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See all Exterior paint how-to »

How to Prepare a Home for Painting

Skill:  Novice DIY'er
Time:  1 hour

Starting a project with a clean, prepped workspace will help ensure that the painting process runs smoothly from beginning to end.

For Best Results:

Do not paint immediately after rain or when temperatures drop below the temperature minimum on the label.

When removing house fixtures, tape the screws to the back of the object to prevent them from getting lost in the shuffle. Always protect plants with cloth

For mildew, always use a mildew-removing product before you begin to paint.

Suggested Supplies
  • Plastic Sheeting
  • Patching Material
  • Sandpaper
  • Caulking (Painter's Grade)
  • Hose
  • Drop Cloths
  • Caulking Gun
  • Steel Trowel
  • High Pressure Nozzle

  • Sponge
  • Bucket
  • Rags
  • Ladder
Suggested Products
  1. Step 1

    Create a workspace by removing items such as hoses, patio furniture, cars, and freestanding planters from around the project area.

  2. Step 2

    Place all your tools and supplies in a central, easy-to-reach location.

  3. Step 3

    Remove what you can such as nails, light fixtures, and address numbers. Remove shutters and screens, if possible.

    When possible, removing a door from its hinges will make painting and drying a much easier experience.
  4. Step 4

    Use plastic sheeting or masking paper to cover any items that you can't remove.

  5. Step 5

    The next step is to make repairs and clean the surface you will be painting. For cracks and small holes, first remove any dust or debris from the area, then fill the voids with a flexible patching material.

  6. Step 6

    Once the patch has dried completely, sand the area, blending evenly with the surface. Remove any dust with a water-dampened rag.

  7. Step 7

    To repair gaps and seams, remove dust and debris, apply caulking and allow it to dry completely before painting.

  8. Step 8

    If you'll be painting a glossy surface such as metal, scuff-sand or etch the area to allow proper product adhesion.

  9. Step 9

    Clean the exterior of your home with a hose or power washer, beginning at the top and working your way down. If dirt and grime remain after the rinse, use a sponge or soft cloth to wipe it away.

    Allow your home to dry completely before beginning your painting project.