How to Create Beautiful Exterior Paint Projects with Ease

A fresh exterior paint job is a great way to boost your home's curb appeal and beautify your outdoor space — and you don't have to paint the whole house! Look here for quick, easy exterior painting ideas, simple instructions and problem-solving tips.

 
Five Easy Exterior Paint Projects

5 Easy Exterior Paint Projects

Confidence-inspiring tips.
Compliment-inspiring results.

Here are five simple exterior painting ideas to add color to your home in a single day's work. Just click on each project idea below for easy-to-follow how-to tips.

How to paint a door

exterior project picture

There's nothing like a good first impression.

  1. The first step to a good first impression? Give the door a quick wash and rinse, letting it dry completely.
  2. Next, just cover the metal hinges so they don't get covered in paint - a couple coats of rubber cement should do the trick. Mask the doorknob, lock and any other hardware as well.
  3. Now you're at the fun part. Start by painting the frame, making sure to work up from the inside bottom, across the top and then down the other side. This is done best with a 2" to 2.5" brush. When you start on the door, use a 4" brush or foam roller.

How to paint a fence

exterior project picture

Consider it the perfect frame for your masterpiece.

  1. Start by rinsing the fence with a hose. It's important to remember to unhook the sprinkler if it's still attached.
  2. Once it's dry, dip a 4" to 6" brush about a third of the way into your chosen exterior paint. Follow the grain of the wood, painting each slat in an up-and-down motion.
  3. Add a second coat using the same up-and-down strokes you did the first time. Simple as pie. As for color, try a twist on a classic, like Granny Smith White.

How to paint a planter

exterior project picture

Add a little color to your greenery.

  1. If you're painting a planter that's already been used, start by giving the plant a new home and scrubbing the planter with warm, soapy water.
  2. Give it a quick rinse and let it dry completely before applying any paint. This is a good time for lemonade. Try it with a little mint for a refreshing twist.
  3. Apply the first coat, inside and out. Follow that up with a couple more coats for denser color, allowing enough time to dry between coats. Looking for a little color inspiration? Why not run with the whole refreshing beverage theme and try Sweet Tea?

How to paint a doghouse

exterior project picture

Even your black lab will be green with envy.

  1. Start by treating the wood with a coat of primer. It's a great way to protect and seal the wood and ensure durability.
  2. Using a paintbrush, apply one coat of exterior paint to each side of the house. Once that dries, just brush on a second coat for denser color. Remember, dogs are color-blind, so the choice is entirely up to you, but they'll probably like anything named after food.
  3. Oh, and to keep this simple project from getting a little complicated, you may want to keep your dog indoors until the paint's dry.

How to paint a window box

exterior project picture

Your view just got even better.

  1. Start by removing any soil or debris left in the box and rinsing it with soap and water. As always, don't forget to let it dry completely before you move to the next step.
  2. Before you paint, spray the entire box with one coat of white enamel.
  3. Once that's dry, it's time to pick up a paintbrush. Paint the box with the color of your choice. You can even match the paint color to the flowers you plan on planting.

Exterior Troubleshooting Tips

Alligatoring

Problem:

Alligatoring — Cracked paint.

Solution:

Pressure-wash or clean the surface well. Then, sand and scrape away all loose or flaking paint. Finally, apply a high-quality latex exterior paint.

Blistering

Problem:

Blistering — Bubbles under the painted surface.

Solution:

Pressure-wash or clean the surface well. Sand and scrape away all loose or flaking paint. Then, caulk all cracks and gaps around windows. Finally, apply a high-quality latex exterior paint.

Chalking

Problem:

Chalking — A fine powder on the paint's surface associated with old or poor-quality exterior paints.

Solution:

Pressure-wash or clean the surface well. After washing, run your hand over the surface to check for additional chalking. If it still exists, you'll need to prime the surface. Finally, apply a high-quality latex exterior paint.

Chipping/flaking

Problem:

Chipping/Flaking — Specks of flaking paint caused by spreading the paint too thinly during application.

Solution:

Pressure-wash or clean the surface well. Then, sand and scrape away all loose or flaking paint. Finally, apply a high-quality latex exterior paint.

Dirt pickup

Problem:

Dirt pickup — Accumulation of dirt on siding caused by the natural aging of exterior paint or the use of a low-quality paint.

Solution:

Pressure-wash or clean the surface well. Then, apply a high-quality latex home paint and wash annually, or as needed, to maintain cleanliness.

Fading

Problem:

Fading — Occurs when exterior paint color fades because of age or sun exposure.

Solution:

Use a high-quality, 100% acrylic paint.

Mildew

Problem:

Mildew — Black, brown or gray spots on the painted surface.

Solution:

Trim away plants that may be contributing to the mildew. Scrub the surface with a solution of one part household bleach to three parts water, and then rinse with clean water. If needed, retouch or repaint with a high-quality latex exterior paint.

Nailhead Rusting

Problem:

Nailhead Rusting — Rust spots on exterior paint surface caused by using non-galvanized nails.

Solution:

Sand to remove rust, then countersink the nailheads and fill uneven areas with putty. Finally, retouch or repaint with high-quality latex exterior paint.

Paint incompatibility

Problem:

Paint incompatibility — Layers of peeling paint on top of old paint caused by using a latex paint over old oil paint that is not properly prepared.

Solution:

If you are painting over an oil-based paint that has not been on the surface for at least one year, always sand the surface. If needed, retouch or repaint with a high-quality latex exterior paint.

Peeling

Problem:

Peeling — Large sections of exterior paint peeling away from the surface, usually caused when moisture seeps through the exterior walls from inside the house.

Solution:

Pressure-wash or clean the surface well. Sand and scrape away all loose or flaking paint. Then, caulk all cracks and gaps around windows. Finally, apply a high-quality latex exterior paint.

Poor Alkali Resistance

Problem:

Poor Alkali Resistance — Color loss on fresh masonry caused by applying paint to masonry that has not cured for a full year.

Solution:

Allow masonry to cure for a full year before painting, or apply an alkali-resistant primer. Finally apply a high-quality, 100% latex exterior paint.

Tanning Stains

Problem:

Tanning Stains — Brown/tan discoloration that typically occurs on woods such as redwood, cedar and mahogany.

Solution:

Investigate the source of the problem before preparation to ensure it won't spread. Wash or clean the surface well. Use an oil-based primer for severe staining.

Wrinkling

Problem:

Wrinkling — Buckling paint caused by painting a warm, sunlit or wet surface; applying exterior paint too thickly; or painting over a dirty surface.

Solution:

Pressure-wash or clean the surface well. Then, sand and scrape away all loose or flaking paint. Finally, apply a high-quality, 100% latex exterior paint.