How To Prepare Exterior Walls For Painting

How To Prepare Exterior Walls For Painting


Getting ready to paint your exterior? How to prepare walls for painting correctly will ensure long lasting paint quality. Correct steps in preparation for exterior siding walls outlined below.

Before we get started, should note preparing outside surfaces, prepping an exterior for painting, is about sixty percent of entire work. Actual painting, out of the bucket, on the wall is remaining forty percent of workload. So, having entire exterior correctly prepped, you're more than halfway done.

How Do I Prepare My House For Painting?


Determine Steps Preparing To Paint Exterior Walls

You first want to determine if you want to undertake this monumental task, painting entire exterior of your home, walls being the largest, or hire a qualified contractor.

Learning initial preparation steps for outside wall surfaces for your home, will guide you through this huge portion of painting your exterior.

Should you pressure wash and prime home before painting are key steps preparing exterior wall surfaces before painting. All these topics listed below, will fortify your complete exterior painting project, from start to finish.

You are about to embark taking on a very large home improvement task, painting exterior walls, trim, also soffits.

Being an expert on this subject, having painted 10's of 1000's of homes over the years. Have procured same preparations painting exterior of homes in Denver, CO. following all steps listed below.

How Long Does It Take To Paint A House Exterior By Yourself?


Yes, your time is limited, needing to know just how long does it take to paint a house exterior by yourself? Generally, completing all preparations before actually picking up a paint brush, or spray wand will take 60% of entire job, while actually painting is 40%.

When it's time for painting, after all preparations have been completed, painting walls is half the time it takes painting trim, as trim is generally painted by hand.

How long it takes to paint your exterior really is dependent upon several things, most important your level of expertise, and efficiency of production. How quickly you accomplish each preparation task, could take a novice painter 2 or 3 times as long as an experienced painter who does this day in and day out.

Having knowledge, also how proficient with your time, will either cut number of hours, or add to them completing these tasks prepping your home.

Generally, depending on how much you need to clean, scrape, prime, & mask relates on how much time you need to spend preparing exterior properly. Don't mean to be so ambiguous answering this, but many things are in direct relation exactly how long it takes to paint an exterior home by yourself.

Giving you an average of experienced professional painters painting a home's exterior for an average sized home is as follows;

Three painters work normally 3-4 days 8-10 hours completing an average sized exterior.

This equates to 72-120 hours to complete painting an averaged size exterior home.

Not doing this everyday, your numbers would be increased significantly. Doing this by yourself, plan spending 15-20 days completely painting an average sized exterior home.

Keeping height of your walls in mind. Not only should you have ladders at least 2' higher than top portions you plan painting, but higher the ladder work, increases amount of effort also time it takes.

Don't know about you, but I don't want spending 15-20 quality nice weather days, cleaning, pressure washing, priming, painting my own home's exterior. I hire it out, just like most folks, but using my own company, instead of another paint contractor.

How Do You Clean The Outside Of Your House Before Painting?


When you clean the outside of your home before painting, you will provide the best surface fixing to receive paint, before any following preparations. Making sure not to trap any foreign material under fresh paint. So it's best cleaning exterior of your home before any paint is applied, using a high pressure wash method.

Starting from soffits & gutters, working down walls, this is one of many important steps painting exteriors. Making a great time cleaning gutters if needed. Many pressure washers provide ability to easily apply several cleaning agents at the same time to your exterior.

  • Use high pressure washer normally 2500-3000 psi
  • Working from top down walls, great time cleaning gutters
  • Add cleaning agents like Simple Green®, or Oxi-Clean™ before painting
  • Allow exterior surfaces to dry 24-48 hours
  • Not getting too close to wall surfaces, especially your hands
  • Cleaning all dirt, grim, dust, & contaminates before sealing with paint

Should You Pressure Wash House Before Painting?


Realizing how much surface needs to be cleaned, using a high pressure wash method is by far very best, before painting exterior walls. Not only saving many hours cleaning, but adequately cleaning surfaces. Should you pressure wash your home before painting is a resounding yes.

Just like taking your car to a local manual car wash, taking a pressure wash to your home. Regular city water pressure through a garden hose just will not cut it. Removing dirt, grim, dust, and film off with pressure washer before applying any paint, works best, without sealing anything underneath.

Do You Have To Scrape All The Paint Off Before Painting?


Importantly, knowing that you do have to scrape all loose paint off exterior home's siding/trim will warrant proper adhesion of fresh new paint.

