Painting your home’s exterior: How to prep

When it comes to your home, curb appeal is paramount. Whether you are putting your home on the market, or just looking to spruce it up, applying a fresh coat of paint to the exterior may provide a massive increase in perceived and true value. A top-notch paint job will create the impression that your home is well maintained, as opposed to sad and neglected. This will also truly protect your most valued asset from the damaging effects of weather and time. In this article, we discuss the basic steps you may take as an owner to prepare your home for a paint job.


Painting the exterior of your home can be a massive undertaking, almost 80% prep and 20% actually completing the job. Although we at Presidential always suggest working with a licensed contractor to ensure top quality workmanship, there are steps you as a homeowner may take to prepare your home for this makeover.

Weather: Firstly, the weather conditions optimal for exterior painting are: mild temperatures, low humidity and little to no wind. This will ensure that the paint dries at a moderate pace, without conflict from blowing debris (dirt, leaves, etc.), UV rays, and other natural obstacles.


Prep: Once you are sure conditions are optimal, the true first step is to clean the surfaces you wish to paint. For brevity, we will choose to focus on siding and trim. Thoroughly cleaning these surfaces is important because choosing to paint over dry, cracking, dirty or flaking surfaces will not yield quality nor lasting results.

Power washing is the most common and quick way to clean siding. A typical power sprayer utilizes between 2000-3500 psi, so use caution while using this tool as to not create more damage, making your home even more vulnerable. Wood etching and water saturation of underlying materials may occur if used improperly. That being said, often times a simple brush scrub may suffice for taking off old paint. If you believe your home’s existing paint contains lead, contact the Environmental Protection Agency for more information @ (800) 424-LEAD. If your home’s exterior shows any sign of mold or mildew, you may want to remedy this by using a bleach solution or other compound before considering a power spray. More info on mold and mildew here.


In addition, you will want to ensure the surfaces to be painted are free of any existing oils, flaking, or anything else that would be a hindrance to a strong bond of the new paint with the materials. Sandpaper, wire brushes, and paint scrapers all may be utilized to achieve this. Working from top to bottom, clean as you go and be careful not to dent or gouge your exterior siding and or trim. If there are existing flaws in the surface, you may also use epoxy fillers or latex caulk to fill these imperfections. Any cracked, rotten, or otherwise damaged areas should be replaced prior to taking action on any of these steps.

If you feel the surface has been properly cleaned, you may now move on to priming. This is not always a necessary step depending on what types of materials comprise your exterior, however, we typically recommend for wood and stucco.


Protect: Now that your home is properly cleaned, prepped and primed, you will want to take one final measure to ensure the surroundings of the affected areas are protected from the paint. This may include masking windows and doors, any landscaping or shrubbery, brick, etc. We recommend using any tarp, or canvas cloth to finish the job. This also may be a good time to do some light landscaping that may need attention i.e.: trimming or removing of any overgrown plant life.


So, now that you know the basics of prepping your home for a fresh new coat of paint, just remember that an exterior paint job can be a huge undertaking. That being said, we always recommend contacting a licensed contractor prior to beginning any job. The more you ask, the more you know.


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