Painters often tint primer close to the color of the top coat, but Wallis thinks that's a recipe for "holidays," or missed spots. Instead, he tints his primer a contrasting color. "If I can see the color coming through, I know I need to apply more paint," he says. On the cottage shown in this story, he chose a gray-blue primer to go under a peach top coat. Thornton House Painters

When the primer is dry, caulk all small joints (less than ¼-inch-wide) in the siding and trim. Most pros use siliconized acrylics—paint won't stick to straight silicones—but Guertin and O'Neil like the new, more expensive urethane acrylics for their greater flexibility and longevity. O'Neil stresses that it's shortsighted to skimp on caulk. "If the joint fails, you're back to square one." Guertin uses the lifetime rating as his quality guide. "I don't expect 35-year caulk will last 35 years, but it should last longer than a 15-year caulk." House Painting Thornton

Small random-orbit or pad sanders make this job go faster. (Wallis first covers these boundaries with Synkoloid patching compound so no edge is visible after sanding.) As shown, you want to make sure that there is a feathered, smooth transition from exposed wood to old paint. For areas that might get close scrutiny, you can follow up with a 100- or 120-grit rubdown to erase any scratches. Thornton Home Painting

Small random-orbit or pad sanders make this job go faster. (Wallis first covers these boundaries with Synkoloid patching compound so no edge is visible after sanding.) As shown, you want to make sure that there is a feathered, smooth transition from exposed wood to old paint. For areas that might get close scrutiny, you can follow up with a 100- or 120-grit rubdown to erase any scratches. Thornton Home Painting
"Father son, Leonardo and Michelangelo as I would like to call them (Rick & Richard in fact). Did the interior trim of myn1,600 unit, master bathroom some ceilings and loads of touch up in all rooms. Professional, no mess, great advice on what made sense, timely and efficient. They took 2 days to do a job that I though would take longer - done really well and done to the budget. I would recommend them and will be using them again for another paint job I have coming up." House Painting Thornton
"Father son, Leonardo and Michelangelo as I would like to call them (Rick & Richard in fact). Did the interior trim of myn1,600 unit, master bathroom some ceilings and loads of touch up in all rooms. Professional, no mess, great advice on what made sense, timely and efficient. They took 2 days to do a job that I though would take longer - done really well and done to the budget. I would recommend them and will be using them again for another paint job I have coming up." Thornton House Painting
A thorough scrubbing is a must before painting any exterior surface. It removes the dirt and broken-down paint residues that keep fresh coats from adhering and gets rid of mildew that grows on paint in all but the most arid climates. Most contractors clean with pressure washers, but in the hands of someone unfamiliar with the equipment, these can gouge wood, shatter glass, and drive water behind siding and trim. Using a hose, a pump sprayer, and a scrub brush is slower but safer, and just as effective. Thornton Home Painting
When you need outdoor paint to freshen up an exterior surface, stop by Lowe's to get started. Whether you need house paint or exterior door paint, Lowe's has latex paint and oil-based paint in hundreds of exterior paint colors so you'll always find the perfect shade. If you're covering up an already painted surface but not sure what's there, we have oil-based primers and other primer paint that can help you create a prepped surface that's ready to go. Stop by Lowe's to tackle that outdoor project. Thornton House Painters
As the dance proceeds, keep an eye on the weather. Rain can wash freshly applied latex right off the wall, and a temperature dip below 50 degrees F two days after application can interfere with adhesion and curing and dull the sheen of glossy paints. (Latexes like Sherwin-Williams's Duration and Benjamin Moore's MoorGard Low Lustre are formulated to tolerate temps as low as 35 and 40 degrees, respectively.) House Painting Thornton
Paint Guarantee: If you are not completely satisfied with your interior and exterior liquid paint purchase (excludes stains and resurfacers), simply return it in its original container to any US Lowe’s store along with your receipt within 30 days of purchase. We will replace it with a can of comparable paint or refund your money based on our return policy (Lowes.com/return). Lowe’s reserves the right in its discretion to limit this pledge in the event of suspected fraud or abuse. US only. Thornton House Painters
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