What you need to know about painting your home’s facade

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Cherie Barber gets to work. Pictures: Taubmans

A new coat of paint can work wonders at transforming the exterior look of your home.

It can help give your home a real identity in the street and set the tone for what to expect inside.

Although painting offers a quick and easy way to make an uplifting change, the lack of good surface preparation can let everything down.

According to celebrity renovator Cherie Barber, from Channel 10’s The Living Room, preparation is essential for achieving a good exterior finish. But, unfortunately, it’s something most of us let slide.

“The surface preparation will generally take more time than the painting itself, and it’s something people don’t realise is just so critical,” said Ms Barber, a DIY and renovation expert at Taubmans.

“We are a nation of impatient renovators who are eager to get the colour on the walls and see the end result.”

Barber says for a good finish, you need to prepare your surface well.

The founder of Renovating for Profit recommended making preparation a priority and taking time when sanding surfaces to a smooth finish, filling holes, stripping old varnish and scraping off peeling paint.

“It may be boring but if you don’t do it, your new paint will be sticking to the old paint and it will only be a matter of time before it starts peeling,” she said.

Avoid paint peeling by putting in the hard yards at the start.

Choosing colours

Think strategically about your home’s exterior colour scheme. You want something that enhances the property and complements the surroundings.

“The first thing I would do is look at the build date of the house. It may help in choosing your external colours, although it’s not a hard-and-fast rule,” Ms Barber said.

“Don’t try and make your home something it’s not because it won’t look right and could result in a property devaluation.”

She recommended walls be painted in one colour (unless doing exterior feature walls) and trims in a reverse colour. If you had dark walls, go for light trims and vice versa.

White trims look good teamed with black and grey walls.

“What sometimes looks less effective is when you have something like a grey facade, and you team it with black windows. There’s just no contrast, which is necessary when you’re painting a home externally because it creates interest,” she said.

Paint can be used to highlight features on the facade but also to camouflage unsightly areas.

“It can be cleverly applied to take the focus off something,” Ms Barber said.

“For example, you may have an ugly brick wall attached to the side of your house, so consider extending the house colour across to the wall as well, so it becomes one and downplays this undesirable feature.”

Extend the house colour to downplay an ugly wall.

Need to know

A lot of external paints today are self-priming, which means you might not need an undercoat.

“People frequently don’t check this before buying their paint,” Ms Barber said. “With some surfaces, you do need an undercoat, so always ask this question at the store.”

She stressed the importance of using the right paints for the task, such as Taubmans’ updated All Weather Exterior paints, which promised to withstand the strongest forces of nature.

“Avoid using internal or glossy paints externally because external paints have special properties added to help them to withstand weather elements such as UV exposure.”

Ms Barber recommended using low-sheen or matt paint on exterior walls, and low-sheen or semi-gloss paint for trims including gutters, fascias and external window frames.

“It provides a little contrast,” Ms Barber said. “And I have found, in my experience, the semi-gloss paint tends to last a bit longer than a flat low sheen.”

Barber recommends low-sheen or matt paint for exterior walls.

Handy tips

Ms Barber had this extra advice on exterior painting:

• Avoid using normal household paint on metal surfaces as it might quickly peel and crack. Use a metal undercoat first.

• Spray paint roof tiles but remember, you can only paint unglazed tiles.

• Save money by painting your home’s walls and low areas yourself and then hire a painter for the high spots.

• Use paving paint to freshen up a driveway or front path.

• Use a spray gun for the walls but make sure it’s good quality. Cheaper models tend to use more paint than trade-quality models.

• Never paint over brick if you plan to cement-render the surface down the track because render has difficulty sticking to painted brick. Each brick will need to be chipped into by hand by the cement renderer to get the render to stick, which can then become expensive.

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