How to Prep for Painting a House

Preparation is the most important factor in determining how long a paint job will last. 

1. Clean

If the paint on your house is sound and you are only looking to change the colors, very little preparation might be all you need.  Wash it down with a power washer or a garden hose and a cleaner.  However if the weather has begun to destroy the surface of the old paint, the preparation process is much longer. A good paint job should easily last several years. In fact paint companies such as Sherwin Williams, Rodda Paint and Pittsburgh Paint now have products that carry life time guarantee. Those companies will stand behind their products for as long as you own your property. Do the job well, and your paint project will not only look good, but it will last for years.

2. Inspect

After you pressure wash and clean the exterior of the house, it will be easier to determine the condition of the exterior surface.  You should look at all exterior walls including under the eaves, around windows and doors, and along the foundation. The things you need to look for are cracked siding, soft siding (a sign of possible dry rot),  popped nails, peeling or flaking paint, mildew, and stains. Areas that are found to be damaged should be repaired prior to the painting. Your painting project will only be good if the prep was done right!

Always buy the best materials you can afford. The better paints contain more expensive vehicles, this helps to ensure a tougher and more durable protective coat of paint.

3. Get tools and materials

Here’s everything you’ll need to collect to get the paint job done right the first time:

Electric Drill with a Brush Attachment Wide blade wall scraper
Putty Knife Sandpaper (coarse, medium, and fine)
Sanding blocks Detail scraper
Masks and Goggles – to protect eyes and lungs while sanding or handling solvents Goof-Off to clean up dry drips of latex paint. (Follow all label instructions.)
Appropriate paint solvent Anti-rust primer
Metal enamel Tape
Broom Paintbrush for removing dust
Disposable gloves

SAMSUNG4. Scrape and Sand To Remove Loose Paint

Use a wire brush and a wide-blade putty knife to remove small areas of defective paint. Scrub under the laps of siding as well as on downspouts and gutters. For faster work on metal, use a wire brush attachment on an electric drill. For more extensive paint removal, invest in a sharp pull scraper — a tool with a replaceable blade that’s capable of stripping old paint all the way down to bare wood with a single scrape. Hold the scraper so the blade is perpendicular to the wood, apply moderate to firm pressure, and drag it along the surface. Keep the blade flat against the wood so it doesn’t gouge the surface. If your home was built on or before 1978 it most likely contain lead base paint. There are tests to determine if you have lead paint. You should know that lead base paint is very hazardous to all of us specifically children under the age of six. There are ways to deal with such a project and you should contact a professional paint company that is certified and licensed to do the work.  The tips we provide are only good for homes and any other structures built after 1978.

Sand the edges of scraped spots using a  piece of sandpaper wrapped around a wood block. For larger areas, it’s best to use an electric orbital sander. Move it up and down or back and forth across the surface to remove old paint and smooth rough edges at the same time. Don’t use an electric disc sander or a belt sander which can leave patterns in the wood that will show through a new coat of paint.

5. Prime

Once you have removed all the loose paint, you should apply a primer, especially if the scraping and sanding has exposed raw wood or bare metal. The kind of primer you use depends on the kind of paint you’ll be using later. For latex paint, use latex primers; for solvent-thinned paints, use solvent-base primers; and for metals, use metal primers. Not only do these coatings provide extra protection against the elements, they also form a firm foundation for finishing paints. Also, priming is always required when you’re working on new wood.

6. Finalize Prep Work

Go through and fix all the items found during your inspection — reset popped nails, repair caulking, fix rust stains, replace damaged boards.  Remove house numbers and any other decor that is not being painted.  Prune and cover shrubs.