Preparing Your Exterior Surface for Painting

Washing and cleaning of outside surfaces should be done before you start to paint the outside of your home. You must take the right precautions so that you do not get paint all over the ground after you finish the job.

The first thing to do is to wash down the exterior of your home that you will be painting. You can use a mixture of tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) and bleach in order to remove dirt and also kill mildew.

TIP: when washing the outside of your home with this mixture, or any cleaning product, you should wash from the bottom to the top. This may not seem like the logical thing to do but it can prevent staining.

Safety Tip: You should always work in the direction opposite the sun so that you, as well as your house, are in the shade as much as possible. You should also always watch out for the weather and know that when using ladders, ones that are aluminum are dangerous to use when there is lightening. Fiberglass ladders are safer when there is lightning because they do not conduct electricity.

You can also wash the outside off your home with a high pressure washer. If there is a lot of dirt that is caked on this may be the best method. You can rent a high pressure washer from many hardware stores.

The next thing you should do is to put drop cloths over shrubs and other delicate plants in order to protect the landscape around your home. Drop cloths can also be placed around anything else, such as light fixture and decks, so you do not get paint on anything. If you have any patio or lawn furniture you should move it a safe distance away from the house. When you are done with the painting you should immediately remove the drop cloths from the plants, as you do not want them to suffocate.

If you have sanded anything to the bare wood you should also apply a coat of primer before you apply the main coat of paint. The primer will make it so the main coat of paint will stick better to the outside surface. Make sure not to use primer as a finishing coat. It may look good and you may want to leave it but primer is not designed to hold up to the elements as well as exterior coat paint. Also if you are sanding beforehand you should either pull out all the nails, if they are present, or countersink them. Then you can fill the holes by using exterior wood filler.

Safety Tip: You need to protect your eyes when exterior painting, especially when painting with a sprayer, so you should wear goggles.

Author: Jason Green