Prepping for Exterior Painting

Old House Journal|June 2020

Prepping for Exterior Painting
DIY, or hire a pro? Review these stages, all of which are crucial to a lasting paint job, and then decide.
Lynn Elliott

Steps cover repainting of previously painted wood such as clapboards and trim. You can, of course, do some work yourself and hire pros for the rest. Consider tackling one side of the house per year. • Do any carpentry repairs beforehand, including replacement or consolidation of damaged elements. Be sure you have adequately prepared surfaces to support a ladder. Trim shrubbery that’s too close to the siding. Cover plantings with fabric (not heat-trapping plastic) tarps and remove them at night. Using painter’s tape and plastic, mask lamps, mailboxes, meters, etc. as well as windows. Use drop cloths on the ground to contain detergent and scrapings.



The use of a power washer is effective —when done well by someone with experience. The method has the potential to damage the surface, break windows, and drive water into the wall when done by a novice. It’s possible to prep the surface using just scrub brushes, detergent, and a garden hose. Be thorough, as new paint won’t adhere well to dirt, mildew, or failing paint. Using a hose, a pump sprayer, and a scrub brush is slower but safer, and just as effective.


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June 2020