How to Paint the Exterior of Your House

Painting the outside of your house needs to be done regularly to provide protection for the siding and trim. A good paint job requires a lot of prep work, which is as important as the painting itself.

Houses built before 1979 should be tested to see if the existing paint contains lead, since breathing or ingesting sanding dust from lead based paint can lead to lead poisoning.

Regardless, always wear an approved dust mask or respirator, as well as safety glasses or goggles, when scraping or sanding paint.

When painting the outside of your house:

  1. Treat any mildew with a solution of one part bleach to four parts water mixed with a little detergent or TSP in a pump up sprayer. Rinse off after 10-20 minutes.
  2. Pressure wash the house to remove any loose paint and dirt, being careful not to damage wood siding or trim, and allow to dry thoroughly.
  3. Scrape the house to remove any peeling paint using a paint scraper and putty knife.
  4. If needed, sand the wood smooth with a rotary sander. The goal is not to remove all the paint, just the part that is loose or peeling. Feather out the edges so it looks smooth.
  5. Use a stain blocking primer over bare wood to prevent knots and sap from bleeding through.
  6. Caulk any gaps or cracks with a high quality, paintable caulking.
  7. Apply two top coats of a good quality exterior paint, being sure to follow the directions on the can.

For more information, check out our article on How to Paint Anything Outside.


  1. I a painter that after scraping my exterior walls of my house, did not sand the unlevel areas very little primer, did not caulk the joints, painted (rolled) & now that some of house is painted, all the areas plus are very obvious & he says there is nothing that can be done it’s just where the scrapping leaves unlevel. My house looks terrible & he has made a mess that I feel is totally unacceptable. I am a person with a fixed income & his work has my home looking terrible. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time!


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