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Preparing a House for Painting

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A painter prepares to apply Benjamin Moore caulk to a house exterior.

To create a picture-perfect outdoor space, preparation is key. Begin your exterior paint prep by removing as many items as you can (planters, mailboxes, shutters, house numbers, hoses, outdoor furniture, and light fixtures), and follow these steps:

Use Drop Cloths

Put drop cloths in place under the areas you plan to paint.

Smooth the Surfaces to Be Painted

Make sure that all surfaces you plan to paint are smooth and free of cracks. Countersink any exposed nail heads, and spot prime areas as needed.

Putty and Caulking

Your exterior paint preparation should include using putty and caulk to fill any nail head depressions, cracks, and imperfections on the surfaces to be painted. Where necessary, scrape away old caulk and apply new caulk and prime.

When working with bare wood, apply primer before you re–caulk.

Dull Glossy Areas For glossy or shiny surfaces, lightly sand for better adhesion. Sand any "mill glaze" off new siding, to ensure proper paint adhesion.

Remove Dust, Dirt, and Mildew

Use a cloth or soft brush to clean off any dust and dirt from the surfaces to be painted. Remove chalk residue with a brush or water, and be sure to remove any mildew.

Prime Problem Areas

On any exposed areas where paint has worn thin, peeled, or blistered, apply primer and allow it to dry thoroughly.

Clean Gutters, Downspouts, and Eaves

When preparing a house for painting, be sure to clean and prime your gutters and downspouts before painting. Because they are factory–coated, new aluminum gutters and downspouts should remain in good condition for several years.

For previously painted gutters and downspouts, remove any rust or peeling paint with a scraper or wire brush. Sand the edges smooth, from sound paint to bare spots.

Under eaves, wash protected areas with a garden hose, using a strong stream of water. After the surface of the eaves has dried, apply self–priming IronClad® Latex Low Lustre Metal & Wood Enamel.

When new, galvanized gutters and downspouts are coated with a fabricating oil that must be removed before painting. Use our Benjamin Moore Oil & Grease Emulsifier (M83) to remove the oil, and prime with a latex product only.

Prep Masonry and Stucco Surfaces

If your brick or masonry surface is streaked with a white powder or efflorescence, you can remove it with a wire brush and scraper. Take care to find and eliminate the cause of any efflorescence.

For newly constructed block and stucco surfaces, be sure to allow 30 to 60 days before you apply a primer or topcoat.

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