(HIT) – As the days get longer and the weather warmer, a homeowner’s thoughts turn naturally to. . .painting! Yes, as the spring maintenance season gets ever closer, we start our to-do lists and plan out our projects. But when it comes to home painting, what to do first?

One of the best ways to begin is to thoroughly assess the painted condition of your entire property, both inside and out. Take a slow walk through and around your home, with pad and pencil in hand. Check out everything. Take notes. And bring along your significant other – not only because two sets of eyes are better than one, but to get buy-in as well.

Inside the home, the desire for a more attractive appearance may take precedence over maintenance needs. Are you tired of your room colors, or are you simply ready for a change? Jot down your thoughts, along with any ideas you have for new paint colors.

But don’t neglect to note the condition of your interior paint. Have your painted walls seen better days? Is the trim banged up? How do the baseboards look? And don’t fail to assess the condition of your ceilings; most people paint them far less frequently than the walls. . .and they often look that way.

Outside the home, start your inspection at the front door, which gives friends and visitors the all-important first impression of your home. Make sure it’s in tip-top shape.

Next, look for signs of paint failure on your exterior walls – evidenced by bare wood, peeling or flaking paint, mildew or mold. If you have any masonry (on walls, foundation or a fireplace), check for white, crusty efflorescence. Aluminum siding? Look for vulnerable bare metal and unsightly white oxidation, an indication that corrosion has set in.

Check all the areas where two different surfaces come together. Make sure they are properly caulked and that the caulk is in good condition. If you see a problem, make a note of it.

Naturally, you’ll want to inspect your exterior trim, windows, shutters, and doors, but don’t forget to also look at your garage door, gutters, downspouts, railings, and decks. A fresh coat of paint can help maintain them all, not to mention your metal light fixtures and lamps, outdoor furniture, swing sets, picnic tables, and fencing.

Now that you have an inventory of your painting needs, categorize the projects in terms of their urgency or desirability. You should actually assign every job a numerical or alphabetical rating, indicating which ones to do first.

Next, see if you have the brushes, tools, and accessories that you’ll need for your most urgent projects. That way, you can purchase them all in one trip to the paint store, saving valuable time that you can spend applying your paint.

Generally speaking, it’s better to get to the exterior paint jobs first, starting with the areas of greatest need. You just can’t fool (around with) Mother Nature. By delaying urgent outdoor painting projects, you run the risk that your home will suffer damage. So, start outside.

If there are multiple exterior paint jobs on your “urgent” list, you might be able to bunch similar projects together, saving yourself a lot of time and effort. For example, if your metal railings, metal furniture, and a metal lamppost are all badly in need of painting, you can work more efficiently by doing them all at once.

Keep addressing your most urgent outdoor needs until you run into weather that is not conducive to outdoor painting – for example, especially wet, cold or windy days, which may interfere with good paint film formation. When the weather takes a turn for the worse, move indoors.

Follow the same procedure with your interior painting that you followed when doing the outdoor work. Start with the projects you deem most urgent, either from an aesthetic or maintenance perspective. And since Spring has sprung, you can comfortably work with your windows open so as to keep your rooms well-ventilated as your paint.

By identifying and completing your most important projects first, you’ll do a better job of protecting your home with paint. And if afterwards you sneak away for a short vacation or a round of golf with your friends, you’ll be able to do so guilt-free!

The Paint Quality Institute was formed in 1989 to educate people on the advantages of using quality interior and exterior paints and coatings. The Paint Quality Institute’s goal is to provide information on the virtues of quality paint as well as color trends and decorating with paint through a variety of vehicles, including television appearances, newspaper and magazine articles, and instructional literature. Please be sure to visit the Paint Quality Institute at www.paintquality.com. PAINT QUALITY INSTITUTE and PAINTQUALITY.COM are trademarks of The Dow Chemical Company (“Dow”) or an affiliated company of Dow.

Courtesy: Home Improvement News and Information Center