5 Steps to a Perfect Exterior Paint Job

I am going to be blunt with you. Repainting the exterior of your home is not an easy task. There are undoubtedly articles floating around the internet entitled “3 easy steps to paint your siding, hassle-free.” Without the proper tools or experience, however, the “hassle-free” promise is empty.

The good news is that painting the exterior of your home is possible. We will give you the no BS, step-by-step guide on how to accomplish the task at hand.

Step 1 – Prep work

Any paint job worth its while requires great attention to the preparation of the surface you are painting. Whether vinyl siding, Hardiplank, wood slats, brick, etc., all of them require the same type of preparation.

First thing you need to do is scrape the old paint off the surface you wish to repaint. Often times people paint over the old paint. The common assumption is that the new paint will cover the old paint without any notice. A second common assumption is that the new paint will re-adhere the old peeling paint to the siding, thus eliminating the appearance of texture.

Unfortunately, spots in which old paint was not scraped off prior to application of the new paint will result in uneven color and texture. Exterior paint is particularly susceptible to fading as the sun rays beat down on it regularly. The thinner coats of new paint only will fade quicker than the thicker coats of new paint over old, giving your final product an uneven appearance within a few months of exposure to the elements.

So, grab a putty knife and sanding block and get to work scraping off the old paint.

Step 2 – Powerwash

Before you can apply the new paint to the surface, you need to make sure the surface is clean. If the is dirt, dust, or grime buildup of any kind, then the paint will adhere to the dirt or grime rather than the wood or vinyl.

We suggest a machine power wash, rather than a power wash hose attachment. A power wash hose attachment may work for surfaces you can spray within seven to ten feet of the nozzle, but anything outside that range will not receive an adequate wash.

If you do not have a machine power washer, then you can rent one from home depot for up to 24 hours.

Step 3 – Prime

It is a sad fact that primer is often a step often ignored. Primer creates a strong bond between the surface and the paint. Without the primer, the paint will still stick to the surface, but it will fade and peel within a few years.

For optimal application and appearance, apply one primer coat before applying any paint. You may even want to consider using a paint and primer all-in-one solutions.

Step 4 – First Coat

Now that you have prepped, washed, and primed the exterior of your home, you can apply the first coat.

While applying paint, be sure to use long even strokes with the brush. Short, uneven, choppy strokes with the brush are noticeable when sunlight shines over the surface of your home.

Also, do not glob large amounts of paint onto the surface to avoid applying a second coat. Large globs are noticeable and do not dry the same as evenly spread paint.

Step 5 – Second Coat

You are almost there. All you need to do now is apply a second coat of paint. Follow the painting instructions from the first coat of paint.

You will want the second coat to even out the color and texture of the paint so that it is uniform all around the house. The second coat of paint creates the curb appeal you have been looking for; that fresh magazine look.


Now comes the fun part; the hassle-free part. The only way to avoid the hassle of painting the exterior of your home is to hire a qualified painting professional. Be sure to vet the subcontractor you hire to paint your home. You will want to make sure they have the tools, manpower, and experience necessary for the job. A qualified professional can do the work that would take you several weekends to accomplish in a couple of days.

Now that is hassle-free.