Your Place: Taking it to the paint (job), with expert tips

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

A couple weeks ago, I began repainting the exterior of my house.

My last paint job — done in the summer and fall of 2003 — has held up extraordinarily well. It needs a bit of freshening up, though, so it’s time.

This, however, will be my final painting effort on the exterior of this house.

I neither expect to be living in the house 13 years from now, nor do I entertain the thought of spending several hours a day on a ladder at age 79.

I hope, instead, to be playing tennis and golf and playing with my grandchildren by then.

And napping, don’t forget napping.

For those of you who plan to embark on an exterior-painting project this spring, I offer some suggestions from my go-to source for advice, the Paint Quality Institute in Spring House, Pa.

Since the paint on my cedar-sided house is "sound and continuous," for the most part, and lead-free, with minimal sanding, scraping, caulking and filling, I’ll give you the PQI basics:

—Treat any mildew with a 3:1 mixture of water to household bleach, leaving it on for 20 minutes and adding more as it dries. Wear eye and skin protection. Rinse thoroughly.

—Dull any glossy paint by sanding with fine-grit (No. 220) garnet paper. Wear eye protection, dust mask, and work gloves

—Remove dirt, chalk, etc. by scrubbing with detergent and water (rinse thoroughly) or by careful power washing using plain water. Note: Woods that tend to be very soft, such as old and weathered cedar and redwood, can easily be damaged by the high-pressure jet of power washing.

—Priming is helpful but not necessary. Some latex paints, however, may specify use of a primer if used over oil-based paint.

—Use a high-quality exterior latex or oil-based primer that is recommended for repainting wood surfaces.

—Do not leave a primer unpainted.

—Use top-of-the-line exterior, 100 percent acrylic latex house paint in flat, satin, semigloss or gloss finish.

—Use high-quality oil-based paint if there is surface build-up of old oil-based paint.

—Do not apply oil-based paint over latex paint.

For more tips: www.paintquality.com.