Exterior Preparation Painting Checklist
Careful preparation is the foundation of any good paint job. Whether you are deciding to tackle the exterior painting of your home yourself or you are calling in the professional painters or painting service, here are the key steps of exterior surface preparation:
- Test for lead-based paint. If your home was built prior to 1970 it may contain poisonous lead based paint. If lead-based paint is present, then the preparation steps will be different from the ones outlined below. Lead is extremely toxic and harmful to humans, particularly children and pregnant women. Ask your professional painter or contact your local council before attempting to remove any lead-based paint from your home. More information can be found on The Lead Education and Abatement Design (LEAD) group website, a not-for-profit community organisation working to protect the environment from lead.
- Prepare the yard and garden. Not only is this step vital in protecting your things (sporting equipment, outdoor furniture, plants, car, etc) from paint splatters or damage, making sure the yard is properly prepared is essential for safety reasons - exterior painting involves lots of time hanging from a ladder. Turn off gas to the bbq, prune or tie back shrubbery next to the house, use fabric or plastic drop cloths to cover driveways, decks, and lawns.
- Wash the house. You want to remove any dirt, grease, mildew or loose paint using a power washer (also called high-pressure washer) or hand scraper. If you are doing the prep work yourself and have never used a high pressure washer before be careful with the level of pressure you are using. If not used correctly the washer can blast mortar from joints or water can get into cracks or gaps in the walls and cause water damage. Allow your home to dry completely before you start to scrape or paint. If you paint a damp surface, expect it to peel in the near future.
- Remove loose paint. This is the messiest and most strenuous part of the preparation. Wear the proper safety equipment such as gloves, dust mask and safety glasses. Depending on your requirements there are several ways to remove the paint: metal scraper, wire brush, heat gun or chemical strippers. You will want to remove the paint that is loose, not the stuff that is adhering firmly. The next step is to sand the surfaces where the paint has been removed and feather the edges of chipped paint down to the adjacent wood.
- Patch and caulk. To avoid any water damage you will need to re-caulk around door trim, windowsills, siding and other areas. You will also want to cover nail holes, patch holes with wood filler and re-putty windows.
- Prime all surfaces. Existing paint that is sound and clean won't require a primer coat but bare wood and scraped areas will need spot priming. Be sure that the primer is compatible with the materials you are covering and your final paint choice. Some primers can be tinted the colour of your final paint layer. This will save you having to paint extra coats.
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