How To Prepare A House For Exterior Painting

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If you’re planning to paint your house, you’ll have a lot of preparation beforehand. The secret behind a good paint job is the hard work done before the brush touches the building.

High-quality preparation work before painting pays off well, while poorly prepped surfaces can only lead to disappointment. Armed with this knowledge, here are some tips to help your exterior paint projects cost less, go faster, and look better.

Watch the weather

When planning to start a paint project on your house, schedule it during dry weather. If you plan to tackle the painting project on weekends, prepare for at least three weekends. Have a buffer for when it unpredictably rains or humidity sneaks in. However, the best time for you to commence the project is when temperatures are between 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Prepare and clean the area

The area near the walls you’re about to paint should be free of grills, patio furniture, and trash bins. Move them away from the walls of your home so that you can have adequate space to work in. You could trim the bushes and trees and cover the landscaping with a sheet or drop cloth in case of spilling. The outlet boxes and fixtures must also be covered and taped with painter’s tape and drop cloths.

Wash the exterior

Washing the exterior of a house with a pressure washer enables the fresh paint to stick to the surface. If you don’t have much flaking or peeling paint, you can use a hose, cleaning solution, and a scrub brush to wash the walls. Homes with mildew infestation will require chlorine bleach or a mildewcide for cleaning. If your home has softwood siding or shingles, then it’s best to hand wash it with water and detergent.

Test for lead

Lead-based paint can cause harm to your pets, family, and neighbors if they inhale the dust. The Environmental Protection Agency or EPA banned lead paint on residences in 1979; thus, if you built your home prior, you could have lead paint. Scraping off this paint could lead to serious health problems; therefore, it’d be best to test it first. When exposed to a considerable volume, you could suffer from anemia, damage to the brain and kidney, and weakness. There are various lead testing kits online, or you can take the chips to a testing lab for examination.

Sand the exterior

Sanding and scraping are among the most challenging tasks in preparation for painting your home. Most preprinted surfaces need to have loose and flaking paint scraped off and sanded. Although it’s a highly tedious process, it’s crucial as painting on flaking paint will cause the new paint to flake off. Power sanders can help speed up the process, but you should be careful not to inhale the flakes.

Caulk gaps and replace rotten wood

Look closely at the damage that could be on the paint, such as peeling paint. You might have to caulk surfaces, fill holes, and remove loose paint. Scrape it away by hand or use a wire brush or a power sander. At this point, you should also replace all the broken or damaged wood. Painting over these is a waste of time and resources because you know they can fall apart any time. In extreme cases, it can even be dangerous for those in and around the house.

Prime bare spots and stains

Using a paintbrush, you can prime any exposed areas or stains with a stain-blocking primer. The primer penetrates and seals the affected area so that the paint can bond to the surface. If you want to change the paint color of your home to more than a few shades, apply a primer coat while ensuring even coverage. The heads of nails and screws need to be sprayed with a metal primer to prevent them from rusting and bleeding through the paint.

Start painting

Having done all the above, it’s time to give your home a fresh coat of paint. However, cover your light fixtures, mailbox, trim, and doors with a plastic sheet and painter’s tape before painting. Paint your home from top to bottom while applying two coats. You’ll not encounter any wall painting problems if you follow this guide.


Painting the exterior of your house doesn’t come without preparation. You need to time the project when there’s good weather; prepare, clean, and wash the area to be painted; test for lead; sand the exterior; caulk gaps and replace rotten wood; and prime bare spots and stains before starting to paint. This way, preparing well aids you in getting the job done right.

MIT Citations

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This Is How Much it Will Cost to Give Your Home's Exterior a Fresh Coat of Paint. My Domaine

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How to Remove Paint From Wood. Real Homes

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