“Painting the exterior of your house is a big job, but if done right, it’ll give a major boost to your curb appeal & add tremendous value to your home. Monica from The Weekender walks through each step of this project from start to beautiful finish.” – Lowe’s Home Improvement
How To Paint a House Tutorial by Monica from The Weekender and Lowe’s
“No project can completely transform the look of your house like a fresh coat of paint. And I know doing it yourself may seem daunting at first. It’s a really large space. There are high areas, ladders scraping, the whole thing. But I’m here to show you that even though it’s a big project, it doesn’t have to be all that difficult. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced painter, I’m going to walk you through the step-by-step process and show you how to do it right.
House paint jobs can last anywhere from five to over 20 years, depending on different factors. If you’ve got peeling or chipping or your color is faded, expect this job to take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the size of your house, your skill level, and if you have any help along the way. walk around the perimeter of the house and see what you’re working with. This house hasn’t been painted in many years, and it shows it’s got peeling and chipped paint in many locations on varying surfaces. Odds are your house will also need some repairs before it’s painted.
Because it’s an exterior, it’s constantly exposed to all the elements. The exterior of this house is wood. We have horizontal siding, wood shingles, and wood windows and trim. Your siding material will dictate what materials you need to paint your home. One important note, if your home was built before 1978, it could have been painted with lead paint. Be sure to consult a Lead-Safe certified contractor if you believe your home may have lead-based paint.
The first step in any perfect paint job is prep. It’s as important as applying the paint. You need a well-prepared surface for the paint to adhere to. For this house, we’re going to start off with scraping, and then we’ll move on to our second step, which is pressure washing.
Now, many times you’ll start with pressure washing, but for this particular house, we have so much cracking, peeling, and chipping paint that if we were to pressure wash first, the chips would go everywhere, all into the yard. So we need to scrape off first, get the majority of the loose stuff off, and then we’ll follow up with pressure washing.
Now before we even touch the house, we need to protect the perimeter. I have my friend Mike, who is a professional painter, here to help me throughout this entire project. So I know we have a lot of plants here, and we’re going to have a lot of paint falling. So how are we going to protect them?
So we’re going to take some heavy-duty plastic and some duct tape, and we’re going to actually cover the shrubbery and we’re going to attach the plastic to the wall with this duct tape.
So we’re just going to tape the plastic right onto the base of the house, cover up the plan the tape.
Now that we have these pieces and it’s attached, we’re going to run a horizontal piece all along where the house meets the plastic so that there’s a complete seal and no chips can get down below.
Now that our plastic is securely attached to the house, we’re going to be adding canvas drop cloth runners because they’re safer to walk on than the plastic. But when we go to position our ladder, I’m going to pull it back and rest the ladder directly on the pavement. Now that everything is protected, we’re going to get ready to start scraping, and we’re going to start from the top and work our way down. So obviously, we’re going to need a little help getting up there. So, Mike, you have a ladder stabilizer.
So Mike moved the ladder up two rungs, and he’s going to attach the ladder stabilizer. Now, this is why it’s a two-person job. I’m going to stand on the base of the ladder and put my full weight on it. And Mike is going to walk the ladder up so that we have it safely vertical. And because we never want to put the ladder based on the drop cloth, I’m just going to fold it back a bit. Now, to properly hold the ladder and position it into place, usually use both.
Now we need to determine the height of our ladder and raise it up. And to do that, Mike is using this rope that comes attached to the ladder. And as he pulls it’s going to extend the ladder. When we get to our desired height, we want to make sure that the clips are securely on the rung and they are right?
Now that our ladder is in place, we need to do a couple of checks to make sure that it’s really safe and secure.
Get a nice little bounce. You basically want to pull it away a little and make sure it kind of lands in the same spot. And then the next step would be standing on the first rung, I just kind of give it a little bounce. So if it doesn’t move, you’re good.
Here’s a little trick for determining how far out from the house the base of your ladder should be. So Mike is going to come up and put his feet at the base of the ladder. Then he’s going to put his arms out directly in front of him at about shoulder height. Right? And if that fits comfortably on the rung, that generally speaking, you’re at a 75 deg angle here, which is what we want. All right, now that our ladder is in place and secure, it’s time to start climbing and Mike is going to go up first.
When you start climbing, you want to put your hands on the rails. You never want to do hands-on the rungs.
It’s so much safer to keep them on the rails and kind of maintain contact as you’re going up. It also keeps you a lot more balanced so you’re not tipping off.
