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How to Prepare for a DIY Exterior Painting Project

Thorough exterior painting preparation will lead to a successful paint project. Preparing properly will help the paint last longer, look better and it will prevent future problems such as mold growth, chipping and peeling.

Supply and Gear Preparation
There are many painting tools available on the market. From eco-friendly brushes to convenient brush extension holders, the right tools can help your project go more smoothly. The following is a list of the basic painting tools needed for a DIY exterior painting project:
* Blue Painter's tape
* Brushes
* Bucket
* Canvas drop cloth
* Clothes - Select clothes that you won't mind dirtying or getting wet. Work gloves are also important for protecting your hands during this preparatory process.
* Dishwashing soap
* Exterior caulk
* Goggles/glasses - Protective goggles or glasses are essential. Chipped off paint and material could fly into your eyes, causing serious damage.
* Ladder
* Patching compound or "plastic wood"
* Primer
* Putty knife
* Screen
* Rags
* Roller
* Roller cover
* Roller tray
* Sandpaper
* Scraper
* Sponges
* Stirrer
* Wire brush
* Work gloves
* Optional: heat gun, rotary paint remover, electric drill

Dirt Removal
Removing the dirt from the exterior of your home is essential. The paint will not stick well if there is dirt. While some recommend using a power washer for removing dirt, others caution that it could cause more harm than good. Power washing could drive water deep into and behind wood siding or trim. If the soffit gets too wet, the wood will swell and cause the new paint to peel off quickly. A standard water hose should be powerful enough to remove the dirt. Use gentle dishwashing soap, rags and sponges to help remove the dirt. If you come across mold stains, then you will need to wash the area with an anti-fungal cleaner.

While wearing your goggles, scrape any loose paint off the house. For stubborn paint, or for scraping multi- layered paint, consider using a heat gun or rotary paint remover. If you will be using a heat gun, wear work gloves to protect your hands. A rotary paint remover works by attaching to an electric drill. If you have never used this tool before, practice on a small piece of wood.

Sanding and Repairing
Any gouges or holes on your wood siding need to be patched with exterior grade patching compound or "plastic wood." Sand the edges where the paint was removed. Caulk any cracks, seams or gaps with paintable exterior caulk.

Taping & Tarping
Taping and tarping are the final steps before painting. Tape off any areas not be painted, such as around the windows. Place drop cloths over shrubs, bushes, porches or anywhere else you do not want paint to drip on.


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