Step 10: Put Up, Touch Up and Clean Up

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Equipment list:


Touching up is a key component in achieving a truly professional paint job. This is also the time to reattach anything you removed from the house, and, finally, clean all your equipment and properly store it.


You’re almost done painting the house but not quite. First you need to put up all the stuff you took down: downspouts, hose holders, thermometers, bird feeders, hanging plants, and address numbers (go buy new ones because the old ones will look exactly that). This is a good time to reconsider the notion of putting back up trellises with vines that sit against the house. In my opinion it’s never good to have foliage touching the house or even getting that close, because it results in more water being there and that can damage the paint job and also cause mold and mildew. But if you’re in love with the trellis look, put ‘em back up now. Put the outdoor furniture back where it belongs. If you removed all or part of your outdoor light fixtures, put them up now or consider replacing them with new ones that befit the beautiful new paint job. You can get decent new fixtures for not much money.

Second, you need to touch up any little spots you left behind while you were focusing on the entirety of the paint job. Pour a little bit of body color into a one-gallon cutting put with a brush, then make another setup in trim color. Walk around the house slowly with the two colors, peering into all the corners and examining all the lines closely (bring some blue tape to help straighten up lines between colors). Touch up underneath hose spigots, around light fixtures, the sides of downspouts that got nicked when being put back up, etc.

Be aware of “flashing.” Sometimes touching up a spot in the middle of a siding board will be visible because the light reflects off it in a different way. The way to avoid flashing is to just repaint the entire board (between joints). A weenie roller can make quick work of this if you have a lot of siding to touch up.

And finally, it’s time to clean up. Pick up the paint chips from the flower beds, remove any paper and plastic still adorning the house and pick up any scraps on the ground. If you got paint anywhere it shouldn’t be—the vinyl windows, the concrete, the deck, the roof, the door glass, anywhere—clean it off now by whatever means necessary and pay penance for not doing so when it was still wet, when it would have been easy. A simple wet rag will often clean dried speckles off vinyl window frames if you apply a good amount of pressure and the paint hasn’t been on there for months. A “razor scraper” will get dried speckles off the glass itself. If the bleach from the pressure-washing streaked your windows with a white residue that regular glass cleaner can’t get rid of, try Sprayway foaming glass cleaner. It works.

If you dripped paint onto asphalt shingles it can’t easily be cleaned (don’t pour solvent on your roof), but it can be disguised effectively by tossing a handful of dirt on it and grinding it in with your shoe. If you dripped paint onto concrete or cement anywhere, De-Solve-It Contractor’s Solvent and a stiff brush can probably take care of it. Let the cleaner soak into the spot for a couple minutes before you brush. If you choose to use a wire brush, be aware it might scratch concrete or cement. A very stiff nylon brush is a better option. Last but not least, clean all your equipment completely and put it away neatly. Hang brushes from nails if you don’t have the cardboard sheathes they came in. I don’t recommend taking the time to clean roller covers, just toss ‘em. Shake out and fold all your drop cloths. Make sure your paint sprayer has paint thinner in the lines if you’re putting it in long term storage.

Okay, now you’re done. Crack a beer, sit down on the lawn, and look at the beautiful house. You’re done.