essentials
An angled tray attaches securely to the top of an extension ladder to hold paint and brushes right where you need them. On the ground, a standard rectangular tray does the trick.
Drop cloths and tarps protect shrubs and surfaces from paint splatter. Tarp off flower beds and cover the ground where ladders rest. Drop cloths catch stray drips.
Start with Proper Prep or You’ll Regret It Later
The time you spend prepping will directly impact the quality and longevity of your paint job. Follow these tips before opening that first can of paint:
Wash It, Scrape It, Hose It Down
Use a pressure washer or scrub brush to remove dirt, grime, flaking paint and mildew from exterior walls, trim, railings – you name it. Grease-cutting dish soap helps lift stubborn gunk. Rinse thoroughly.
Scrape off loose caulk around windows and doors. Dig out mortar cracks between brick or stones with a putty knife or screwdriver. Consider renting a power sander to smooth and degloss wood siding.
Repair Holes, Cracks and Rotted Spots
Inspect all surfaces closely for holes, cracks, deteriorating wood and other flaws. Seal small cracks and holes with caulk. Use wood filler, epoxy or patching cement on larger areas. Sand smooth.
Replace rotted, warped or missing boards, shingles or trim pieces. Use primer specifically made for new wood.
Prime Paint Doesn’t Just Look Pretty, It Makes Paint Stick
Priming creates a uniform surface for paint to adhere to. Use oil-based primers for cedar and redwood. Latex-based works on most other materials. Match primer to your finish paint’s base.
Apply primer over any repairs or new wood installation. Coat areas in need of extra sealing like brick or stucco.
Brush On Paint with Pro Techniques
Now for the fun part – grab a cold drink and put these techniques into play as you start splashing on color:
Work From Top To Bottom
Paint upper levels first – peaks, chimneys, cupolas – so you aren’t leaning against wet paint as you reach higher. Methodically move down to lower areas. No drips on your handiwork!
Use a Roller For Large Areas, a Brush For Trim and Edges
Make quick work of siding and walls with an extension pole and roller. Get into nooks and crannies with a brush. Maintain a wet edge as you move across a surface so your coating dries evenly.
Watch the Weather Forecast – Then Get Painting
Ideally, weather should be dry with temperatures between 50-90°F while paint cures. Avoid painting on humid, rainy days that prevent proper drying. Direct sun can dry exterior paint too quickly leading to imperfections. Plan your schedule accordingly!
Paint Sections Fully before Moving On
Paint until you reach a natural stopping point like a corner or window then refresh your tray before beginning a new section. Maintaining a wet edge for the full area allows continuous blending.
Use a Paint Sprayer for Hard-to-Reach Spots
For intricate details high up, consider renting a paint sprayer. Adjust the nozzle for targeted coverage and mask surrounding surfaces from overspray. Practice first to get the hang of it.
Take Your Time Edging and Trim for Sharp Lines
No need to tape around trim if you use a steady hand and quality angled sash brush. Where you do tape, remove it as soon as the edging is finished and before the paint fully dries. Voila – super sharp painted lines.
Prioritize Safety When Accessing Heights
Painting the exterior involves dealing with ladders, heights and messy equipment. Keep these tips in mind to avoid slips, trips and falls:
Harness Yourself In
For working on ladders above 20 feet or so, use a harness system secured to fixed anchor points on the roof. It’ll keep you from taking a nasty fall.
Maintain Three Points of Contact On Ladders
Keep two hands and one foot or two feet and one hand gripping the ladder at all times when climbing or working from it. This provides optimal stability. Don’t overreach.
Have a Spotter Watching
Station someone on the ground to provide an extra set of eyes monitoring your safety. They can also hand off supplies while you work.
Wear Protective Gear
Gloves, goggles and a mask protect against skin and eye exposure to paint. A helmet guards against falling debris or paint drips from above.
Secure Ladders Properly
Place ladders on stable, level ground rather than grass or soil. Fully open and lock extension rungs. Maintain a steep 75° angle. Secure with stakes or ladder jacks.
That covers the key tips and techniques for safely and successfully painting your home’s exterior without scaffolding! Now grab those brushes, pre-game with some upbeat music, and get ready to see your home transform with a vibrant new look.