Preparing to paint your home’s exterior

Thinking of taking on the task of repainting your home’s exterior? Before you pop open a paint can, there are a number of steps you first need to take in order to ensure that your surfaces are clean, dry, sound and possibly even primed.

The thought of all this prep might give you a headache, but it definitely beats having to repaint all over again in a couple of years when your lack of prep starts to show.

Good preparation leads to a great paint job which looks amazing, protects your house from the elements and lasts a long time.

Let’s get to it:

Cleaning up

The sure-fire way for a new coat of paint to peel or crack prematurely is for you to paint over a dirty surface. So take the time to give the exterior a good wash. There are a few ways of going about this, depending on the size of your home and how much dirt needs to be removed.

Good old scraping by hand is the best way to go about it, but it’s also the slowest. Power washing with a water jet is a good way to achieve fast results, but you’ll need to be careful not to cause any damage. If used badly, a strong water jet can compromise wood quality, saturate walls and worsen the bond of intact paint.

At some point in the cleaning process, you’ll have to get down and dirty with a paint scraper, sandpaper and a stiff-bristle brush.

If your existing paint is glossy, it’ll need to be scraped or sanded, and flaking paint needs to be removed. When scraping, be careful not to gouge your wooden walls.

Once the exterior is clean, it’s vitally important that you leave it time to dry. If you’re painting with an acrylic paint, give your house a full day. For oil-based paints, give it a week. And if you’ve soaked your walls with a power washer, you may need even longer than that.

Make it sound

Creating a sound paint surface involves carefully examining the area for holes, cracks and gouges and filling them up with an exterior wood filler. Once this is dry, you can sand and smoothen the area. If you discover that large portions of the exterior are rotting or crumbling, then you’ll need to get these replaced asap.

Time to Prime

Not every surface needs to be primed, but if there’s a really big difference between your old and new colours, then a good prime coat is advisable. The same applies to stucco and bare wood surfaces. You should also consider the type of top coat you’re using. If you’re not sure about priming, then consult a professional.

Ready to paint? One last checklist
By now you’re probably raring to go, but first give the house a quick once-over to remove obstacles, such as window screens, light fixtures and storm doors, and protect valuables such as plants. Get out the tape and tarp and use appropriately.

By following these suggestions, you’re giving yourself the best opportunity to do a great exterior paint job. However, nothing beats getting the pros in, so if you want the best possible job done, get in touch with us at Pelham Painters.

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