Painting the exterior of your house is part science, part art. Because the house might have many different surfaces, you'll have to be familiar with a variety of preparation methods as well as a number of paint products and application techniques. On top of that, you'll need to consider upcoming weather and organize your work based on the local forecast as well as the path of the sun during the workday. And the exterior of your house probably represents the largest surface you'll ever work on, so you'll need to do much of the work from ladders or work platforms. All this requires planning, preparation, and patience.It's no surprise that preparation of the surfaces you're painting is the key to success. In fact preparation will consume approximately 80 percent of the total time you'll devote to the project. But this time will pay off in the long run. Paint on a well-prepared surface can last for decades.
Moreover if you use quality products to begin with, you don't actually have to complete the job all at the same time. Quality primers and paints will adhere securely to the surface and won't fade rapidly, so you can paint one or two walls this year and another set of surfaces next year without worrying that it will look like you've used different colors. Just be sure not to stop in the middle of a wall.
Dealing with lead-based paint
Prior to 1978, lead was a major ingredient in paints, but legislation that year banned its use in paint because it is a carcinogen. Because you may be scraping, sanding, or otherwise removing paint in preparation for the new coating, you should ascertain, if possible, when that paint was applied. If that's not possible, contact the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or your local health department for instructions on how to proceed where lead paint may be present.
To further acquaint you with the hazards associated with lead-based paint, request a copy of the most recent literature from the EPA. It will provide information about how to test for the presence of lead paint, steps to take to minimize your exposure to lead where lead-based paint may be present, how to remove it safely, and in-place management of lead-based paint.