Paint freshens, protects house from weather, mold, mildew, bugs.

After last week’s question-and-answer column about painting, are you inspired to paint your house this summer? Most houses in our climate need to have it done every five to nine years.

It’s quite a job and we’re always thankful we don’t have to do it very often. We have found that a quick, annual wash-and-rinse chore can really make a difference as to how often a long-winded scrape-and-paint job is needed. Try the wash!

However, as we said last week, nothing protects your siding better from the elements than a good coat of paint.

Whether you decide to do it yourself or hire someone, it’s good for you to know some tips to a good paint job.

In last week’s column we took you through all the important details of prepping the house. This week we’re just talking about the actual painting.


After you’ve carefully washed, scraped, primed and caulked, it’s time to start painting.

Painting any surface in the direct sun is a mistake. It causes the new paint to “skin-over,” resulting in blisters.

Painting in the direct rain or when moisture (fog) is expected can also cause problems. You can put a nice coat of paint on during a drizzling day, but it may not be there the next day. Try attaching tarps to the gutters and pinned to the ground.

At best, we recommend starting early on a dry, warm morning with either the south or the west wall. As the sun goes overhead, do the north wall, then the east wall, etc., staying out of the sun and avoiding any hot surfaces. It really is a good system!


If you decide to apply your paint with a sprayer, we suggest using it to load the wall area in front of you, then immediately back-brush the sprayed surfaces, catching the drips, evening-out the thick and thin spots and maximizing the bond of the paint to the siding. This way you’ll never have to dip your paint brush in a can again and you’ll get the job done fast.

Spraying out too far past your ability to back-brush can cause the paint to sag, drip, glop and surface-dry. In other words it won’t be the best job.

Another caution: Don’t paint too late in the day. With our summer afternoon fog, painting late can result in trapped moisture behind the paint. The next sunny day, the heated moisture can turn your hard work into a paint-blistering nightmare.


What about the window sills and trims? The bottom of the window, called the “sill,” is where all the rain running down your windows ends up. Notice it is well sloped for water run-off and usually projects beyond the siding so the water will drip straight to the ground.

The condition of these window sills is critical. When left unpainted, the sun and rain will make them crack and absorb water rather than shed it away.

Gradually, the absorbed water will create perfect conditions for this wood sill to decay, eventually, all the way into the house framing, sheathing and interior wall surfaces. The bugs will feast and the seeping molds and powdery mildews will take over the wall.

Major damage and major expenses usually follow this lack of concern for timely caulking and painting.


Doors require the same initial scrutiny and timely care as windows. We often find dry-rot where the metal threshold meets the wood jambs. If minor deterioration has occurred, you can scrape out the rot and treat with bleach to kill any remaining fungus. (Dry rot is a fungus.)

After all is dry, fill any holes or large cracks with wood putty, sand smooth, prime and double coat with good paint.

At the same time, check out the general operation of each door. A door will operate quietly with a drop of oil at each hinge pin. If the insulation strips are in good shape, there are no gaps for air to enter around or under it. And, the locks will work smoothly when the door is properly aligned and the locks get a shot of silicone.

Painting your front door in a bright, snappy color lets everyone know where you’re entry is and will enhance your new paint job, too.

Dave Murnen and Pat Beaty are construction specialists at NeighborWorks® of Grays Harbor County, where Murnen is the executive director. This is a non-profit organization committed to creating safe and affordable housing opportunities for all residents of Grays Harbor County.

Do you have questions about home repair, renting, remodeling or becoming a homeowner? Call us at 533-7828, write us or visit us at 710 E. Market St. in Aberdeen.