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10 Easy Steps to Prep for Exterior Painting

10 Easy Steps to Prep for Exterior Painting

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September 2, 2009

Giving the outside of your home a fresh coat of paint can do wonders for its appearance. Exterior painting helps protect your home from the elements even as it raises your property values.

Ready to get started? Here are ten easy steps to preparing your home for that new exterior paint job.

  1. Thoroughly clean all surfaces. This is usually best done with a pressure washer. The high-pressure stream of water can remove flaking paint and clean in the nooks and crannies. Be careful not to aim the water at windows--depending upon the nozzle, the glass could break under the pressure.
  2. Check for lead. If the house was built before 1978, there might be lead in the old paint. Check with your local health department for information on how to handle lead-based paint.
  3. Work with the scraper. Once you've cleared the lead issue, it's time to get up close and personal. There might be places the pressure washer didn't reach, or areas that require a delicate hand. Scrape away the old paint and sand down any trouble areas.
  4. Repair problems. Do you see any surface flaws, such as a crack in siding or a hole in the wood? Seal it with a proper sealing agent, let it dry thoroughly, and sand the area smooth.
  5. Pay attention to caulking. Does the old caulking need to be removed? Scrape it away from the exterior of doors and windows, then reapply new, paintable caulking.
  6. Work on the windows. Scrape and clean the windows by hand. Be very careful and gentle around older windows. Remove caulk and putty if necessary and replace it with new.
  7. Consider the greenery. Do you have shrubs growing right next to the house? Tie them as best you can, and cover them with a cloth that allows them to breathe yet protects them from the paint. Muslin or linen works well for this. Use dropcloths to protect flowerbeds.
  8. Use the pressure washer one more time. Blast the house one last time with the pressure washer to remove any debris left over from scraping.
  9. Prime the surface. Check with your local hardware store for the proper primer to use for your surface. Not all are created equal, so take your time in choosing what you need.
  10. Choose the proper paint and tools. A high-quality exterior paint, good rollers, a sturdy ladder, and the proper painter's tape can make the difference between a great job and a poor one.
  11. No Time? Or too much to handle? Find a reliable painter near you! Sit back and relax.

Exterior painting is a beautiful protection for your home, one that is worth the time and energy. Now, ready...set...paint!

About the Author: Shannon Dauphin is a freelance writer based near Nashville, Tennessee. Her house was built in 1901, so home repair and renovation have become her hobbies.

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