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Plan your project - house painting

Giving the outside of your home a fresh lick of paint can do wonders for its curb appeal, making it more attractive to you, your visitors and potential buyers. Although it may seem like a daunting task, with the right tools and a little expert know-how, it’s a rewarding achievable DIY project. And once the paintwork is complete, it should last for up to 15 years, protecting your home from the elements, as well as making it look great.

As with most home-improvement projects, preparation is key and it’s well worth planning an exterior paint job well in advance. This will allow you to carefully assess the condition of the existing paintwork, carry out any repairs to the brickwork or masonry, and make sure you have all of the equipment you need.

Choose the right paint

It’s important to use a specialist exterior masonry paint to ensure a long-lasting finish. Always check the tin carefully to make sure the paint you’re considering is suitable for the type of surface you’re planning to paint. Our range of masonry paint offers a long lasting, and professional looking finish.

You’ll find that masonry paints come in either a textured or smooth finish:

Wickes Masonry paint is available in smooth and textured finishes, both of which can be applied to roughcast, concrete, stock, facing bricks, sand/cement rendering, pebble-dash and similar emulsion-based paints.

If your house was built before 1914, it is likely to have solid walls – meaning they don’t have a cavity – so you’ll need to use breathable paint, like Wickes Masonry paint. This will stop existing damp from being trapped in the walls and will also prevent rainwater soaking in and saturating them.

Choosing the right colour

The choice of external paint colours used to be limited to whites and creams, but nowadays there’s a much more of a choice available – from smooth reds to on-trend greys. It’s worth bearing in mind that the paler the shade, the more that dirt will show up and the more often you will need to clean your walls.

If possible, pick up some tester pots and paint the shade onto a piece of cardboard or plasterboard of around 1m2. You can then position this board against each of your home’s exterior walls to see how the colour looks from different aspects and in different lights.

If your home is attached to another property, it’s well worth taking the time to talk to your neighbours about your colour choice. As well as helping to ensure your homes’ exteriors complement one another, letting your neighbours know the shade you’re planning to use in advance will avoid any unexpected surprises once it’s on the walls.

Make sure you have permission Painting the exterior of your house is usually classed as a permitted development, meaning you don’t need planning permission to complete it. However, if you live in a listed building, a flat, or if your property is in a conservation area, you may need to get permission to alter its exterior, so make sure you check this with your local authority’s planning department before you start work. Take a look at for more details.


Get the right amount of paint

To work out the quantity of paint you need, measure and multiply the height and width of each side of your house that you will be painting and then add up the totals. By calculating the total surface area of the house, including the doors and windows, you’ll give yourself a contingency for any areas that require extra coverage.

Then you simply need to check the square metre coverage of the paint you’re buying, which will be stated on the packaging, to work out how many tins to buy.

Wickes tip Be aware that newly applied render will soak up more paint than expected, so allow for this if necessary.
If you have space, hiring a scaffold tower from your local tool hire company will make life easier and safer than using a ladder.

Make sure you have the right equipment

If this isn’t possible, then make sure you have a stable, extendable ladder that’s long enough to reach your home’s roof. Rubber feet will prevent the ladder from slipping.

A roller with an extension handle is the quickest tool to use for coating large areas with paint, but if the surface is rough, then a wide brush may be easier.

You’ll also need a small brush for getting into hard-to-reach areas, such as behind downpipes.

You may think dust sheets are only needed for painting indoors, but you’ll also need them for painting your exterior walls. Lay the sheets around the base of your scaffolding or ladder to prevent paint from dripping and staining your drive, paving or patio.

Make sure you’re wearing flat, comfortable shoes and old clothes or overalls, as you are bound to get splashed - no matter how careful you are.

Stay ladder safe with these handy hints The best way to check whether you need to treat your deck is to drip a small amount of water onto it. If the water sits in beads on the decking boards, it does not need treating, but if it soaks into the wood and spreads into the timber as it disappears, your deck does need to be treated.
  • Make sure the ladder is on firm, flat ground and not tilting to one side.
  • If you’re using an extendable ladder, make sure at least three rungs are overlapping for stability.
  • Always make sure the ladder angle is at 75°. To do this, you should use the ‘1-to-4 rule’ – move the base out by one unit for every four units you extend the ladder up. For example, with the ladder extended to four metres, the base should be one metre from the wall.
  • Have somebody hold onto the base of the ladder, especially when you’re climbing up and down.
  • Never lean over or reach more than an arm's length away.

Choose the right time

As a general rule, April through to September is the best time for painting the outside of your home. However, temperatures below 50c, rain and direct sun can all have a negative impact on the drying process, so you’ll need to plan your project in carefully.

When it comes to the best time of day, always try to time your painting so that you’re working on walls that are in the shade. This will prevent the paint from drying out too quickly, which could cause it to crack or bubble.

Wickes tip When carrying out any exterior projects in the sun, don’t forget to wear sunscreen and stay hydrated. It’s very easy to get burnt whilst completing tasks in high UV.

If you aren’t able to work in the shade – say on a south-facing wall that’s always in the sunshine – complete the painting late in the afternoon or early evening when the weather is cooler.