Your Guide to Exterior House Painting

The exterior of our homes face the brunt of the weather which gradually wears away at its protective layers.

PTTG's founder Phil Robinson talks us through the process of exterior painting, considerations for colour selection, common challenges, and maintenance tips.


What are some signs that it's time to repaint the exterior of your house?

Phil – There are two reasons why you paint the outside of the house. One is to make it look nice and the other is to protect it from the weather. 

The clue that your property is vulnerable is when you see bits of paint flaking off (particularly around the windowsills), or cracks showing in the render. These are some signs that your property is not as well protected as it could be by the decorating.  

So it's more than purely cosmetic?

P - It’s much more than cosmetic.The value of exterior decorating largely lies in the protection of the building. But it's how it looks that tells you it's time to do it again.


Can you walk us through the process of painting the exterior of a house from start to finish?

P – If you are hiring in painters, you will need to request a quote. At PTTG, we can sometimes quote from photographs, but we would prefer to have a site visit.

Once we have agreed on the cost we will then get the scaffolding up and start prepping. This means rubbing down the surfaces and removing any loose or flaking paint. Occasionally at this point defects may come to light that have been missed at ground level or hidden by apparently sound painting. You can't have a really good look at the exterior until you've actually got up on the scaffold and started gauging in. If there are any changes to the initial quote, we will always flag them as early in the process as possible. 

If everything is sound, as is usually the case, we will complete the prep work and then start applying the base coat. 


 What factors should homeowners consider when choosing paint colours for the exterior of their house?

P –Certain cities such as London have set rules about what you can or can't do, so check with your local council before you choose your colour! It’s also worth being mindful of the impact of your choice on your neighbours. Whilst what's inside your house is very much the expression of your personal identity, the outside of your house is the identity of a complete street.

Bear in mind that hot countries paint their houses white for a reason. When painting any exterior in a dark colour, you're attracting a higher level of heat onto that surface. My advice, particularly with climate change, is to be very careful when choosing dark colours for your exterior - particularly on the woodwork. If you want to maximise the longevity of the painting, then go for a white gloss which will reflect both light and heat and minimise damage and peeling.  

Are there any specific weather conditions required for painting the exterior of a house?

P - We always suggest avoiding exterior decoration between Halloween and Easter when the weather in the UK is generally colder and damper. You might get away with it, but once the scaffolding is up the clock has started running on hiring costs. So, if the weather closes in or the temperature drops during that time you're going to pay extended time. Below 8 degrees, paints and filler won’t cure, and that includes at night time! So spring, or summer is really the best time for exterior painting.  

 What happens if you book during the summer, and it rains? 

P - We always keep an eye on the weather forecast if we have an exterior project coming up. A day or two of rain is okay, but if two weeks is forecast right across your chosen dates we will try and reschedule. If possible, we would always recommend having your exterior and interior painting and decorating done by us at the same time. This means that if our team are painting the exterior and rain does arrive, they can move inside.

The problem arises when the weather closes in for weeks at a time. We then face the issue of needing to move our painters & decorators onto other jobs which they will have to complete - they won’t be able to jump back onto the exterior job when the sun comes out.  

What are some common challenges you encounter when painting the exterior of a house, and how do you address them?

P - Foliage is probably the key challenge we encounter. Both for scaffolding and for access to the actual fabric of the house, particularly trees or climbing plants that cover the façade.

In this case, we would liaise with the client and (if they have one) their gardener to carefully unfix the climbing plant and re-attach it to the scaffold as a temporary home. Once the painting is finished and dried, the plant will then be re-attached to the outside of the house and then the scaffold comes down. Knowing and planning all of this makes the process much more seamless which is why photos, videos, and site visits are so useful. We’ve done this multiple times and it’s very doable. But it's just getting everyone booked at the right time. 

How do you protect landscaping and other outdoor features during the painting process?

P -  We will always work in harmony with the clients to move or protect any plants that can't be moved. 

What advice do you have for homeowners who want to maintain the appearance of their freshly painted exterior?

P - There’s not an awful amount you can do. You can’t control the weather. My advice would be to get it done properly and don’t try and cut corners by going for someone who offers a cheap quote at the expense of good preparation. 

Don’t try and eek out the exterior painting for ten years. It makes it more difficult to keep track of how long ago you had it re-decorated if you just patched bits up that needed done. Getting it done regularly with good decorators will ensure the longevity of the work.  

Do you do intermediary repairs? 

P - Not really. If the symptoms are showing somewhere it probably means they're about to start showing somewhere else. The other thing is that if you start doing it piecemeal you lose track of how long it's been since you last had it done which creates confusion. 

M - Can you provide an example of an exterior painting project you've completed?

POne particular project was Globe House Central in Twickenham, a beautiful art deco former printing works which we restored with Keim Mineral paint


It’s a fantastic landmark, and the opportunity to work on preserving this heritage site was a real moment of pride for the team. We hope you agree it looks truly stunning. I often drive past it which gives me a little thrill. It’s on the route to Heathrow from Wandsworth so keep a look out for it next time you drive past! 

If you notice the exterior of your home is beginning to flake and peel, then contact us to arrange a quote.