Painting a room or home may seem superficial, and many people even believe that anyone can do it. Most can indeed hold a paintbrush, but not everyone can paint well. A good and a bad paint job can make or break the look and feel of a space or building.
Many homeowners choose to paint, let’s say, the interiors by themselves, and that’s fine. But they may want to hire professional painters to get the job done right. Painting contractors near me can do interior or exterior painting (or both). But does each of them require entirely different skill sets?
The fundamental steps of interior and exterior painting are the same: cleaning and prepping the surface, priming (if needed), and painting. However, interior and exterior painting differ in many ways.
Differences between interior painting and exterior painting
- Where is it done? – Interior painting is done inside the building. Exterior painting is done outside the building.
- Purpose – The interior painting’s main objective is to enhance the appearance of the space and make it more comfortable to live in daily. On the other hand, the exterior painting’s primary purpose is to protect the house from the elements (heat, rain, snow, UV rays, etc.)
- Time – Generally, interior painting takes less time to plan and carry out unless the surfaces require sanding or priming. On the other hand, exterior painting involves many considerations, such as the weather conditions and the house size. Thus, it takes a lot more time to plan and finish.
- Surfaces covered – Interior painting typically covers drywall and wood. In contrast, exterior painting covers various surfaces, such as wood siding, vinyl siding, stucco, masonry, etc.
- Degree of prep work and paint – Interior painting requires much less prep work and paint unless the surfaces are damaged, or the paint needs to be scraped because it is peeling or chipping. On the other hand, exterior painting requires a lot more prep work and paint since the surfaces are exposed to various elements ranging from dust to moisture. Thus, the surfaces must be washed, cleaned, repaired, and primed before painting begins. Some exterior surfaces may require extensive repairs, especially when mold, insects, rodents, or rotting wood cause damage. Also, exterior painting usually involves using sturdy ladders and scaffolding, especially for multi-story homes, so painters can do prep work and paint at heights. Many paint crews even use harness systems to allow them to do their work safely.
- Cost – Interior painting is usually less expensive and generally easier to do. In contrast, exterior painting is typically costlier as it requires more paint, materials, and labor.
- Paints to be used – Although there can be some subtle differences between interior paints and exterior paints, the main (and perhaps most significant) difference is the choice of resin. It is the component that binds the pigment to the surface that is being painted. In interior painting, weather and temperature changes are not a big issue, so interior paints have to be rigid that, in turn, can resist smearing and scuffing. On the other hand, exterior surfaces must withstand weather elements, fading, chipping, peeling, and mold. Due to these reasons, the resins used to make exterior paints had to be softer.
Do painters need different skills for interior and exterior painting?
As you have read about the significant differences between interior and exterior painting, you may have realized that each requires specific skills as professional painters.
For example, you can use a spray painter for interior and exterior painting. In most cases, spray painting is more suited to exterior paint jobs, as it can reach higher areas that a brush or roller cannot. Spraying paint to the surface is not easy, as it also requires stable weather conditions to prevent an instance called over spraying, where the mist of the paint does not make it to the surface being painted. Spraying paint also needs a skillful and steady hand and thus, requires a professional who has experience operating paint sprayers.
Cleaning interior walls mainly consists of dusting with a clean and damp rag. In contrast, exterior walls typically require washing, as they take more beating from the weather elements. While a bucket of water and a sponge or garden hose may work, cleaning exterior walls requires much more. You may also need detergent, bleach solution, TSP, mildewcide, or any other chemical solution suitable for this purpose, depending on how dirty the exterior surfaces have become. Some cleaning solutions for exterior walls may even be caustic, requiring users to wear protective gear. Not all residential painters may be familiar with these cleaning solutions, so you will want to find one with experience with these chemicals.
Pressure washing or power washing is another option for cleaning exterior walls. The high-pressure spray of water and detergent solution from the pressure washer blasts a buildup of dirt, soot, grime, mold, and mildew off exterior surfaces. However, one must use the power washer with caution. If the pressure washer is not handled correctly, it can do more harm than good. The high-pressure blast from this equipment can break windows and even cause injury. You need a professional who’s trained and experienced in using this equipment. Not all residential painters can operate a pressure washer. If you choose this cleaning method, ask the painters in your area if they also offer pressure washing.
Compared to interior painting, exterior painting is more involved, demanding, and complex. These reasons are why it requires skilled and experienced painting contractors near me who deal with different surface types, paint finishes, paint application methods, surface cleaning methods, and much more. The next time you hire a contractor, make sure that they have sufficient skills and experience to paint your home in a way that will satisfy your expectations.