Proper Steps in Painting Your Home: Weatherproofing to Final Finish


Seven Steps to Painting Your Home’s Exterior

Painting your house can be a daunting task, but if you follow the steps below, you should be able to successfully complete the job and avoid paying professionals. It is important to complete each step properly so that several years down the road you don’t have to repeat the job.  You want the outside surface of your house to be stylish and colorful, but you also want to protect what’s inside.  Below are seven steps to painting the exterior of your home.

1. Prep the Exterior Before you apply your favorite color to your home’s exterior, make sure the exterior is ready to be painted. Experts agree that the prep work is the most important part of the job.  Below are common issues and how to address them. Be sure you understand the difference between painting wood, concrete, and brick surfaces.

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  •  Dirt

Rent a high pressure spray cleaner and pressure wash the house, or just use a hose and spray nozzle. For stubborn dirt, you may need to apply soapy water and scrub it. Practice while standing on the ground or porch before you try removing dirt atop a ladder.

Refer to this video for guidance: ExteriorHouse Painting Step 1: Pressure-Washing the House, by Howtopaintahouse

  • Rusted or Recessed Nails

For rust, use steel wool or sandpaper and scrub it off. For recessed nails, fill in with spackle or putty, and sand it smooth.

Refer to this article for guidance: How to Fix Nail Pops in Walls and Ceilings – for Dummies, by

  • Holes and Cracks

Make sure your exterior walls are smooth. Below are some common issues and how to handle them. Holes are usually caused by nails. Buy nail filler specifically made for exterior walls.

Refer to this article for guidance: How Do I Repair Cracks in Walls, by

  • Peeling Paint

Scrape it off, and then inspect it. If it leaves a groove in the wood, you can apply a thin layer of wood filler.

Refer to this video for guidance: How to Fix Peeling Paint

  • Rotted Wood

The best solution is to replace it.

Refer to this video for guidance How to Repair Rotten Wood on Your Window…,by Craigarious

  • Get the Lead Out  

If your Home was built before 1978, EPA Regulations state you have to get rid of the lead in your home before you paint.

Refer to this article for guidance:  What Home Owners Need to Know about Removing Lead Bead Paints, by Health,

  • Rough Spots

Sand them down by hand, or use an orbital sander.

Refer to this video for guidance: Exterior Painting:  Sanding is Key, by George Mera

  • Cracks

If the cracks are small, the paint will fill them in. If they are large, purchase painter’s caulk. Make sure it is the type of caulk you can paint over.

Refer to this video for guidance: Exterior Painting Step 3:  Caulking the House, by Howtopaintahouse


2. Prepare the area. Make sure the walls are free from obstructions to your painting. Cover trees or shrubs close to the house with drop cloths. If they are flush against the surface, use string or ropes to pull them away from the house and stake the line like you would a tent.

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3. Prime the surface. Once the surface is free from holes and cracks, you need to prime the surface. At the paint store, ask for the correct primer for wood or siding. There is a product called self-priming paint, but it takes two coats.

Refer to this videos for guidance: Exterior Painting Step 4: Priming Bare Wood, by Howtopaintahouse

Determine how much paint you will need. Measure the perimeter of the house, and multiply that number by the height. Subtract for the doors and windows (21 feet for the door and 15 feet for the windows) if you are using a different color on the trim. For trim, figure one gallon of trim paint for every six gallons of exterior paint. You can use a paint calculator or an interior paint calculator to help you find out how much paint you need.

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4. Paint the trim. Work from the top down. Paint two coats on the window sills, since they bear the brunt of bad weather.  Use tape to protect the glass surfaces.

Refer to this video for guidance: How to Paint Exterior Tim and Wood Siding, by Lowes Home Improvement

On the walls, paint from side to side, and from the top down.   If you’re on a ladder, move it instead of reaching out – you don’t want to fall.  If you are painting the doors, it’s a much easier job if you remove the door from the frame. If you are painting the gutters and downspouts, they need to be cleaned and primed like the walls.

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5. Clean up. Once you have completed the job, check around the house to make sure no tape remains around the windows or light fixtures. Clean your brushes and paint containers for their next use.  One quick tip, if you need to continue painting with the same color that is on you brush or roller, you can simply place them in side a zip-loc bag and place them in the freezer overnight.  When you need to start painting again, simply remove them from the freezer, let them thaw and begin painting the remained of your area to be painted.

Here Are 10 Additional General House Painting Tips to Follow:

  1. Consult a pro. If you live in a part of the country where the air is particularly dry (Arizona), or experiences a lot of snow ([Minnesota), consult a professional at the local hardware or home store as to the best paint choice.
  2. Look at color schemes of other homes. When choosing a color, look at the colors used by your neighbors, and decide what color scheme appeals to you the most. You can also view color ideas online.
  3. Planning is important.  Plan to spend several weeks on the job.  Work when a stretch of warm, dry weather is predicted.
  4. Cover the bottom edge.  If you’re painting siding, be sure and cover the bottom edge.
  5. Several thin coats are ideal. It’s best to paint two thin coats for maximum coverage.
  6. Protect your paint and brushers. Keep your paint in the shade, and after painting, store the brushes or rollers in plastic so they don’t dry out.
  7. Work in dry weather. It’s best to work in the afternoons, after the dew has evaporated.
  8. Paint sprayers are messy. If you are using a paint sprayer, it uses far more paint, and it is messy. You will need to put a tarp around the house for five feet out.
  9. Choose the right paint. Satin finish paint has a nice gloss, but flat paint will show fewer flaws. Satin finish is also easier to wash.
  10. View instructional videos. If you are a visual learner, view instructional videos on YouTube. Lowes offers videos that demonstrate various techniques to paint your house.

After you have completed your paint job, sit back and collect the compliments. You will have added beauty to the neighborhood and value to your home.   And if possible, pass along the skills you have learned so someone else can beautify their home and environment as well.

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