Painting the exterior of a house is very hard work. But if you do it yourself, a fine paint job can be both a point of pride and a boost to your home’s curb appeal.

Do your homework

Need to know: What might be affecting the surfaces you’ll work on. If, for instance, paint keeps peeling off a fascia board (the wide board affixed to the edge of a roof rafter), it may be the spot is constantly damp because rainwater is directed there by the roof or a gutter. Investigate and fix that problem first, then decide if the fascia board needs replacing before you paint.

Be sure to: Get the right tools. To prepare the surfaces, you’ll need paint-scraping implements, plenty of caulk and a caulk gun, wood filler and a putty knife for gaps and holes, and sandpaper. Some painters use heat guns that soften old paint to make it easier to scrape.

You’ll need dropcloths to catch bits of old paint and protect trees and shrubs; brushes of various sizes and rollers for wider surfaces, such as trim; and paint buckets, to hold just as much paint as you’ll need for the surface you’re tackling. You’ll probably need more than one ladder, and a painter’s hook, which attaches to ladder rungs and to the handle of your paint bucket.

Buy the best

Good advice: Don’t use cheap paint. Some exterior paints are better than others and are formulated to last longer. And don’t water down paint to make it go farther. Exterior paint on wood, brick and aluminum surfaces lasts seven to 10 years; the product warranty is based on use according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Buy good brushes, too; cheap bristles come loose and stick to the painted surface. Be sure to use brushes for the paint you’re using – oil-based, latex (water-based), or stain.

Bad advice: “You don’t need to prime before painting if it isn’t new wood.” The primer you use often determines how well the finish coats of paint go on and how long the job lasts. The primer seals the surface so that it doesn’t soak up the more expensive paint you’re using for the finish coats.

Word to the wise: Sand between coats. A light sanding gets rid of the bumps and ridges and roughs up the surface just enough to accommodate the second coat.

Out of pocket

What it will cost: Good paintbrushes start at $5. Latex caulk is $2 to $5 a tube. A heat gun can run $25 to $35.

Exterior paint costs $15 to $35 a gallon; a gallon covers 500 square feet with one coat. Measure the area you will be painting, determine the total square footage, and divide by 500. (Buy an extra gallon to avoid running short.) For trim paint, the rule is one gallon for every six gallons of exterior wall paint. A new house typically requires one coat of primer, two of finish paint. Older houses may require only one finish coat.

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