Prepare to Paint Your Home's Exterior
Time Required: Over 1 day
As with all painting projects, the key to success is preparation. If you take some time to properly prepare your home’s exterior and the surrounding areas, your painting process will go smoothly. This guide will walk you through the necessary preparatory steps you should take to get professional-looking results.
Tools & Materials
- 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.