Painting exterior siding is one of the least expensive things that you can do to protect the most valuable investments you have, your home. Before you do any painting the first step in making any paint job look good and last a long time is the preparation of the surface to be painted. It doesn’t matter how good of paint you use or how thick you apply it. Paint just won’t stick to a dirty surface. Preparation is the king as is with almost any painting job you’ll ever do. But if you follow these tips and techniques your house will have protection from the sun, wind, rain, and moisture and last for about 8-10 years.
Ok, let’s get started with the prep work. Preparing and painting exterior siding is a step by step process that is best done in phases. Begin by walking around your house and have a good look and access to how much preparation is needed. Look for signs of rotting or damage siding anywhere on the house. The siding on the chimney chase is a common place where rot will start. Also anywhere the siding meets the roof, ground or any other surface where it stays wet for long periods of time. Replace any rotten or damaged siding before you begin cleaning.
All loose paint must be removed. Be sure to scrap all lose, peeling and blistering paint. Sand all these areas until they are smooth using 100-grit sandpaper. Folding a sheet of sandpaper will work but that technique is rough on the hands. Using a sanding block for this part of the preparation of the exterior siding will be much easier on your hands. Sometimes older houses have several coats of paint and so you may need to use a power sander to make the job easier to do. A palm sander is a great tool for sanding the exterior siding smooth. Sanding creates a lot of dust so you should always wear a dust mask and eye protection when sanding using any type of power tool.
Check for holes, gouges, and cracks. Using a wood filler or an exterior spackling compound. Fill all the holes and gouges using a putty knife or flat scraper and let dry. After it has dried then sand these spots smooth also. (TIP: Try to get filler or spackling as smooth as you can with the putty knife while it is wet. This technique will save you lots of sanding after it has dried.) Caulking is a very important step before you start painting exterior siding because it will seal up all the cracks around windows, trim, doorways and any other areas where cracks are present.