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Top 17 exterior painting FAQs: Cost, application, paint, and more

July 15th, 2021 | 8 min. read

Top 17 exterior painting FAQs: Cost, application, paint, and more

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You’ve decided it’s finally time to repaint your home’s exterior after you notice it’s looking a little worn. 

Painting your siding might not seem like a daunting task, one you can complete on your own. But what is included in a professional paint job, how is the paint applied, and how much does a project cost

Getting all your questions answered before choosing the right painting contractor for your project is important to ensure you will get exactly what you expect from your project. 

Southwest Exteriors has been a San Antonio home remodeling contractor since 1989. Because we’ve worked with so many homeowners on their siding and exterior painting projects, we know the questions you want to be answered. 

Researching and preparing questions ahead of a consultation is important. You want to make sure you have all the information you need for your project to avoid getting taken advantage of and blindsided by a contractor.

This article will answer the top 17 most frequently asked questions about exterior painting projects and Southwest Exteriors’ processes. 

After reading, you will know the basic information about the cost of an exterior paint project, application processes, warranties, and much more. 

This way, you can enter a painting project with a deeper understanding of the details and save time during a consultation. 

1. How much does an exterior paint project cost?

An exterior paint job can cost anywhere from $6,000-8,000 as a starting point for 12 squares of siding, soffit, and fascia. A square refers to a 10 ft. x 10 ft. area or 100 square feet. 

The cost to get your exterior painted, however, varies and ranges depending on many factors. 

Square footage, condition of the siding, type of siding, degree of difficulty of the area, color, and quality of the installation all influence the total cost of your project. 

2. Do you have to take off the old paint before repainting the exterior?

It depends. If the old paint is peeling, blistering, or cracking, it will need to be removed before repainting.

If the old paint were painted over, it would not yield a smooth finish due to the cracking, blistering, or peeling. If the old paint has to be stripped off, it will add to the overall cost and time of the project for labor. 

3. Can you paint over stained areas?

While you can paint over stained wood, and some contractors do, Southwest Exteriors does not because it does not allow for the paint’s true color to appear when applied. 

If you have wood siding, trim, or fascia that you want to be painted, the wood will have to be sanded and stripped down to its original state for the best application and outcome.

4. Can you paint my gutters? 

Yes, we can paint your gutters. It is common with most projects to have your gutters removed before the painting and put back or replaced once the project is complete. 

This is more expensive for the cost of labor and if you decide to get new gutters, removing the gutters allows you to check for any rot or damage that may have developed behind them. 

Painted gutters will be covered under a different warranty than siding.

5. Can you paint doors?

Yes, we can paint or stain exterior facing doors and garage doors. 

6. What other areas of my exterior can you paint?

We can paint or stain any surface area that is attached to your home.

For example, this includes gutters, soffit, fascia, gables, porch columns, porch ceilings, decks, railings, doors, garage doors, and garage trim. Fencing is not included.

7. Can you repair rot, or will I have to hire another contractor?

When working with Southwest Exteriors, if there is any rot or cracking on your siding, trim, or fascia, we can fix it. 

If the rot goes beneath the surface into the frame of your home, a professional carpenter will have to come to repair or replace the frame. 

We are a solutions-based contractor and have become exterior experts over the last 30 years. We know that dealing with multiple contractors can be stressful, so we want to be able to fix any and all of your problems to alleviate that stress. 

8. What kind of siding can you paint?

We can paint all types of siding, like vinyl, brick, and fiber cement, with a few exceptions. 

Wood can typically be painted as long as it is not severely deteriorated or rotted. If it were, it would have to be repaired or replaced completely before being painted over. 

Aluminum siding can be painted, but the lifetime of the warranty will be shorter than other sidings. This is because aluminum siding is highly conductive, and the paint naturally will not last as long. However, aluminum siding is more durable than wood and vinyl siding.

9. How is the paint applied?

The primer is first applied and dries overnight until the topcoat. We use a sprayer to apply the majority of the paint and primer on the siding and smaller hand rollers and brushes around the trim and small areas.

