10 Simple Steps for Exterior Paint Prep
The secret of a good paint job is that most of the hard work is done before a brush ever hits the building. Painting a poorly prepped surface will only result in disappointment, while quality pre-paint work pays huge dividends. So armed with the knowledge that preparation is king when it comes to painting, here are 10 tips to help your exterior paint prep projects go faster, look better and cost less.
How to Prep for Painting: Planning and Lead Paint Awareness
How to Prep for Painting: Ladders and Scaffold Setup
Review this Family Handyman article on working with scaffolding safely.
Exterior Paint Prep Ground Cover
How to Prep for Painting: Remove or Tape Around Obstacles
How to Prep for Painting: Sanding and Scraping
How to Prep for Painting: Surface Repairs and Cleaning
One trick to exterior paint prep is learning to always keep one eye on the weather. Check out a map of cold weather areas and if vapor barriers are needed. Rain can shut down an exterior paint job, but there are other aspects of the climate to consider as well. For example, many caulks and paints have a limited range of working temperatures. Too hot or too cold, and they will cure slowly or not at all. Read their labels to be sure you won't have trouble. And if you made the mistake of storing paint in your garage during a winter freeze, see Using Frozen Paint to find out if your materials are still good.Humidity is another factor that can slow down cure times. If you're painting in especially humid conditions, be sure to check the previous coat before adding another. Similarly, when planning the course of your work, take the path of the sun into consideration. Areas of the home that get little or no direct sun will set up slower. While sections that bake in direct sun will get a hard surface, becoming dry to the touch before they are fully cured.
Plans for Spills
A simple exterior paint prep step, but one that can save you an immense amount of aggravation. Before you reach for your paint, always make sure you have something close at hand to clean up spills. If you're using latex paint, that will be water and clean rags. If you're using oil or enamel-based paint, you'll need mineral spirits or the thinner recommended by the paint manufacturer. (Check the paint can's label, usually under the Directions for Clean Up.)
One pro tip: the term mineral spirits and paint thinner are sometimes used interchangeably. They are actually very similar. But mineral spirits are more often used indoors because they have lower fumes. Paint thinner is less expensive but has a high VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds). See Mineral Spirits vs. Paint Thinner for a complete run down on the differences between these two products.
Final Test Swatch