Some homeowners prefer painting home trim on their own. Many others find the chore a headache, particularly during warm, dry spring or summer months when the weather is perfect for the paint--but harder on bodies. Ideally it's up to you. But having the job done right by a painting contractor often means you won't have to get out the ladders, drop cloths, and lemonade cooler every year for retouching.
The right weather conditions are key for exterior painting jobs. Make sure any caulking is bone dry before painting on it. Even though you want to paint in temperatures over 50 degrees, you don't want the trim to bake in the hot sun while drying. If you've had rain, let the house dry for half a week before lifting a brush.
To really do the job the professional way, you'll need to mask all the surfaces where you don't want spatters and drips with painters tape. Be sure to prime any trim that requires patching--or new trim that's been added to your home, say after installing new windows.
Painting contractors usually paint trim from the top down, using brushes. Some will use a sprayer or narrow roller on wide fascia boards. If you're hitting the doors or storm windows, remove all hardware before you start. It might be a good idea to remove the windows if you can for easier painting. Leave railings for the last job on the list.
You'll get better results if you match your primer and paint. That means latex trim primer with latex house paint and oil-based primer with oil-based house paint. Many painters insist on painting in patches, choosing sections that can dry in the shade as the sun moves across your home during the day. Give the paint a good eight hours to dry before considering a second coat. That's why you may not spend all day on painting trim, but you might work a few hours for a successive number of days.
Need help? We have some suggestions for choosing the right painting contractor. Painting your trim can be a labor-intensive project. If you want to make sure your paint job lasts, consider hiring a professional--or at least following these tips for a professional-grade result.About the author: Woodrow Aames has written articles and profiles for Yahoo, Microsoft Network, Microsoft Encarta, and other websites and print magazines around the world. He holds an MFA degree and has taught English abroad.