Painting (main) : Painting Articles : Preparing exteriors for painting

Tips for cleaning your home's exterior before painting

Cleaning before painting the exterior of your home is absolutely essential before you touch it with a primer or paint.

Remove loose paint.

A combination of hand scraping and sanding is the best approach. You'll need a paint scraper, putty knife or heat gun paint remover, plus sandpaper and a sanding block.

With a putty knife or scraper, find the loosest part of the peeling paint, get under it, lift and scrape. A heat gun can be used to loosen thicker paint. Keep the gun moving to avoid excessive heat build up, and as the paint softens, scrape it loose.

When sanding surfaces try to blend and minimize the hard edge where paint has been removed and where it remains.

cleaning paint


In a bucket, mix water and trisodium phosphate (TSP), which will both clean and degloss any existing paint. Make sure you wear eye protection and work from the top of the house down, and rinse each complete section with clean water.

A car wash unit attached to the garden hose will help make shorter work. If your house has any areas of mildew, kill it with a mildew cleaner or make your own solution using bleach and water.

Power washing - pluses and minuses

One method that removes paint and cleans at the same time is 'power washing', which uses an attachment that highly increases water pressure from you hose.

Use it at a low pressure and use a wide spread fan tip. Never place the tip close to the wall surface. If you don't know what you're doing it can seriously damage the exterior, so think about hiring a contractor

Let it dry properly

This is very important or the new paint will peel prematurely, ruining the entire project.

If you're painting with a latex paint, wait at least one day. Wait at least one week if you're using an oil based paint.

You're now ready to have your house painted and compare quotes on exterior painting contractors.

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