Posted in Features

Painting exteriors

Painting exteriors Posted on 2 July 2024

Man painting the outside of a house.

It’s time to get outside. Tony Pearson-Young, AkzoNobel Skills Development Consultant at Dulux Academy explains how to get to grips with tackling exteriors. 

The time to complete exterior painting projects is often associated with seasons, but it is less about seasons and more about temperature. Temperature – whether too hot or too cold – can greatly impact the quality and the 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 is likely to crack and blister which can result in peeling and can 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, there is a lot of moisture and condensation on surfaces, which will affect adhesion and the overall quality of the finish.

Preparation 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, debris, or loose and flaking paint 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. The whole surface should then be washed down and rinsed with clean water before the final preparation begins. It’s important that the surface is left to fully dry before painting, particularly when using a power washer as this can force water into the surface. This helps to ensure that a quality finish that lasts for years is achieved.

Once the walls are cleaned, any cracks or holes need to be repaired. When painting bare walls, two un-thinned coats of paint is typically all that is needed after repair work. However, it is important to note that other construction materials will require more consideration. For example, other materials such as sound masonry with a chalky or sandy surface would require one full coat of stabilising primer, while visibly exposed stone may need two full coats of an alkaline resisting primer.

Additionally, 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.

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 the client’s favourite colour 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.

Keep surfaces looking fresh

When selecting paints, it’s vital to choose products that have been specifically designed for exterior use such as Dulux Trade’s Weathershield range, as they have been through rigorous testing and development to ensure maximum weather protection, shower resistance and anti-fade technology – which all helps to extend the maintenance cycle. Trade paints are also designed to last longer, as well as having a higher spreading rate which is cost efficient. 

It’s recommended to invest in premium paints from reputable manufacturers, as they offer better adhesion, colour retention and resistance to fading and stains. Checking the can to see how long the product is expected to last is another factor in extending the decorating cycle. 

Ensuring that redecoration work is planned in the couple of years prior to the product’s end of life expectancy is another tip, as in those final few years, the aesthetic can deteriorate. To keep properties looking their best, redecoration work should be scheduled in before any issues arise.

The Weathershield brand

Dulux Trade recognises the importance of providing professional painters and decorators with products that suit all projects. The Weathershield range is the perfect product for the exterior season. The Weathershield range has undergone rigorous testing and development, so painters and decorators can be confident that the exterior walls are protected and maintained from UV damage, mould and algae for years to come. The Weathershield technology provides the ultimate weather protection, as well as helping to enhance the aesthetic appeal of exterior projects.

In fact, Dulux Trade Weathershield Smooth Masonry is available in a diverse and versatile colour range, allowing professionals to cater to a wide range of client preferences and ensuring that every project
is a masterpiece.

The combination of durability, versatility and timelessness colours makes Dulux Trade Weathershield the ideal choice for exterior surfaces, offering not just a visual delight but also long-lasting performance that stands up to the challenges of the great British weather.  

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Dulux Academy offers specialist Exterior Coatings courses to help professionals develop knowledge and experience. For more information and to book onto the next Exterior Coatings course, and other painting and decorating courses, visit: