Exterior Painting Project? Careful Preparation Is Crucial for Success

Exterior Painting Project? Careful Preparation Is Crucial for Success

Much has been said and written about the importance of preparation in a painting project, for good reason. Some have estimated that you should spend at least as much time getting ready to paint as you do painting, perhaps even more. There’s no doubt that the most successful paint job is one for which the painter carefully cleaned and otherwise prepared the surface to receive paint.

But, you may want to go back a step to the point before you begin cleaning the exterior walls of your house or business building. It’s important to have all the supplies and tools at hand so you don’t have to break into the process to find, rent, or purchase an essential item. If you have a large area of exterior wall to paint, you should consider spending a bit of money to rent a dependable power washer. In fact, this is a good idea for small and medium-size jobs as well.

Dirt or Mildew

If there is no evidence of mold or mildew on your walls, you should be fine using a power washer to remove dirt and grime. But if there is mildew, you’ll need to have a few other supplies ready. The bleach treatment might be sufficient but you may want to consider a trisodium phosphate mixture to remove and kill the mildew. Be sure to use eye goggles for protection from any chemicals as well as with your power washer.

Your next important items for preparation are the paint scraper and a brush with stiff bristles. It’s essential to remove all flaking paint and rough areas so you’ll be painting on a smooth surface. Sandpaper will also come in handy to get the surface as smooth as possible. After this “dry” cleaning step, you should make sure to use a soft brush or a clean rag to wipe away dust and small flakes.

Make Sure it’s Clean

If you feel especially ambitious, you could clean the entire outside surface the old-fashioned way. Get a large bucket, fill it with warm water, and add a bit of bleach. Try one part bleach to 10 parts water, for example. There are eight pints in a gallon, to give you a guideline. Use a large, durable sponge and proceed to wipe the surface thoroughly. This will work well if you use your garden hose to remove residue and streaks first. Power washing is a time-saving process that replaces the traditional two-step method.

But here’s a very important tip: Use the power-washing technique with care. Don’t allow the power of the water stream to damage the wood or masonry surface. This is not a garden hose so be sure to stand back a sufficient distance with the equipment wand. Now that you have your exterior walls clean, make sure that you allow plenty of time for the surface to dry. This is essential if you expect to get a consistent finish with your paint. Just keep in mind that you’re asking for extra work when you put paint on a dirty or moist surface.

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