How to Prep a House for Painting
Time Required: Over 1 day
Note: Practice lead paint safety. If the house or surface you're painting was built before 1978, see EPA's renovation, repair and painting program for guidelines.
- Trim or tie back any bushes and limbs that will get in your way.
- Cover nearby plants with drop cloths or tarps.
- Turn off any air conditioning units and cover them with plastic and tape.
- Remove any shutters and close the storm windows.
- Inspect your siding and trim carefully, looking for holes and cracks, then make the necessary repairs.
- Fill holes and damaged areas with wood filler. Once dry, sand smooth.
- Reglaze windows if the old putty is cracked or shrunken.
- You can remove the old putty with a chisel or stiff putty knife, careful not to knick or break the glass.
- Apply the new glazing compound as needed, pressing it in place with a putty knife.
Safety: Wear gloves and other protective gear when using chemical cleaners.
- Use a brush or broom to scrub the siding and the trim with a solution of trisodium phosphate or a phosphate-free substitute. This removes dirt and grime that would keep new paint from adhering.
- You can also use a pressure washer to clean the walls, but be careful not to force water into any cracks between the siding.
- Remove existing paint only if it’s loose or flaking. If your home was built prior to 1978, be sure to follow proper safety and containment procedures for lead paint.
- Rinse the entire house with a garden hose until the runoff water is clear.
- If you used TSP to clean the house, rinse twice to ensure the solution is completely gone.
- Let the siding and trim dry completely, usually two days, before painting.