Prepare to Paint Your Home’s Exterior

Preparing for your paint project on your home's exterior will give you the best results

Prepare to Paint Your Home’s Exterior

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.

What You'll Need

Cover anything near house walls
Cover anything house walls - Paint Your Home’s Exterior

• 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.

Repair imperfections
Repair imperfections - Paint Your Home’s Exterior

• 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
Reglaze windows - Paint Your Home’s Exterior

• 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.

Scrub walls
Scrub walls - Paint Your Home’s Exterior

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.

Final rinse
Final rinse - Paint Your Home’s Exterior

• 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.