Painting Exterior Wood – Tips You Need to Know

Does your exterior wood around your property look like it has seen better days? Don’t worry, it is a simple task to make sure it looks great again. All that you need is a bit of guidance and knowledge. In this guide, we will cover all the essential tips that you need on how to paint your exterior wood and to give it the care and love that it needs.

What You Need To Know About Painting Exterior Wood

First, we will go over the choices available when it comes to exterior wood. This type of product should be able to survive hot summers, and freezing winters without peeling, fading, or cracking. For optimal results, look for all-acrylic formulations that will stay breathable, colour-fast, and flexible for a lot longer than traditional acrylic blends or vinyl resin paints. These paints will also adhere remarkably well to wood, metals, vinyl, and stone.

Types Of Wood Paint for Exteriors

If you are looking to spruce up your outdoor wood, it is going to depend on the paint type you are using. Some of the water-based wood preservatives will only leave a very thin layer on the surface of the wood that can start to peel off when exposed to the elements and also leave the wood susceptible to moisture.

The spirit-based wood preservatives are usually the best option for greenhouses, summerhouses, garden sheds, and any other outdoor wooden structure. They soak into the wood and they are also easy and quick to apply. Exterior paints usually need a minimum of one quality undercoat application and sometimes up to three to reach the desired effect. Preparation is key.

Exterior Eggshell Paint

These types of paint are hard-wearing and they also won’t wash off your walls easily. You can scrub these surfaces with vigour and they will stick to the surface without any issues. The one drawback about eggshell paint is that is prone to absorbing stains, and this can become challenging to remove. Exterior eggshell paints create a protective and durable coat that is incredibly robust. These products are ideal for outdoor woodwork, window sills, and wooden doors. You can also choose to use these products to paint over UPVC. It does an excellent job with an incredibly long-lasting finish.

Exterior Gloss Paint

These paints are durable and designed to withstand outdoor weather conditions. In fact, some of the exterior gloss paints are available with an impressive 10-year guarantee, which gives you an idea of how tough these products are. They are flexible allowing moisture to escape and also last a lot longer than the conventional gloss paints. When using exterior gloss paint make sure you prepare your wood first using a high-quality exterior undercoat or primer.

Exterior Painting Tips

Below you will find our top-rated exterior painting tips. When using this advice you will improve your chances of getting the job done right the first time around, and arriving at a beautiful and long-lasting result.

  • Before you get started, check on the weather to make sure you are in for a dry spell.
  • In general, it is best to choose a high-quality exterior paint so that it will last longer and require less maintenance.
  • Avoid using interior paint outdoors, the finish won’t last and it will look bad.
  • Preparation is key. Make sure you prepare the surface appropriately to ensure the finish lasts for as long as possible.
  • You will be wasting your effort, money, and time trying to maintain exterior paint if there is damage present. Tackle any fungus, leaks, or damp before repainting a wooden surface, or the finish will never last.
  • Rather paint early in the morning, it will cool down in the afternoon and the surface may become damp overnight. If possible wait for a dry and warm night.
  • Always check on the instructions from the manufacturer before you start.
  • If you are painting in damp, cool, or very humid weather, dedicate extra time in order for your paint to completely dry.
  • Never paint over damp wood.
  • Avoid mixing outdoor wood paint with paint from another manufacturer. These paints have different formulations which means they usually won’t mix well.
  • It will cost less to buy one large can of paint rather than multiple small ones.
  • Invest in a good quality undercoat or primer, which will minimise maintenance. If you choose a cheap product, you can be sure that the finish will degrade faster.
  • For an even finish, complete the painting task in a single go.
  • Never rush the painting job.
  • Paint your closeable doors and windows as early as you can so they have enough time to dry so you can close them in the evening.
  • Start from the top working your way downwards.

7 Common Problems With Exterior Paints

Exterior paints should last, but as time goes by they will start to encounter problems. Here is a list of these common issues, followed by solutions:

  • Alligatoring

This is when the surface starts to look flaky and similar to lizard skin. To solve this issue remove the paint completely with a heat gun or scrape it off. Sand the surface and then apply a primer before repainting the surface.

  • Blistering

This is when the paint starts to blister. If the blisters have reached the wood level, you need to remove the source of moisture before you decide to repaint. Remove the blisters using a scraper, followed by sanding the surface until it is smooth. Prime the bare timber using a good-quality primer before you add any topcoats.

  • Flaking And Cracking On Several Coats Of Paint

In some cases, you can solve surface cracking when you remove the flaking or loose paint using a wire brush or scraper. Make sure the edges are sanded smooth and prime any of the bare spots before you add a topcoat. If the flakes or cracks are deeper, first remove the paint by scraping, sanding, or use a heat gun before you prime and repaint.

  • Dirt

It is often possible to remove dirt using soapy water, a stiff scrubbing brush, and then rinse the surface down using your garden hose. Heavy dirt usually requires a high-powered washer. Make sure the pressure is on a low setting and first test out a small patch. If you use high pressure it could strip off the paint.

It is not easy to completely remove ingrained dirt, but exterior latex paint is a good option to repel dirt, to begin with. The exterior gloss paint products are also more resistant when it comes to picking up dirt when compared to more porous paint products.

  • Mould

To decide whether you are dealing with mould or dirt, apply household bleach to any discoloured areas. If the stain disappears you are dealing with mildew or mould. To remove mildew, prepare a diluted solution of bleach (3 parts water to 1 part bleach) or use dedicated mildew and mould removers. Make sure you rinse the surface and allow it to completely dry. Make sure you apply a primer to the wood before adding your top coat.

  • Rusty Nail Stains

Wash off the rust, sand down each nailhead, and then caulk them using a water-based all-acrylic caulk. Spot-prime all the nail heads and then paint your wood with good quality latex paint.

  • Lost Glossiness

Sand or scrape the wooden surface to remove any wrinkles before you repaint. The primer or first paint coat must be completely dry before you apply the topcoat.

Maintaining Wood Preservation and Wood Weatherproofing Products

There is more to an exterior finish than just the paint. You should also think about maintaining exterior wood with a wood preserver. This will usually depend on the previous preservation treatment or the original wood finish, along with the instructions from the manufacturer.

Since wood preservers are designed to sink into the wood, maintenance won’t require scraping or sanding the product off a surface. It usually involves cleaning a surface to remove surface debris and dirt. If your surfaces are very grubby, light sanding may be needed before you reapply the product. We also recommend, that you carefully follow the instructions on the product.

Exterior Paint Colours

It will help you to think logically when it comes to exterior paint colours. If the area you plan to paint is exposed to a lot of dirt or dust or exposed to the weather, choose the colours that won’t show up a lot of dirt. Think about greys or a “heritage green”, or one of the darker shades.