How to Prepare Eaves for Painting

The eaves of your house, sometimes need painting more often.
The eaves of your house, sometimes need painting more often. (Image: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

The wooden eaves of your house often need painting due to their exposure to the elements and close proximity to the rain gutters and constant dripping. If you are about to undertake this project, you need to do a little preparation first before you start to paint. The eaves typically peel and flake away paint, which needs fixing before you can paint over it.

Things You'll Need

  • Mildew cleaner
  • Garden hose
  • Ladder
  • Sander
  • Medium-grit paper

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Attach a mildew cleaner to your garden hose. Many cleaners come with a bottle that attaches to the end of a water hose. Adjust the nozzle on the hose to its most forceful stream, so it can reach the top of the house.

Spray the mildew cleaner on the eaves and leave it on the recommended amount of time according to the label. You need to remove the mildew before you sand the peeling paint. If you sand first, you will sand the mildew into the fibers of the wood.

Place a ladder up against the house so it is near the eaves. Climb up with a sander and have someone hold the bottom while you are at the top.

Sand the surface of the wood with a power sander. Use a medium-grit paper or disk such as 80 grit to break off any peeling paint and smooth down the surface.

Climb down and move the ladder to each location where paint is chipping, peeling or bubbling. Sand the surface. Once the eaves are cleaned and sanded, you can paint them. It is best to paint a primer coat on first and then paint your color of choice. The primer will help the new paint bond.

Tips & Warnings

  • Replace the wood if it is rotten before painting. Use a pry bar or the claw end of a hammer to pull off the wood, starting at one end. Measure and cut new boards to fit the length of the section you removed, and attach it with 3-inch screws.
  • For oil painted eaves, it is best to just scrape and sand the entire surface, instead of sanding the sections that are currently peeling. The rest of the oil paint will also crack and peel eventually, even if you cover it up. It is best to just get it over with, and remove it while you are working.


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