Painting pointers

Paint is the finishing touch for a vital looking exterior for either new builds or refurbishments, but as Tony Pearson-Young from AkzoNobel says, there is some essential practical advice to bear in mind

A fresh coat of paint can help rejuvenate and transform a tired looking house into a stunning property that looks just like new – and if it’s a newly built property, adding a lick of paint can add a touch of character, too. However, there are some tricks of the trade that you should know before tackling an exterior painting project. 

Season vs temperature

The time to complete exterior painting projects is often associated with seasons, but it is less about seasons and more about temperatures, as temperature – whether too hot or too cold – can greatly impact the quality and longevity of the paint and its application. Painting in extremely hot weather (over 30°C) can cause paint to dry too quickly, leading to a poor finish and potential adhesion problems. The paint will likely crack and blister which can result in peeling and lead to visible brush or roller marks, further affecting the professional finish. 

Painting in temperatures below 10°C is likewise not advisable, as it can slow down the drying and curing process causing the paint to become tacky and wet to the touch. Although daytime temperatures might suffice, it’s important to check what the temperature will fall to overnight, as if it’s expected to drop below 10°C, it could negatively impact the finish. At these lower temperatures, especially towards the end of autumn and early spring, there is a lot of moisture and condensation on surfaces, which will affect adhesion and the overall quality of the finish.

Prep is key

Exterior painting projects require some additional preparation compared to interior projects, to ensure a perfect finish is achieved. All walls and surfaces require cleaning before work is undertaken to remove dirt, grime or loose paint, and to guarantee that all surfaces are smooth. What’s more, mould and algae can sometimes be found, especially on a northern elevation, so a fungicidal wash must be used to banish any existing mould as well as prevent the future growth of fungi, mould and algae.

Due to the way that temperature can impact exterior projects, efficiency should be prioritised. Tools such as jet washers, power-fed rollers, and spray machines all make the task of painting a lot quicker and easier to help avoid any bad weather. In addition, using easy to apply and fast drying paint also saves time on a project.

Keep surfaces looking fresh

When selecting paints, it’s vital to choose products that have been specifically designed for exterior use, as they have been through rigorous testing and development to ensure maximum weather protection, shower resistance and anti-fade technology. It’s also recommended to invest in premium paints from a reputable manufacturer, as they offer better adhesion, colour retention and resistance to fading and stains – helping to extend the maintenance cycle. Checking the can itself to see how long the product is expected to last is another factor in extending the decorating cycle. 

Another tip is ensuring that redecoration work is planned a couple of years before the product’s end of life expectancy. In those final few years, the aesthetic can deteriorate, so to keep properties looking their best, redecoration work should be scheduled before any issues arise.

Perfect colour palettes

Exterior walls are the biggest surface area to decorate, so carefully choosing a colour is vital. To pick the perfect colour palette, it’s recommended that a small test patch of favourite colours is done in situ, as different light conditions can change how shades look.  A modern home’s architecture can be highlighted through a timeless and contemporary colour palette, such as neutrals, greys or whites, with contrasting shades used for the trim and woodwork to help maintain a clean and unfussy appearance.

When it comes to choosing colours for woodwork, timber cladding and trim, look to select a shade that complements the chosen masonry shade. If a lighter colour is chosen for the walls of a property, there is flexibility to play around with colour. For example, rich, dark colours can often accentuate a simple masonry colour. Colour accents can be added to small areas such as front doors and window frames, as their size means they can take on bolder shades with ease and allow room for experimentation. A pop of colour can also help to add a bit of personality, with deep reds and blues working well for a contemporary look. 

All the essential tools, tips and tricks above will help make sure that an exterior building transformation is completed to a high quality, impressive finish.

Tony Pearson-Young is skills development consultant at AkzoNobel