Painting large outdoor surfaces, whether it's a fresh coat on a home's exterior or you're sprucing up the paint on a commercial building, is a big job.
Even if you've been doing it for years, it's still best practice to adequately prepare and plan your project before launching into it. There's a lot to consider to ensure the work is performed safely with minimal risk and maximum ease, so read on to find some top tips for a job well done.
Large buildings are likely to need a little more than a ladder to access them. If you do use a ladder for lower-down parts of the surface, make sure you do a thorough check of the structure before stepping on it.
Make sure it's in good working condition, all parts are locked in place, and the ladder is placed on firm, even ground. Avoid leaning, shifting your weight suddenly or reaching too far out while on the ladder.
For bigger projects, including multi-storey buildings or areas where several painters are working at once, you may want to consider hiring a scissor lift to help make the task easier for everyone. This is a large platform atop a criss-cross framework that moves directly up and down at the push of a button. It can usually be controlled from inside the safety cage (where painters will be working at a height) or from the ground. It's usually on wheels, so can be driven to the exact location and set at the perfect level for your task.
If the whole building is being repainted then scaffolding can provide excellent ongoing access over an extended period of time.
If you're trying to paint a tight spot, perhaps the side of a building that's nestled closely next to another, a cherry picker may be more suitable for your requirements. It's a smaller cage that can be hoisted in up and down and often can move from side to side, plus you can store all your paint supplies in the cage with you.
This is an obvious one, but if your project is going to take longer than a few days to complete, you'll want to keep a close eye on the long-range weather forecast. Paint needs time to cure, which won't be as effective if it gets damp while it's still drying.
You shouldn't paint when it's too cold outside, either, as all paints thicken in the cold and become harder to use. This is especially the case for solventborne enamels. However, painting in extremely hot conditions can cause water to evaporate out of paint, which will also cause it to thicken and become difficult to apply. If your waterborne paint is drying too fast in warmer conditions, try adding Resene Hot Weather Additive which will slow down the drying rate.
Ideally, cloudy or overcast conditions with no chance of rain are the best for painting outside – so look to the sky before you get cracking.
One thing to consider when painting outside is protecting your skin from the sun's harsh rays. Even cloudy days can lead to sun damage, so make sure you're properly covered up with good quality painter's overalls or a collared shirt to protect your neck, a hat to look after your face and ears and plenty of sunscreen.
Best painting practices also call for the use of gloves, protective eyewear and a dust mask, especially when removing existing paint, sanding the surface or working with solventborne products. Always check the information on the paint container before you start to make sure you have all the protective gear you need and all the instructions to get the job done.