A profound statement in painting world is "Paint is not smart! Only as good as the substrate it's covering". New paint will not bond properly to any loose paint, therefore scraping all loose paint before painting is essential.

Using a sharp flat blade 5 way painter's tool, or 2 inch putty knife, lifting up loose paint currently not adhering is vitally important. Working a 5 way painter's tool just like a dental assistant checking for tarter, with a dental tool. Tapping questioned areas, listening for a hollow sound.

If tapping sounds hollow, with air in between, it's time to scrape this old paint away. After scraping, best to tap some more, making sure of a solid sound near where you scraped. Removing all loose paint before picking up any caulking gun.

Do I Need To Sand Walls Before Painting Exterior?


Several sanding tools available to you enabling you to properly sand walls before painting exterior. Two biggest reasons why you need to sand walls, both having a pleasing visual effect with finished work.

First reason or need is where any old paint has been scraped away. Where a paint mil thickness difference is, those edges need to be sanded, feathered down, by sanding. This makes top coat of paint smoothest. As a painting contractor, having an eye to details, I can quickly spot where a wall surface has been scraped, not sanded, & repainted. Certainly not  professional.

Second biggest reason why you need to sand walls before painting exterior is where you have used any exterior Spackle, painter's putty, or fillers. Filling in any deviations in walls, fillers are generally not as smooth as need be.

Of course, you probably do not need to sand entire wall surfaces before painting exterior, but you want to make sure everything is uniform after paint is applied. Sanding these areas does just that.

How To Caulk Exterior House?


After scraping all loose paint from your home's exterior, it's time to start caulking. Like removing all loose paint, you need to remove all loose old caulk also. If one side of caulk has cracked away from surface, it's time to help other side. Removing entire caulk by cutting it away, by using a razor knife.

Once all old caulk has been removed, it's time to re-caulk same areas. Using a quality quick dry siliconized latex painter's caulk is your number one sealer. Caulking any 90 degree edges where trim boards, soffits, and fascias meet. Running an even fine bead of caulk, using long caulking strokes.

Good way smoothing new caulk is using index finger, or wet rag, wiping fresh new caulk, smoothing it out. Caulking after scraping loose paint and removing old caulk is best, for a professional exterior house painting job.

Plan on spending some time, carefully doing this, lasting many years to come. Replacing blades as they become dull cutting caulk. Just be careful using sharp razor knifes, as fingers just as soft as old caulk your cutting out. Cut away from you, not towards you.

Do I Need To Prime The Exterior Of My House Before Painting?


Rarely does an exterior home requires to be fully primed before painting. If previous paint is still properly adhering to substrate, it offers an excellent surface accepting new paint. However, any bare wood where scraped off needs a good adhesive bonding primer.

We typically spot prime most homes, where all paint is removed. If paint is flaking, peeling away more than 40% of a home's exterior, probably best to prime entire home first, but this is not ordinarily the case.

Good to note primer bonds to bare wood better than exterior paint coatings. Exterior paints bonds to primers better than bare wood, so makes perfect sense to prime exterior bare wood areas first, before actually painting.

How To Mask Exterior House Before Painting?



Almost done with exterior preparations, just needing to mask, covering all areas not to receive fresh new paint. Using 1 1/2" painter's masking tape, brown paper, 3M masker, and drop film. Covering windows completely, concrete, light fixtures, door handles, roof shingles, making sure cars are not near garage doors.

It's OK to mask on window trim boards, as once spraying is completed, you'll want to brush and roll trim surfaces by hand. Making sure tape is pressed down firmly, so no over-spray underneath.

This is a very important phase in a home's painting preparation. Much easier to remove masking, than cleaning afterwards, especially if preparing exterior windows for painting.

Oh my gosh! You'd better set aside a couple more days, getting those ready for painting, depending how many you have. You should follow same steps listed above.

These are the exact steps we take preparing exterior walls for all painting jobs we undertake. If you feel this requiring too much time to take on yourself, or ladders just too high, we suggest contacting a qualified painting contractor handling all this professionally.

If you do plan taking on preparing your exterior walls for painting, and like this article, let us know! Please like, share, ping, and/or comment below.

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Shaylee Packer
1 year ago

I didn’t realize that it would be a good idea to clean the exterior of the house before you have it painted. That does makes sense, as the paint will adhere better on a clean surface. I will have to keep this in mind the next time I have my home painted.