How to Prep a House for Exterior Paint


The difference between an exterior paint job on a home that lasts, and one that peels off annoyingly fast, is prep work. Preparing your house for painting is an arduous task that requires patience and diligence. Smart house painters know that your prep work should take you three times as long as paint application and cleanup combined. Here’s how to properly prepare the exterior of your home for a fresh coat of paint.

Things You'll Need

  • Power washer
  • Putty knife
  • Paint stripper
  • Wire brush
  • Exterior primer
  • Power wash your home. This will serve to remove any grease, mold, dirt, grime and particularly loose paint that may be peeling. Power washers are inexpensive to buy or rent. If you can afford it, it’s a piece of equipment every home owner would do well to own. They serve all sorts of purposes, and can help you to keep the exterior of your home clean for a long time after the new coat of paint is applied as well.

  • Use a gel-based paint stripper and a putty knife to remove as much of the undercoat of old paint as you possibly can. The more old paint that you leave on your home, the more likely it will be that you will get bubbles in the paint as the new paint dries. Follow the instructions of your chosen stripper carefully, ad each stripper brand comes with its own set of instructions due to differing chemical compositions.

  • Brush any excess paint scraps with a wire brush, being sure, where possible to follow the grain of the siding. The goal of any paint preparation is to get as much of the previous paint job off as possible, leaving a clean, fresh surface on which to apply a fresh new coat of paint.

  • Replace any siding pieces that are worn out or damaged. It will do you no good to paint a house with bad siding, as the systemic problems inherent to the house will not have been solved. Take the time to do it right.

  • Use a hammer to batten down any loose siding nails. Over time, siding nails loosen, and part of prepping the home for a fresh coat of paint is eliminating obstacles that snag paintbrushes, and making sure that the surfaces that get painted will stay on the home as long as they are required. The tighter your siding is, the less likely it is to allow weather or insects to destroy your home.

  • Paint a primer coat over your home before applying the main paint or trim colors. Primer serves to provide a good undercoat for what color of paint you choose to apply. Once primed, there is good news: You are now ready to paint the exterior of your home in a manner that will last better than if you try to cut corners on prep work.

Tips & Warnings

  • May your home appear well cared for, partly as a result of taking the time to prep your home properly before choosing to apply paint to your exterior walls.

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