Exterior painting - How do you paint the underside of horizontal surfaces?

I'm wondering what I can use in the way of application method to paint the underside of my roof overhangs, both at the eaves and running up the side of the gables (between the gable rafters and the walls). Brush, some kind of roller system, or spray? At the eaves, there are rafter tails, and I assume I'll use a brush, but painting the bottom of the soffitts with a brush seems like it would be a messy proposition, with paint flowing down onto my hand. Is there a method of using a brush that prevents this?
This area has 1x8 pine boards, some of which are unfinished (just had roof replaced) and some with very uneven and old paint. I figure to prime, probably with Tinman's formula, posted in this newsgroup back in 2001:
1). 75% Zinsser's Cover Stain or Pratt & Lambert Suprime. 2). 15% Flood's Penetrol. 3). 10% Naphtha. 4). Add Japan drier (at one ounce per quart). 5). Tint to tonal range of topcoat
I'm not sure what to do about the already painted surfaces. Maybe scrape or fill or sand, I just don't know. I assume the existing paint has lead content, since the exterior of this house hasn't been painted since the 1970's, maybe earlier, in all probability.
I'm wondering also how long I can delay painting after applying my prime coat. Being color blind, I'm hesitant to decide on a color scheme. I figure I'll probably use a Benjamin Moore acrylic exterior paint, probably 3 colors - one for walls, one for window frame, another for sash. Possibly, I'll use the window frame color for the rafters and soffitt bottoms.
Thanks for any help.
Dan
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If you get paint on your hands your putting to much paint on the brush. Only get 1/2 of it wet and keep can used with only a little in the can, dont dump your brush in it. Use a good brush. Roll what you can then brush. Spray if you want but cover everything even the roof. It just takes a bit of experiance. Primers should not go bare more than 6 months.
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You should consider Vinyl Siding. I had a clap board sided house and I ripped it all off. I put up insulation board and then vinyl siding. I also have a brick home with wood soffit. I ripped the wood out of the overhangs and replaced with vinyl soffit material. It was an easy job for the Do it yourselfer and I'll never have to paint it again! It can also help with ventilation if you use the ventilated soffit material. If you paint, you have to keep repainting every few years. I did this to one of my homes 10 years ago and the other 7. They both look as good now as when the job was first completed. I never regretted it. I would deffinately do this to any home I ever own.
Just my two cents Pat
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All homes here where I live have been built that way for years. Vinyl windows,siding, perforated vinyl soffit, aluminum facia/eave trim-color match, all rain gutters same no painting what so ever. There are many available heritage colors available these days and the look and grain texture resembles wood.

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komobu wrote:

Ever saw how well vinyl stands upto hail storm and fire? They fade too. I'd rather pain than having vinyl siding. IMO, they look Ugly. Only reason they use so much vinyl is, cost. Tony
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I dont think Paint stands up any better to Fire....and I have never seen hail travel upwards and damage soffit...:-)

I think painting is much cheaper than vinyl if you are only considdering painting one time versus installing vinyl. That being said, I believe the reason vinyl is so common is because of its low maintenance upkeep. As a home and the owner ages, it gets harder and harder to climb up a ladder and paint. Try hiring someone to paint and see how much it costs. I agree that some vinyl houses are ugly, but so is clapboard. My main home is brick, and I wanted to go all vinyl on the trim and soffit so I wouldn't have to paint every other year.
Take Care Pat
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They don't fade any more, the color in siding made today is all the way through and are guaranteed for life against fading. BTW wooden houses don't stand up to fire either. They make matches out of wood don't they?

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If you are worried about getting a bit of paint on your hand then cut a small slit in a coffee can lid or Tupperware lid and poke the brush thru the hole. Now the drips will go on the up turned lid and you can wipe it off periodically. good luck

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Dan_Musicant wrote:

for spraying? Seems it would make brushing more difficult. In painting anything, especially a house, I would use brush only for edging and on areas too small for roller. With little foam rollers, even the small areas are sometimes a lot easier to do. For sure, you need to scrape loose paint. Clean dust, chalking, mold, etc. As far as smoothing edges of chipped or peeled paint, I probably would not bother. I hate to sand, and would not use glossy paint on a house exterior. Easist way to take care of those would probably be to prime them, then hit the edges you can see with some paintable caulk, smooshed on with fingers. If you can't see edges, they are not a problem.
As far as lead paint goes, use the appropriate mask for sanding or torching, protective clothing that you can shake out and launder well, and shop vac to get the chips so's you can dispose of them properly. If you have a lot of chipped paint coming off during scraping or pressure washing, lay down a roll of window screen .. catches most of it, can lay it out to dry if pressure washed, and then just dump in garbage or haz mat disposal.
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:That's an interesting formula ... why the thinner? I think the Naphtha speeds the drying is the reasoning. I would think that this would be tough to brush on the underside of a horizontal surface. It would be thin for that. Maybe OK for a roller of some kind.
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Most paints will be thick enough not to flow off the brush like that. You only use 1/3 to 1/2 of the length of the bristles to carry the paint. Of course, your proposed paint formula has some thinner, which would make it flow more. I'm not sure if that's a good idea or not, although if you're hoping to paint weathered wood without sanding it perhaps it will help.

If there is lead paint, the proper thing to do is to use a chemical stripper, or to use a mechanical tool that has a built in shroud to collect all the dust, connected to a HEPA vacuum.

The advice I received from my local paint store was to put a flat top coat on of a neutral color. It will be better protection than primer only, and being flat, paint will stick to it better in six months. Of course, you'll still have to wash it before repainting.
Cheers, Wayne
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clipped

IMO, it is a whole lot simpler to do both in same job. Many primers can be painted over within hours, and getting it all done better for paint and primer. Primers vary in length of time before painting; read label. Doing the prep/cleanup twice makes more work.
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