How the Pros Prepare Homes for Exterior Painting

calander May 9 , 2023 user-iconAnderson Painting
Side of a house.

Preparing a home for exterior painting is like preparing a canvas for a masterpiece. Just as a painter meticulously smooths their canvas before adding vibrant hues, the pros know that the key to a flawless paint job lies in the preparation of the surface.

In this article, we'll discuss a few general steps professionals take to prepare homes for exterior painting.

Why It's Important to Prepare Your Exterior Before Painting

Before we proceed to the steps, let’s discuss how important the preparation phase is.

You want the new paint to last as long as possible. You also want a flawless finish. All these results can be hard to achieve if you skip the necessary preparations.

All the dirt, peeling or flaking paint, and other debris on your home’s exterior can prevent the paint from sticking to the surface. Additionally, your home’s exterior surfaces may have existing damage, such as rotten wood, cracks, water stains, etc. If you paint worn-down surfaces, the paint job is less likely to last very long.

Preparing the exterior of your home can take some time and effort, but it will save you plenty of headaches and money. With proper preparation, you’re sure to get satisfactory results.

How to Prep Your House’s Exterior for Painting

So, how do you prepare exterior surfaces for painting? Here are what pros typically do:

Plan Ahead

If you're planning to start an exterior house painting project, note that scheduling is an essential aspect that should not be overlooked. A well-planned schedule helps to ensure that the painting job is completed within the agreed-upon timeline and that you are satisfied with the results.

Scheduling allows the painter to determine the optimal time to start the project based on weather conditions, which can significantly impact the quality of the paint job. For example, if the exterior painting job is scheduled during the rainy season or in high humidity, the paint may not dry properly, resulting in a subpar finish. On the other hand, scheduling the job during ideal weather conditions ensures that the paint dries evenly.

Prepare the Outdoor Area

Before anything else, it's crucial to prepare the job site. Professional painters will remove any items near the house, like trash bins, patio furniture, and anything else that could get in the way. If there are items or furniture you cannot remove, cover them with either painter's tape or drop cloths.

Aside from removing or covering a handful of items near the area to be painted, it's also important to cover shrubs, flower beds, and other vegetation to protect them from paint spills and drips. You can also simply relocate plants that are potted.

Power Wash Walls

Cleaning is a crucial step in prepping an exterior for paint. All that dirt, debris, cobwebs, and sometimes mildew on your house's siding will prevent the new coat of paint from properly adhering to the surface.

There are many ways to clean the walls. You can use scrub brushes, detergent, and a garden hose. But professionals usually choose pressure washing over these methods because it's faster and more efficient. A power washer can easily reach high up onto houses and crevices that are otherwise challenging to reach using a regular garden hose.

If you are planning to use a pressure washer to clean the exterior of your home without the experience or aid of a professional, be mindful that the equipment can be a bit tricky to use. You need to use the correct pressure. Too much pressure could damage the surface you are cleaning. You also need to find the right angle to prevent the water from getting behind the cement or whatever material your walls are made of.

It's generally better to leave the power washing job to professionals to prevent more costly damage.

Repair Damaged Surfaces

A quality exterior paint job can last for years. But if you paint over a damaged surface, you won't be able to maximize the lifespan of the paint. That's why pros ensure every surface is in its best condition before applying a coat of paint.

Walk around your house to find areas that need fixing, like rotten wood, cracks in plaster, and missing siding. Address all these problems before painting the exterior of your house. You can hire pros for this job. Some contractors, like Anderson Painting, also offer carpentry services, so you don’t need to hire different experts for different tasks.

Scrape or Sand the Surface

Scraping or sanding is also an important step, especially if the surface you're painting has existing flaky, peeling, or high-gloss paint. It should also be done on uneven surfaces. The goal is to ensure the surface is smooth enough for the paint to adhere well.

For surfaces with existing paint, it's crucial to determine the type of paint before anything else. Residential properties built before 1978 may have used lead-based paint, which can harm your family and even pets. You can use a lead testing kit, which can be bought online, or take a paint chip sample to a lab to determine whether the paint contains lead.

If the paint tests are positive for lead, contact a certified painting contractor to handle lead paints. Don't attempt to scrape or sand the paint yourself because improper handling can result in serious health complications, like diminished motor skills and learning disabilities.

Priming the Walls

If your wall has stains, wrinkles, or textured areas, you must apply a primer before painting. Primers ensure maximum adhesion, which will make the paint last longer. It also acts as a sealer, preventing porous surfaces from absorbing the first few coats of your paint. In addition, primer can hide imperfections to achieve a uniform paint finish.

Not all paint primers are created equal. For example, acrylic can work for nearly all bare wood but won't be a good choice for cedar or redwood. For the best results, use a suitable primer. There are many options on the market, so choosing which suits your exterior can be overwhelming. In this case, you can seek help from the pros.

What’s Next?

After applying a primer, wait for it to dry before applying a coat of paint. It can take up to three hours, depending on the humidity in your area.

Once the primer has dried, you can apply the first coat of paint. Wait for the first coat to dry before applying a second coat. The drying time of the paint also depends on the humidity and temperature in your area.

You may need to make a few other preparations, like covering windows and door frames with masking tape for a clean and precise paint job.

Though these steps may seem time-consuming, know that patience and thoughtful preparation will pay off in the long run. Remember that rushing through the painting process can lead to subpar results that can ultimately be costly and even more time-consuming to fix.

Why Hire Pros for Your Exterior Painting Project

Transforming the exterior of your home is a significant investment, but you deserve a stunning finish that will stand the test of time. That's where the pros come in. With years of experience, professional equipment, and quality materials, we'll deliver a flawless finish that exceeds your expectations and leaves your neighbors in awe.

For more on how to prep an exterior house for painting, contact Anderson Painting today.

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