How to Prepare the Outside of a House for Painting

Removing loose paint on the outside of a house before painting.
Removing loose paint on the outside of a house before painting.

To prepare the exterior of your home for painting:

  • Replace and prime any rotten wood.
  • Scraping or sanding the surface to remove any loose or peeling paint.
  • Clean the surface thoroughly, removing any mildew or mold.
  • Repair any imperfections, and caulk any cracks to prevent water damage.
  • Remove rust from metal trim, and apply a coat of rust preventative primer.

Watch this video to find out more.


  1. I assume caulk you used on wood can take paint and was therefore different than caulk you needed to remove around window pane.

    Is pressure washing necessary? Can a stiff brush be used? If washer needed, what pressure (psi) needed? Thank you for your helpful site!

  2. Why are you cleaning the exterior of the house then scrapping and sanding? If you reverse this process you then have a clean surface for the paint to ahear to. If you leave all the paint chips and dust on the surface your paint cannot stick well and will peal off. Plus cleaning with a product like TSP will remove all the mildew and oils that water from pressure washing just can’t do alone.

  3. We live in a small townhome area with 17 units consisting of four buildings. Our hired painter is not cleaning off the black dirt, grime and mildew. Our home owner association board told him to clean the exterior siding. Should we be concerned.

  4. I live in Milwaukee, WI. Can I still paint the exterior of my house at this time of year? Actually I only need to paint trim. The rest of the exterior is vinyl siding.


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