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9 Tips for Your Home’s Exterior Painting Preparation

exterior painting preparation

Like many things involving home improvement, planning is the key to success when it comes to exterior painting. From ensuring the weather is right to selecting the right paint, a lot goes into preparing for exterior painting. If you’re planning on painting your home, here are nine simple tips to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible:

1. Safety First

Before anything else, always take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety as well as the safety of your household and property:

  • Wear protective clothing. Exterior preparation and painting can expose you to many harmful substances like corrosive chemicals, construction particles, and paint fumes. It’s best to protect your skin, eyes, and lungs with gloves, safety goggles, and respirators.
  • Know your ladder. Read your ladder’s instruction manual, paying particular attention to the sections on its working mechanisms and safety precautions. Before using it, check the condition of the rungs and if the spreader bar is fully locked and extended.
  • Follow the three-point rule. When on a ladder, maintain three points of contact at all times (both feet and one hand). If you straddle between the ladder and house, for instance, you put yourself at a greater risk of slipping and falling.
  • Keep kids and pets away. Make sure your kids, pets, and other vulnerable members of your household remain at a safe distance while you’re painting.
  • Use drop cloths. While more for sanitation than safety, you probably know how messy it gets if you’ve already tried DIY painting. By covering your valuables with drop cloths, tarps, or canvas, you can avoid a big headache later on.

2. Clean the Surface

Wash away dust, dirt, mold, and other residues from the surface. These contaminants will greatly lower the adhesion of your new paint. Pressure washing is the most convenient way to clean exterior walls.

If you don’t have a pressure washer, you can use a garden hose to wet the surface and scrub away tougher spots with a brush and some gentle cleaner. As a bonus, a good wash will also give you an opportunity to spot existing damage.

3. Check the Condition of Your Existing Paint

If you want to avoid flaking or blistering over time, it’s important to assess the state of your old paint. Simply mark “X” on the surface using a sharp blade, firmly apply some masking tape over the “X,” and then quickly rip it off.

If you find any paint getting stuck to the tape or lifting the edge of the “X,” then your surface can’t serve as the base and will need to be scraped or sanded.

4. Sand Down the Paint

Using sandpaper to smooth and even out your surface while removing any leftover paint is one of the most essential steps to preparing for a perfect finish. For most surfaces like wood siding or cement walls, medium-coarse sandpaper is enough to scrape away the old paint without damaging the underlying surface.

5. Repair Any Damage

Home exteriors are subject to harsh elements 24/7, so there’s bound to be some damage. You can repair minor holes and cracks with mortar or exterior filler.

Simply apply the right amount of filler, smooth it out with a pallet or wet knife, and let it set completely. For larger or deeper holes and cracks, you might have to build multiple layers of filler. Make sure every layer is fully dry before applying the next one. Lastly, even out the surface by rubbing it with sandpaper.

6. Check the Weather Forecast

With your exteriors fully prepped, the only thing left to do is wait for the perfect time to prime and paint. Weather plays a vital role in terms of convenience and the quality of your output. By checking the forecast and avoiding these conditions, you can set yourself up for the best chance of success:

  • Rain is the most obvious enemy because it will wash away your hard work and create a big mess.
  • Extreme heat and direct sunlight can make it challenging to create an even application because the paint will dry very quickly.
  • Windy days will cause your paint to dry faster and can deposit dust on your surfaces.
  • Chilly days are also a no-go. Paint and primers won’t set right in temperatures below 50 degrees.

The perfect forecast to look for is a stretch of days with milder temperatures (between 60-85 degrees), moderate cloud cover, and minimal wind.

7. Choose the Right Paint

Similar to finding the right moment to paint, it’s just as crucial to choose the best product. Your paint should be UV-resistant, temperature-resistant, scratch-resistant, and waterproof. When in doubt, always invest in a higher quality product because you will be looking at it for a long time.

8. Seal and Prime

If you plan on painting a porous surface like timber or brick, you need to seal and prime it first. Otherwise, the paint will soak into the material and create a dull, uneven finish. Use a roller with an oil-based primer to prepare larger areas quickly. For smaller, hard-to-reach surfaces, you can use a small paintbrush.

9. Know When to Call an Expert

Don’t hesitate to call a professional painter if the process becomes too overwhelming. If you have a double-story home or a house that hasn’t been painted in over three decades, it’s usually best to bring in a pro.

By investing in exterior painting by AP Contractors, you can rest easy knowing the job will be done correctly and won’t chew up your weekends for the next few months. The team at A&P Contractors is more than happy to discuss your options and recommend some trending exterior house colors. Learn more about residential painting services by calling 470-615-1775 today.

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