Important Painting Steps For Homes Exterior
Knowing the most key steps to take when painting a home's exterior, you'll be in the best position, saving time or money down the road. These steps of preparations help paint's adhesion properties, keeping the elasticity and gloss at it's best, preserving the outside portion of your home for the longest duration. Each different task that is recommended to complete painting your exterior is just as important as the next one. We will go over all of these steps or sections below, making sure what you need to do, before moving to the next one. The key here is not getting in a hurry painting outside for both safety of you, as well as the paint itself.
First Step Painting an Exterior is Power Washing
Just like an artist wanting a clean canvas to start painting, so does an experienced painter painting a much larger scale, your home. Power washing is your first step, cleaning the canvas, preparing the exterior substrate for a fresh coat of paint. Important to note; Power washing or Pressure washing is Not meant to peel paint.
If paint chips come off during power washing that is already lifting up before actually washing, all the better. Ideal keeping your distance when spraying, not getting too close, but close enough to clean off siding and trim. Good idea is using the same techniques like you are washing your car at a local handheld car wash.
However, high pressure water can ruin a substrate, especially man-made products such as Masonite™, James Hardie, or Vinyl. Real wood surfaces are the most vulnerable to high pressure water, which Cedar and Redwood can literally be decimated beyond repair if not careful with the high pressure jets of water.
Before starting anything else, the exterior should be power washed. All dirt, grime, cobwebs and residue should be removed. Any paint that is not currently lifting up should be scraped later, after this has completely dried. A clean washed surface will help paint adhere better and last longer. Power washing also prevents painting over bird crap, wasp nests, and pizza thrown against your home during the last wild party.
Scrape Loose Paint Is Your Second Step
I know what you are thinking. You're wanting to get that caulking gun in your hot little hands, but hold off. You're next step after the exterior has dried, (normally 24-48 hours), is scraping any loose paint. Using a 5 or 7 Way tool is your best suggestion. Similar to a dental hygienist using a tool checking for plaque, but again, on a much larger scale.
Even if the paint is not currently lifting up, does not mean it is adhering to the substrate underneath. Tapping paint with this tool will sound hollow, knowing there is air between the paint and siding, which must be removed first.
This is the time to score the paint, scraping it away before you do anything else. These loose paint chips will eventually come off, lifting up under new paint, so it is imperative you remove it first. If your entire exterior has air pockets under the paint, better plan on spending all summer long, barely scraping by.
Sanding, Filling Mil Thickness Differences Is a Big Step
Want a professional exterior paint job? It will require you to sand paint edges where chips were removed, and old paint is remaining. This thickness is the actual paint mil, normally 10-15 mils or 10/1000th of an inch. If mil thickness differences are not sanded to a smooth feathered transition, get ready for a Micky Mouse, half-assed paint job.
Areas where only a small area of paint has been removed, scraped way, an exterior Spackle can be troweled on, sanding after it has dried, leaving a perfectly smooth surface to paint later. Crawford's Exterior Spackle is ideal for this application, filling voids and unevenness, allowing paint to go on as smooth as the substrate it is covering.
Caulking Most Common Preparation Step
Most common step in painting an exterior is caulking. Caulking fills cracks normally where two pieces of wood come together at a 90 degree angle. Caulking seals moisture and air from penetrating underneath the painted surfaces. All caulking must be done before painting the exterior, which is an important step in your preparation.
Exterior caulk is widely dispensed with a drip-less caulking gun, in a bead or line best for the size of crack covering. Good idea to use either your finger, or rag smearing it smooth, letting it properly dry before moving to the next step painting your exterior.
A typical home will require at least one case (12 tubes) of painters caulk, sealing all areas needed. Make sure the caulk you are using is "Paint-able Painters Caulk", as some caulk is not paint-able, allowing even the best exterior paints not adhering, peeling up only months later. These non-paint-able caulks are widely used by window installation companies, sealing windows, using the cheapest caulks on the market today.
If we are painting a home which is having windows installed, we tell the homeowner to tell the window company to do not pick up a caulking gun, or we cannot warranty the paint job.
Masking & Covering Before Painting
Everything around the exterior area should be covered with 3M™ Drop Film, Brown masking paper, visqueen or plastic sheathing. Reusable canvas drop cloths are also good in certain situations. If you don't want paint to get on it, you'd better mask or cover it.
In older days, some painters would use brown paper around the sides of all windows, folding the corners like a gift package, with neatly creased edges. If plastic was not used in the open centers of the window, and a gust of wind caught the paint spray a certain way, someone would be cleaning paint over spray off the windows! So best cover windows completely.
Mask light fixtures, brick, windows, doors, roof shingles, and all outside items not to receive paint holding masking material down with painters masking tape. Masking and covering is an important step before painting any home, exterior or interior. You had better plan on spending several hours if not days to do just masking alone. Again, you'd better not get in a hurry on this task, or you'll be seeing paint where you did not want to see it afterwards.
Prime All Bare Wood
Most exteriors which are repainted will have spots or areas of bare wood. These areas must be primed, using a high-grade extreme bonding primer first. Even the very best 100% Acrylic Exterior paints grab and hold to primers much better than bare wood surfaces. Bonding primers grab and adhere to bare wood much better, for which they are intended.
Therefore, usually not every surface needs primer, only spot priming bottom edges of siding, spots where oils seep out, or areas where the paint was scraped away. Any wood starting to show deterioration is a good candidate for primers also. This helps seal the surface, thereby allowing a fresh coat of paint to be applied 24hrs later.
Recapping Painting Steps Before Painting Exterior
- Power washing exterior, allowing to properly dry
- Cover all areas not to receive outside paint
- Scrape all loose paint
- Sanding mil thickness differences
- Fill gaps with caulk, exterior Spackle
- Prime all bare wood, Spackle areas
If you don't have a power washer, you can always hire a drown to wash off your exterior for you. However, most will choose to either buy a 2500-3000 psi power washer, or contract this out by a reputable painting contractor in your local area.
Making sure you follow these steps outlined, painting exterior of a home will ensure lasting beauty, and paint protection.
Good luck with your next exterior painting job, and we welcome homeowners, as well as painters with any comments you may have.
If you are interested in house painters Aurora or Denver painting contractors, be sure to visit Eco Paint, Inc. Having over 40 years experience painting homes, with your home our #1 priority, a member of the Denver Boulder BBB with an A+ rating.