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Five steps to take when painting the exterior of your house

(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

In our climate, it’s a good idea to repaint the exterior of your house regularly.

After all, that thin coat of paint is all that’s standing between the structure of your house and the glaring sunshine of Arizona.

Painting every eight years or so is often recommended, but doing it every five years could be cheaper and less trouble in the long run than replacing and repairing weather-damaged wood and stucco that a fresh coat of paint might have saved.

You might also want an exterior painter to check the wood and stucco for cracks every year to keep up regular maintenance.

If you’re hiring a painting contractor, only consider painters who are licensed, bonded and insured, of course.

In addition, here are some of the basics that an exterior paint job should include, according to Don Brees, a painting and remodeling expert on the staff of Rosie on the House.

Paint type is important

Your painter should use only high-quality, 100 percent acrylic paint. That type of paint can resist problems that our climate tends to cause: chalking and color fading.

They’re often inevitable, but you can slow them down by using high-quality paint.

Chalking occurs when a white, almost powdery substance appears in spots on the painted surface. Some of this is normal, but in a dry, arid climate, it can become excessive. It can also be a sign of paint failure.

If you wet your finger and touch the spot, it will look darker again.

Color fading is when pigments degrade due to ultraviolet ray exposure.

Prep for your paint job

Before repainting, your contractor should remove outdoor lights and window screens and then pressure-wash the entire exterior of the house, whether stucco or masonry, to remove all the desert dirt and dust. Pressure-washing will also remove the chalky spots.

Once the surface is clean, the paint will adhere more evenly and smoothly to the walls.

If the painter doesn’t pressure wash, you could end up with “film failure,” because the paint won’t adhere to the surface.

Fix before you paint

The contractor should patch and repair any damage to wood and masonry surfaces before the painting begins. You also want the painter to caulk around window frames and doorways on the surface of the house.

Cracks in the stucco must be filled with elastomeric caulk. Some areas may even need to be stuccoed again.

Wooden areas under eaves should be scraped and primed.

How you paint matters

Next comes the actual application of your new paint. For the most part, the workers will put paint onto the surface of the house with a power sprayer.

Sometimes just spraying on the paint can be enough to cover the house properly, but for the best protection, homeowners also want extra paint backrolled onto the surface as well to really push the paint into spaces in the surface of the house.

Plants and paint don’t mix

During this painting process, make sure that the painter pulls back any plants away from the surface of the house so that the paint can be fully applied.

The final result will be a beautifully cleaned and painted home that looks almost new again.

For more homeowner advice, DIY tips and videos, and information about all the projects around your house, home, castle or cabin, visit Arizona’s largest collection of homeowner DIY advice and information at RosieontheHouse.com.

And if you are in need of a quality contractor you know you can trust, visit our list of Arizona’s very best contractors or service providers for your home improvement projects at RosieontheHouse.com – Arizona’s most-trusted referral network.

Tune in to KTAR every Saturday morning from 7-11 a.m. for the Rosie on the House broadcast!

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