A sprayer allows for the most even amount of coverage for the paint. If the entire siding were painted using a roller, it might turn out uneven because when a roller is moving back and forth, it disperses paint on the way up and picks it back up on the way back. 

While using a roller is not necessarily a bad practice, using a sprayer allows for the most even amount of coverage. 

10. What kind of paint do you use?

We use the Sherwin-Williams Loxon primer on James Hardie fiber cement siding and multi-surface primer for sidings other than Hardie.

For the topcoat, we use Sherwin-Williams Duration topcoat. 

11. What is the paint’s warranty?

The Sherwin-Williams Duration paint comes with a lifetime limited warranty against peeling and blistering. This does not include fading. 

Southwest Exteriors offers a lifetime warranty on all projects that covers the cost of labor, installation, and materials for the lifetime of the paint on your home.

12. How many coats of paint are applied? 

Generally, one coat of primer and one coat of the topcoat is needed when using high-quality paint, like Sherwin-Williams. 

More coats may need to be applied with darker colors for the true color to come out when the paint is dry. 

Thinner, lower-quality paints will also need more coats. No matter what type of paint is used, it must be applied to the proper mil, which refers to the thickness the paint is meant to be.

13. How can I choose my colors?

With Southwest Exteriors, we offer a free 90-minute color consultation with a color specialist. 

During this appointment, the specialist will talk with you through your vision for your siding and what colors you are looking at and help narrow them down for you. 

Because there are millions of colors and shades out there, this consultation helps eliminate the anxiety of finding the perfect colors on your own. 

14. Are the paint fumes safe, and how long does it take to air out?

Yes, the paint fumes are safe. Because the paint is on your home’s exterior, you will barely notice any fumes at all, and it is not a concern to you or your family’s health. 

With an exterior paint project, you will never have to stay away from your house for any period of time like you would when painting an interior room. 

15. How long will my project take?

There is no direct answer to this question. The time it will take to complete your project depends on the size of the project and the area's difficulty. 

A one-story house shaped like a standard rectangular box could only take a couple of days to paint. But a large three-story home with multiple gables and rakes could possibly take three weeks. 

If any repairs must be made to the exterior or the old paint has to be stripped off, this will add time and money to the project. Similarly, multi-story homes will take more time than single-story homes because it is more square footage and requires more labor to reach the area. 

16. Do you have a project manager for my exterior painting project?

At Southwest Exteriors, we do have project managers for your painting project. 

They will take care of all the needs of your project, work with you on scheduling the start dates, and communicate with you throughout the entirety of your project. 

Having a project manager is an important quality in a great contractor because you do not have to worry about keeping track of the timeline of your project, the crew, and if any issues come up. 

17. How often do I need to repaint my exterior? 

Depending on the type of siding, quality of the paint, and climate conditions, your exterior paint can last anywhere from seven to 15 years

Low-quality paint on wood, for example, will not last as long as high-quality paint on fiber cement. 

Repainting your exterior is a maintenance task that helps take care of your siding, just like eating your vegetables helps maintain your body. If any small issues occur with your paint or siding, it is always better to repair them quickly instead of neglecting them until things go really wrong.

Getting your exterior painting questions answered is crucial to the success of your project

Now that you know the answers to 17 of the most frequently asked questions, you can ensure a contractor will provide you with the right information for your project. 

Researching and asking questions is one of the most important things you can do to make sure you get exactly what you need from your project. 

If you go into a consultation or commit to a project blindly, you may be disappointed with the outcome and find that a contractor has taken advantage of your lack of knowledge.

With Southwest Exteriors, our goal is to educate you on not only our practices and products but what is popular in the industry as well. We want you to be able to make the best, well-informed decision for yourself, whether you choose to work with us or not. 

Want to learn more about exterior painting, like cost and installation specifics? Check out our section all about exterior painting in our Learning Center. 

Have a question about exterior painting? Leave us a comment on this post so we can get it answered!