DIY Exterior Painting of an Old House

Power Wash, Scrape and Complete External Repairs of House Siding

By Mark J. Donovan

Check for Lead Based Paint First

If your house was built prior to 1978 then you should have your house inspected for lead based paint. Lead based paint is hazardous to your family’s health and should be professionally removed before beginning any work on repainting the exterior of your old house.

Power Wash, Scrape and Complete External Repairs

If the exterior paint used on your old house is free from lead paint then begin the process of painting your home by first pressure washing and scraping the entire house.

Make sure you allow sufficient time for the house siding to completely dry after power washing.

In addition, putty any dings in the siding, or if the area has significant water damage you may want to literally reside the affected area. Also, make sure all nails are properly sunk into the wood. You may even want to putty in the nail holes for a really finished look.

Apply Primer to Siding

If you are planning to paint the house a different color than the current one, a primer should be first applied that is of similar color as the new paint. The primer helps to mask the previous color, makes the paint adhere better to the wood siding, and provides a more uniform look.

Check the Weather Report

Make sure the weather will be dry and sunny long enough for you to complete the painting task scheduled for the day and to allow time for it to dry. Typically most paints require the temperature to be at least 50 degrees for proper application and drying.

Also avoid painting directly in the sun, so plan your painting accordingly, e.g. paint the west facing side in the morning and the east facing side in the afternoon.

Assemble the right Equipment

You will probably need ladders as well as paint buckets, brushes and potentially paint sprayers. You should also have rags, twine and drop clothes at hand.

Cover the surrounding Area

Cover the surrounding shrubs and flowerbeds with drop clothes. You may want to use twine to tie up the shrubs so that they don’t rub up against the house.

Paint the Windows and Doors, and associated Trim First

Paint the doors, windows and associated trim first, as this will prevent ladder marks on the otherwise newly painted siding. Make sure you leave the windows open a little so that the window paint has time to dry, thus alleviating stuck windows.

Exterior House Painting Instructions

Paint the Siding Last

Start the siding painting at the top and work left to right and down, moving the ladder frequently to prevent lap marks.

Exterior painting is a big undertaking for a homeowner. Prior to starting this job, develop a reasonable schedule and staffing needs (spouse, friends, and children help). If it looks like you will lack the time or help, then consider employing a painting contractor rather than waiting on painting the house. The longer you wait on a badly needed exterior paint job, the higher the risk the home will suffer significantly from weather damage.

See the Installing Interior Window Ebook from The Installing Interior Window Trim Ebook provides easy to understand, step-by-step instructions, on how to install interior window trim around a window. Pictures are included for every key step in the process.

Related Information

Additional House Painting and Staining Resources from

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