Exterior Woodwork and Metalwork

Before doing any outside work it is always a good idea to check the weather forecast and plan the work for a suitable day. Never paint wood when it is wet as the new paint will soon blister and flake off.

Never paint anything outside when it is wet, likely to rain, foggy or frosty, as all these conditions will damage the paint and the finish and masonry paints will wash off, so you will just be creating problems for yourself and wasting your time doing the work. Wait for a better day.

Essential tools and preparation advice

Start by making a plan or timetable for the work. If you do not have the necessary scaffolding such as ladders and steps, then you can hire these from a local hire shops. You may need to hire a mobile tower for areas that are difficult to reach, which will need to be booked in advance. If you have a conservatory with no means of safely getting to the surfaces above which need painting then you will need to get advice from a specialist scaffolding company.

Split the workload into sections using existing features such as bays, parapets, lintels, down pipes and window frames as natural breaks to disguise joins. The traditional way of working is to start at the top of the house with facias, soffits, bargeboards, gutters etc. and work down. However, if you are working on your own house when time allows it may be better to complete individual elevations at a time and set yourself realistic daily objectives. This way you will not get fed up with the work and the contrast between the areas finished and those not started will motivate you to keep going. Decorating is not just about nice colours it also about protecting your home and increasing its value.

The basic principles of surface preparation, order of work (start at the top and work down) and application techniques such as "Cutting in" are similar to those described for interior painting. Just the materials will be different.

The most important part of exterior decorating is the preparation. The outside surfaces take a serious bashing over the years from the weather and it is only when they are quite bad that most of us decide to redecorate.