I never want to put my waist higher than the stabilizer, the top rung.
Make sure you always keep 2ft on the ladder, one hand on the ladder on one side, and you don’t want to overreach, because then what can happen is you can slip up here. Just an inch of moving up here will throw you off the ladder.
And making this a lot more secure and really keeping us from having any left to right motion. When choosing ladders for your paint job, you’re going to have to think about the size of your home. You also want to check the weight limit of your ladder as well.
All right, we’re onto scraping, and I’m going to show you there are a couple of different methods for whatever surface we’re dealing with right now. I’m going to be down in the horizontal wood slots, and I’ll do it a little bit differently when I work up above on the Cedar shingles.
I have two tools here. I have a scraper that has a really sharp edge and a handle, so I can really put some muscle into it, but I want to be careful not to damage the wood. And then I also have a simple putty knife here, and this is really good because it’s not sharp on the edge and it won’t damage the wood.
Now before I get started, I’m going to make sure to protect my eyes, I am going to put on a dust mask just to keep all the dust and paint chips from going in my face.
For this area, I’m going to start off with the putty knife because it’s really pretty loose in this area and chipping already. So the process here is going to be to scrape, then sand in case we have any raised areas or ridges, and then pressure wash.
So seeing this area here, this paint very well adheres to the house. So what we’ll do is we’ll hit this with the Sander and it’ll take down the Ridge, but we don’t need to keep chipping this away.
All right. So that’s how to do it on the horizontal wood. But now I want to show you how to do it on the Cedar shingles up above. Okay. So up here we have a completely different situation. We have Cedar shingles where no surprise here, the paint is peeling off. But we’re going to use a little bit of a different technique on this.
What I’m going to do is make sure that I’m working in a vertical motion with this, a vertical one. I don’t really want to go horizontal much at all. If I need the paint scraper or the other scraper, I can do it, but right now I just don’t want to damage these shingles. So I’m sticking with the putty knife, and it’s working just fine.
Now that I’m done scraping, I’m going to move on to sanding, and I’m going to go over the entire house again and spot sand any areas where the existing paint meets raw wood. I want to knock down any ridges. There’s a lot of texture in this home. Our plan here is to embrace that, not remove all of it. The homeowners wanted to keep some of that character. Not to mention it would take us a crazy long time to strip the whole house to bear wood.
We’re just smoothing out some of the ridges and bumps that need it the most. To do this, I’m going to use an orbital Sander, and I currently have an 80 grit sandpaper. It really will depend on your old existing paint and what type of material you’re working on, but I’m guessing it will be somewhere in the 60 to 80 range. Now, chances are before you paint, you’re going to need to do some repairs on your home. And obviously, this is going to vary from case to case, but I’m going to share with you a little bit of what we’re dealing with here.
As you can see in this area, we have a rotted board here that definitely needs to be replaced. And down here along the base, this one is barely hanging on. What I’m going to need to do is remove the rotting, broken boards and then replace them with something of the same size and same, like thickness here. But it doesn’t need to be the same exact original material.
Now, to repair this board, the first thing I need to do is cut off some old nails that are there. This board is actually attached to the one above it with nails. And to do that, I’m going to use my oscillating multi-tool and I have on a metal blade.
All right, now that I have this off, I’ve taken some measurements, and I’m going to head over to the saw and cut a new piece. The beauty of this is that you don’t have to find the exact material that you’re replacing. You just need to find the exact shape and size. What I ended up using is a pre-primed siding board that’s six inches. The area that I’m repairing is longer than 12ft. So I’m going to have to use a couple of boards, cut them down to size, and then I’ll cop the seam.
I’m going to go ahead and secure it using 16 gauge nails. I’m going to nail it on the board above it. Since we’re using two boards here, it means our wood is going to have a seam. So what I’m using is a piece of two-mil plastic, and that’s going to act as an additional moisture barrier.
Now, we’re going to come back afterward and caulk this anyway, but it’s just an extra tip to make sure we’re doing a really good pro job.
So this repair is complete, and I mean, it looks awesome. We are going to caulk this and we’ll do that when we’re ready to caulk anything around the house. Okay, it was a lot of work but our house surface is prepped and now we’re going to pressure wash which will remove any loose debris and really clean the surface so it’s ready for primer.
Be sure to wear goggles to protect your eyes and be careful not to use too much pressure. This is a wood siding house with especially delicate shingles so we’re going.