Preparing a surface for paint makes the difference between a quality, lasting exterior and a shoddy one. The result of an unattractive, short-lived painted exterior is not the fault of the paint itself but rather the failure of the paint to adhere to the surface. The paint had no chance of adhesion because it was applied over a dirty, greasy, peeling surface.
Before starting preparation, a major consideration in preparing and painting an exterior surface is when the work should be done. When painting an exterior, the temperature of the surface to be painted should be greater than 50°F and less than 90°F. This means that homeowners in areas of the country such as New England have a rather slim window of opportunity to carry out the exterior paint preparation and repainting project.
Preparing the Environment for Exterior Paint Preparation
Surrounding landscape plantings, barbecue grills and other nearby objects must be protected from paint chips and spatters as well as the chemicals in cleaning solutions and paint strippers:
- Turn off all electrical power and gas fuel suppliers that connect to outside objects.
- Cover them with canvas.
- Pull any tall bushes near the home away from the structure with ties. Stake the ties so that the foliage does not touch any exterior surface.
- Remove exterior fixtures such as lighting, mailboxes and shutters.
- Patch, repair and repaint any trim that is to be reaffixed to the home’s exterior when the new paint is dry.
Removing Loose Paint
This chore will always include hand scraping and sanding. A power washer can also be used, but should only be operated by an experienced operator, as this tool can cause serious damage to an exterior if misused.
On a dry surface, beginning with the loosest part of the peeling paint, scrape it off using one tool or a combination of a paint scraper, putty knife, heat gun, sandpaper and sanding block. On wood siding in particular, careful attention must be paid when scraping with any tool to avoid gouging the wood.
Sanding the Surface
Once all loose paint is gone, the surface must be sanded wherever the paint was removed, blending the harder edges with the sandpaper to make the surface as smooth as possible.
Cleaning the Surface
Now that all the scraping, sanding and environmental protection has taken place, it is time to thoroughly wash the exterior.
Remove screens, storm doors and windows and whatever is not to be painted.
With a solution of TSP and water, thoroughly wash the exterior with either a power washer set to the lowest pressure or a hose with a car wash brush attachment. Work from the top down. Rinse each cleansed section as completed with clean water.
At this point, homeowners residing in the New England states with the short span of weather conditions conducive to the proper paint preparation and repainting might want to consider getting help for this extensive project. The professional, experienced home remodeling team at United Home Experts has been doing quality work in the New England area to the satisfaction of many homeowners.
The Final Paint Preparation Stage: Drying and Caulking
- If the paint to be applied is latex, allow the exterior to dry at least a day.
- If it is an oil-based paint, allow at least a week before painting.
- Caulk any gaps around windows, doors, between siding, moldings; anywhere moisture can seep in.
With completion of these steps in paint preparation, the exterior paint that is finally applied will have a smooth, attractive appearance and will keep that look for many years with minimal maintenance.