Exterior Finishes for Homes

The Basic 4 Finishes For Your Home's Exterior

The exterior and it's finishes, are the first view your potential buyer will get of your home when you go to sell. The Finish of a home adds to the Street Appeal and this is very important! Yet, you don’t want to overdo it. Be reasonable in what you plan for your exteriors and hopefully you have done your homework in buying this foreclosure to determine how much work and what part of your renovation budget will go into the exterior.

Painting interior walls is a breeze. While protection is a concern, it's mostly about looks. But exterior home flnishes--as battered as they are, by snow, rain, wind, sun, and failing objects--are so much about protection that it's imperative to learn about your various options.

Your exterior finish options fail into two major categories: paint or stain. Use paint on practically any surface; use stain on wood only. Due to its thin body, stain brushes, rolls, or sprays very quickly. If you have very rough-hewn natural wood, you may want to go in the direction of stains.

1. Exterior Paint: Not Always the Best Choice

When homeowners think of exterior finishes, they naturally think of paint. Let's first look at exterior paint's strong points. Painting your home is usually the least expensive way of protecting your home's siding. Paint spray guns--also inexpensive to rent or even to buy--work well on exteriors. Paint can cover up stubborn stains and give your house a fresh, new took.

But if you have natural wood siding, paint may not be the best choice. Once you cover up wood grain it's nearly impossible to go back. And buyers of cedar shake homes want to see cedar shake--not a paint job.


• Maximum color and covering.

• Protection.

• Any type of siding material*.

2. Preservatives: Staving Off Deterioration

Think of preservatives as car wax for your house: it maintains the current look of your house's exterior, adding nothing and taking nothing away. The aim of exterior preservatives is to freeze time.

Preservatives are for wood siding exteriors only. They soak into the wood's pores, preventing the infiltration of moisture. While it is claimed that preservatives do not discolor wood (and this is largely true), preservatives will add a light shade to the wood. Preservatives:

• Keeps siding "as is."

• For wood.

• Almost no color change.

3. Semi-Transparent Stain: When You Want More Color

Semi-transparent stains capture some of the best of paint and of stains. They impart some color to the unfinished wood siding but do not overtake the wood's natural color. Like other stains, semi-transparent does not form a shell over the wood (as does paint), instead sealing up the wood's pores and keeping out water.

Semi-Transparent Stain:

• Oil-based.

• Provide some color and can partially cover blemishes.

• Works well on rough, weathered wood.

4. Solid-Color Stains: Ultimate Color

Solid color stains are like paint, but in stain form. So, you get nearly as much coloring and blemish coverage as with exterior paint, but in the workable form of stain. But solid color stain, unlike semi-transparent, does have enough "body" that it will form a coat. If you have natural wood grain that you want to show through, do not use solid-color stain. You will see almost none of the wood grain. Solid color stains can be oil-based, acrylic, or a combination of oil- and latex- based.

• Highest degree of pigment of any of the stains.

• Use when displaying the siding's wood grain is not a concern.

• Easier to apply than paint because it is thin (but not as thin as semi-transparent stains).

= Some siding material, such as vinyl siding, does not paint well Again hopefully you have inspected the exterior finishes closely before your purchase, but for reminders check the Inspecting of Exteriors and Exterior-finishes.

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