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Taking it to the paint (job), with expert tips


A couple weeks ago, I began repainting the exterior of my house.

My last paint job — done in the summer and fall of 2003 — has held up extraordinarily well. It needs a bit of freshening up, though, so it’s time.

This, however, will be my final painting effort on the exterior of this house.

I neither expect to be living in the house 13 years from now, nor do I entertain the thought of spending several hours a day on a ladder at age 79.

I hope, instead, to be playing tennis and golf and playing with my grandchildren by then.

And napping, don’t forget napping.

For those of you who plan to embark on an exterior-painting project this spring, I offer some suggestions from my go-to source for advice, the Paint Quality Institute in Spring House, Pa.

Since the paint on my cedar-sided house is “sound and continuous,” for the most part, and lead-free, with minimal sanding, scraping, caulking and filling, I’ll give you the PQI basics:

— Treat any mildew with a 3:1 mixture of water to household bleach, leaving it on for 20 minutes and adding more as it dries. Wear eye and skin protection. Rinse thoroughly.

— Dull any glossy paint by sanding with fine-grit (No. 220) garnet paper. Wear eye protection, dust mask, and work gloves

— Remove dirt, chalk, etc. by scrubbing with detergent and water (rinse thoroughly) or by careful power washing using plain water. Note: Woods that tend to be very soft, such as old and weathered cedar and redwood, can easily be damaged by the high-pressure jet of power washing.

— Priming is helpful but not necessary. Some latex paints, however, may specify use of a primer if used over oil-based paint.

— Use a high-quality exterior latex or oil-based primer that is recommended for repainting wood surfaces.

— Do not leave a primer unpainted.

— Use top-of-the-line exterior, 100 percent acrylic latex house paint in flat, satin, semigloss or gloss finish.

— Use high-quality oil-based paint if there is surface build-up of old oil-based paint.

— Do not apply oil-based paint over latex paint.

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