Proper Exterior House Painting Preparations Steps

Painting the exterior of your home can be a large and expensive project.

Some experts say that you should spruce up the exterior of your house every “this” number of years, while others may claim that a paint job can last up to “that” number of years.

The location of your home will impact how well your paint job is maintained, but there are other ways to ensure you get the best value on your exterior paint job.

It is crucial to consider the proper steps to prepare the exterior of your home for painting to prevent having to repaint it too often.

Let’s ensure your future painting contractor plans to take these steps before contracting your exterior house painting project.

1) Home Pressure Washing Details

The first step in every exterior house painting job is to assess the surface and materials your home is built from.

After the painter has a good idea of the condition of the siding surface, arguably the single most important 1st step is power washing. Power washing your home should remove all chipped and loose paint, mold or mildew, and any chipped wood or loose materials off the surface.


There are two different ways to power wash the exterior of your home: low and high-pressure power washing.

Using high-pressure washing can cause a lot of damage to your home. If the pressure is too high, water can get into the walls, causing water damage, blasting away mortar from brick houses, and gouging wood siding. Water can spray any leftover lead paint chips from older houses into your yard, leaving the chips open to children and pets who could ingest them.

Low-pressure power washing cleans and preps the exterior of your home for painting without the damage caused by high-pressure washing.

However, water alone will not adequately clean your home exterior for a lasting paint job. Three essential additives to properly power wash will help your paint job last longer. This solution should be applied to the entire surface, not just places with visible mold or mildew growth.

The primary agent used is sodium hypochlorite or bleach. The other two agents are copper sulfate and trisodium phosphate (without phosphorus). A higher solution-to-water ratio works more quickly and effectively to kill the living spores found in mold, mildew, and moss.

Adding soap to the mixture can also improve results. If the solution-to-water ratio is too strong, it can damage your home and plants.

2) Scraping/ Sanding

Let’s ensure the top coat is bonding to a solid surface. Any loose paint not washed off should be scraped appropriately and sanded.  This is a critical step.


3) Spot Priming Raw, not primed or painted areas

Don’t believe the hype of paints being able to bond on their own. It’s just marketing. Even the disclaimer on the can states not to paint over raw wood. But we digress on that one. Just take our word for it. Primers are still needed!

4) Caulking and Sealing the Surfaces

After spot-priming the exterior of your home, your painting contractor should now assess the surface again to caulk any open cracks in your siding and trim.

Exterior caulking is a substance designed to seal the joint between two surfaces. It is vital to make sure your contractor is using premium caulking.

A premium caulk will seal cracks long-term and help to keep your siding and trim dry during damp weather. Having these areas sealed will inevitably help fight against wood rot and future paint failure.


Throughout extreme conditions, caulking will prevent insect damage and increase the effectiveness of your insulation, keeping the cold weather and bugs outside where they belong.

Caulking should be done at gaps where the siding meets the edge of the corner boards and around windows and door frames. Caulk any ledges where the siding meets brick or concrete, and caulk the siding around any spigot or pipe that extrudes through your siding.

5) Putting the Nail Holes.

Don’t forget to set and seal those nails. All protruding nails should be reset and puttied smooth to the surface with Painter’s Putty.


Masking & Covering

When the exterior of your home has been properly power washed and prepped, it’s time to remove any nearby items that could get in the way of a great paint job.

Surfaces not meant to be painted should be masked using painter’s tape or covered with drop cloths.

Plants and shrubs close to your home should be trimmed, tied back, or covered so they do not interfere with the painting process or while the paint is drying.

Additional Considerations

1.) If the gutters and downspouts are being painted, the downspouts should be removed to paint the corner boards.

2) When possible, all shutters should be removed. Towards the end of the process, the shutters should be painted and rehung.

3)The house should be re-inspected for any missing caulk and re-caulked where necessary.

Concluding Your Exterior House Painting Project

Prep work is the key to a lasting exterior painting job. To ensure your paint job continues to look fresh, wash your home once a year to keep any mold or mildew at bay.

We provide professional services and are detailed during the exterior painting preparation process. Contact us for detailed service if you live in Raleigh or the Triangle.

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