Lowe's Home Improvement

Paint Your House

paint sprayer

Easily upgrade your curb appeal with a fresh coat of paint on your home's exterior. Find information on priming the outside of your home, application techniques and potential problems in this how-to guide.

Paint Primer

A primer will help paint adhere to the surface, providing a more uniform appearance. Use a primer when painting over new wood, bare wood, or repainting over existing bright or dark colors. Ask your salesperson and read the labels before making this decision.

Paint Application

  • Complete exterior repair and preparation.
  • Choose the correct painting tools.
  • Check the weather forecast before starting the job. Rain or high wind can cut a day of painting short and ruin what's already been applied. Today's exterior latex is fast drying, but it still needs time to dry before getting rained on. Oil-based paint definitely needs curing time; check the manufacturer's recommendations. Paint when temperatures are above 50° and below 85°. Heavy rain or high humidity on a newly painted uncured surface can cause blistering.
  • Set the ladder up.
  • Cover bushes, flowerbeds, decks and sidewalks with dropcloths. Tie back shrubs to prevent them from rubbing against fresh paint.
  • Paint the windows and trim first; otherwise, a ladder leaning against your newly painted siding will leave marks. Don't close the windows completely after painting to prevent sticking. Leave a very small strip of paint around the edges of the windowpanes to seal out the weather.
  • Paint the siding next. Start at the top, painting horizontally as you work your way down. Use a scaffold if possible, or move the ladder regularly. Over-reaching on a ladder is dangerous; plus the paint application will be uneven if you can't see the lap marks well.
  • Paint the foundation last.
  • Avoid painting in direct sun. Paint the west-facing side in the morning and the east in the afternoon.

Potential Issues

Sunlight and UV radiation. Sunlight and moisture can cause chalking and tint loss; however, latex paint tends to resist the effects of direct sunlight better than oil-based or alkyd paints.

Water and moisture. Wood expands and contracts due to changing moisture levels. Paint will crack and flake under this stress. Permeable or breathable latex paint allows water to vaporize and escape before damage can occur. Moisture can cause blistering, which leads to mildew growth. Paint additives keep mildew from forming but will not kill existing mildew.

Change in temperature. Superior adhesion and flexibility in paint helps prevent cracking and flaking, caused by the expanding and/or contracting of the substrate (wood, plywood, or hardboard). Top quality acrylic latex paint is an excellent choice for areas with freeze/thaw cycles.


Aluminum and vinyl siding present special challenges when painted. Aluminum siding frequently suffers from excessive chalking and may contain dents and imperfections. Pressure wash or hand-scrub to remove chalk and rinse afterwards. Satin or low luster paint is the best choice for aluminum siding because it hides dents and makes the imperfections less noticeable. A spray application gives the best appearance. Vinyl siding has the same problems with one additional limitation. Vinyl siding has a tendency to buckle or warp irreversibly from hot, direct sunlight. Darker colors will absorb more heat, so select a paint color no darker than the original color of the original vinyl.

Paint Storage & Disposal

  • Clean paint from the rim of the can. Seal container lids tight by tapping with a hammer and a block of wood.
  • Store solvent-based paint cans upside down to prevent a skin from forming.
  • Avoid extreme heat or cold.
  • Disposal methods vary by community. Check your local environmental, health, and safety laws.

Health & Safety

  •  Some paints contain flammable or combustible ingredients or solvents that may be toxic.
  • Always provide adequate ventilation when painting. If you cannot get enough ventilation in the work area, use a respirator.
  • Keep containers closed when not in use.
  • Keep paint products out of the reach of children.
  • Avoid direct contact with skin.
  • Follow label instructions for storage.