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Safe access is always important when painting outside. Consider hiring fixed scaffolding if you need to work at height.
Where wood is in poor condition with many layers of paint, you may want to strip back to bare wood using paint stripper or a hot air gun. Take all recommended safety precautions if you do this.
Use paint that is specified for exterior use. For walls the most commonly used paint is exterior emulsion, which is generally called masonry paint. This is a water-based paint and dries quickly. Two coats are always recommended.
Any algae or mould on external walls must be treated with a fungicidal solution and washed down before any paint is applied. Most exterior paint does contain fungicide, but, in areas of extensive growth, a fungicidal wash is appropriate preparation.
Ideally paint two undercoats on woodwork before the gloss topcoat is applied. It is now possible to buy mid-sheen finishes (such as eggshell) for exterior woodwork. Rather than using undercoats, you may just apply 2-3 coats of the finish.
When estimating quantities for exterior painting, be guided by the coverage rates supplied by the paint manufacturer. This can differ greatly from brand to brand, and is also dependent on whether you are painting a bare masonry surface or a previously painted one.
If using a varnish, stain or oil, sanding with a palm sander is often necessary to remove all old finishes before a new finish can be applied. Most varnishes and stains are 2-3 coat systems. Oils may require more coats and will certainly need a further maintenance coat at least once a year in order to retain the wood colour.
Areas of rot must be treated or replaced before decoration. Small areas of rot can be cut out with a scraper, and allowed to dry before applying a wood hardener. The hole may then be filled with a two-part, epoxybased filler that will dry to an extremely hard finish, which, once sanded, may then be painted.
Plastic guttering and upvc windows can be cleaned down with a mild detergent solution. It is also possible to buy paint for coating upvc windows. Plastic guttering can also be painted, with two coats of gloss being a recommended system.
Metal surfaces, such as gates, should be cleaned down with a wire brush, and any bare metal primed with a suitable metal primer before undercoats and topcoats are added. Alternatively, use a specialist metal paint that requires no primer.
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