“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” – Alexander Graham Bell
We use inspirational quotes sparingly, but when it comes to painting, it really is all about the prep. Especially as the season starts to change and we turn our focus to exterior painting, there are several key preparation steps to follow in order to get the beautiful, long-lasting results you expect.
Some of these are small DIY jobs, and some are best left to the pros. If you have questions on any of these steps – or just feel like you might be getting in over your head – please don’t hestitate to get in touch with us, that’s what we’re here for!
Paint company Sherwin-Williams does a great job of outlining the basic paint prep steps in their short video. Here’s a summary of the highlights:
Exterior Paint Prep : 4 Simple Steps
1. Clear your space
Start by temporarily removing the items that will make it easier to get in there and paint. This means items that are affixed to the house, such as mailboxes, house numbers, hoses, and light fixtures – and in the immediate areas, such as planters, grills and outdoor furniture. And don’t forget the shutters!
2. Position drop cloths
Place drop cloths under the areas you plan to paint, including porches, steps and decking. You should also cover items close to the house than can’t be removed – like plantings and shrubs.
3. Remove surface contamination
Depending on what you’re removing, you can use a scraper, sander, wire brush, power washer, or all of the above. Surface contaminants include grease, loose paint, dirt, mold and mildew. While many homeowners like to do some of these small jobs themselves, it is best to consult a professional painting company in many cases – especially if you think your paint may contain lead or other harmful substances.
After your house is cleaned from debris, you may notice some areas that need more attention. These might be exposed nail heads or cracks that need filling. You may also need to scrape away old caulk before you apply anything new. Of course, if we are painting the exterior of your home, we will care of anything needed at this stage.
If you haven’t done so already, the only thing left is choosing colors! This can be the best part – even if it does seem overwhelming at times. There are lots of great color palettes you can browse for inspiration – and there are two in particular that really lend themsleves beautifully to Cape Cod homes. Check out Benjamin Moore’s Williamsburg Color Collection (classic colors based on original pigments developed more than 250 years ago) and Sherwin-Williams’ Coastal Cool Collection (breezy hues of greens, blues and neutrals).