How to Prepare Your House for Exterior Painting

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August 24, 2022
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Modern blue house at sunset.

8 Steps to Best Prepare Your House for Exterior Painting

You can easily change the curb appeal of your home by painting it. But before you get to the fun part, there is some prep work that needs to be done first. By taking the time to do this prep work, your paint job will turn out much better in the end. Here are some tips on how to prep your house for paint.

Exterior Painting Preparation Overview:

  • Use a power washer to clean the exterior of your home
  • Scrape peeling, flaking, or loose paint
  • Repair surface flaws
  • Caulk
  • Re-putty and repair windows
  • Use drop cloths to cover and protect your yard, garden beds, and any furniture you have.
  • Make sure the weather is good
  • Paint a swatch on your home's exterior

Before you begin to prep for your paint job, it's smart to test for lead paint. Houses that were built before 1978 have a good chance of having lead paint. Lead paint can be very harmful to you, especially when prepping for a paint job because there is a good chance that you will be scraping or sanding during your project.  

Preparing Your House Before Exterior Paint Job

Step 1: Clean the exterior of your home with a pressure washer

Making sure your home's exterior is clean, is essential for a good paint job. You don’t want any dirt or grime to be left on the surface before you start exterior painting.

The best way to clean your house is with a pressure washer. It's important to be careful when using a pressure washer because if you're not careful, you can damage the surface of your home.

Be sure to hold the power washer it at least 12 inches away from the surface of your home and use a mild detergent. Be careful when selecting the nozzle.

If the nozzle is too concentrated, this is when you'll accidentally damage your house. Power washing is not used for surfaces that are peeling or flaking.

Step 2: Scrape peeling, flaking, or loose paint

If you notice any areas on your home that are peeling, flaking, or have loose paint, it's important to scrape them off before painting.

By leaving the paint on these areas, it will just peel right off when the new paint is applied. You can use a scraping tool or a wire brush to scrape the paint off.

If the old paint is intact, there is no need to scape all the way to the bare wood. After sanding, it can be painted over.

Step 3: Repair Surface Flaws

Once all the peeling and flaking paint has been scraped off, you'll want to repair any surface flaws or holes. If there are any cracks, dents, or other damage to the surface of your home, now is the time to fix them. This will ensure that your new paint job looks smooth.

Step 4: Caulk

One of the most important steps in prepping your house for a paint job is caulking gaps. This will help to prevent water damage and energy loss.

You'll want to caulk any gaps around windows, doors, siding, trim, and molding. Removing old caulk and re-caulking will ensure a tight seal.

Step 5: Re-putty and Repair Windows

It's important to make sure your windows are in good condition before painting. Any cracked or broken glass should be repaired or replaced.

If there is any damage to the wood frame, this should be repaired as well. You'll also want to re-putty any areas where the putty has come off.

Step 6: Use drop cloths to cover and protect your yard, garden beds, and any furniture you have.

You don't want paint to get on anything in your yard or on your furniture. So be sure to use drop cloths to protect and cover them.

You can purchase drop cloths at any hardware store. It is much easier to cover things than to try and remove paint from them!

Step 7: Make sure the weather is going to be good!

You'll want to check the weather forecast before you start painting. You don't want to paint in the rain or when it's too hot or humid outside.

The ideal weather for painting is between 50 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit with low humidity. Also, don't paint in direct sunlight. You should paint the east-facing side of your house in the afternoon, and the west in the morning.

Step 8: Paint a swatch on the exterior of your house

Paint a small swatch with the paint you plan on using, and make sure that it is the correct color that you want. Nothing will kill spirits quicker than painting half your house and realizing it's not the color you wanted.

Use a Primer:

A primer is a sealer that helps to adhere the paint to the surface and provides a consistent surface for painting.

It's especially important to use a primer if you're painting over a dark color with a light one, or if you are painting exterior siding or trim. It's also important to use primer for new wood or bare wood.

You can purchase primer at any hardware store. Be sure to read the labels and follow the instructions carefully.

Exterior Painting Prep Safety Tips:

  • Wear proper clothing and safety gear. You'll want to wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, gloves, and goggles.
  • Be careful when using a ladder. Be sure to set it up properly and have someone hold the ladder for you if you can.
  • Don't paint in the rain! Wait for a clear day to avoid any accidents.

You now have all the steps to prepare your house for your exterior project. By following these steps, you'll be sure to have a smooth and successful exterior paint job. Painting your house is a big project, but by taking the time to prepare your home correctly, you can ensure that the job will be done right.

Picking a color to paint your house

If you need help deciding which color to paint the exterior of your home, check out our blog to help you pick a great paint color. This can be the most stressful part of the project, so hopefully we can help you to be confident in your decision.

Check out our exterior painting page for more information that may help you!

I hope this blog helped you with prepping your house for your next exterior painting project. If you want to hire a professional to take care of it for you contact us for a free estimate!

Fred and Dyan Bays, the owners of the Bays Painting
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