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Alternatives to a Total House Painting Job
Let's say you just bought a house. The color is to your liking, and the paint isn't peeling or cracking. The only problem is that the color looks a little dusty, and maybe the trim is a little soft in a place or two. Are these reasons to have a total house painting? Not necessarily. There are a couple of alternatives that will help spruce up the looks of the exterior of your new home, as well as the interior.
Alternatives to a total house painting-power washing
The exterior of your house is, of course, the first thing people see, but that is actually not the main purpose of house painting. The main purpose is to protect the frame of your house from the elements and prevent damage to the interior. Since painting an entire house can be a fairly large undertaking, if you know it has been less than two or three years since the house was last painted, you can probably put it off for a couple of more years. If that is the case, a good power-washing may be the only thing the house needs to bring back the new-paint shine. You can rent a power washer from many home improvement or hardware stores for a reasonable cost. Just be aware of the type of exterior material, so you don't damage it with too much water.
Alternatives to a total house painting-repainting the trim
Another option would be to just re-paint the trim, maybe change the color. The best way to do this is to scrape of as much of the old paint as possible, paint the trim first with primer (one or two coats depending on the colors you use), then with the color of your choice. If you discover any wood rot (soft spots in the wood), paint two coats of paint over the spot. This will prevent it from spreading and causing more damage.