Wendl, it's always preferable to get some coverage on while the stuff is on the ground. It saves a lot of time. As to the best finish to use, I think if you stick with the majors, pretty much anything you choose will be comparable. A lot of the guys here like SW Superpaint for exterior. I like using BM Moor/glo, gard, life products myself. When you're choosing among the main companies, it pretty much comes down to preference rather than quality. Though I prefer BM, if an SW is closer, I might use Superpaint. IMO, they're pretty much interchangeable. Talk to the guy at your preferred store and he can help you choose a finish type and product that will do what you need at a price that meets your budget.