Is the outside of your house starting to look a little weathered? Sun, rain and air pollution take their toll on your home’s paint finish, and you’ll start to see fading and crack as the years pass. Your exterior paint should last 5-10 years, depending on the environment and type of paint used, and then it’s time to redo it before exposed surfaces get damaged.

It’s a big accomplishment to paint your house exterior. Make sure you can handle the job or hire a professional painting company to do it for you. Also, buy the best quality paint you can afford because, in the end, it is well worth the expense. Now sit back and enjoy your residential masterpiece.

Is it easy to paint your house? As long as you are mobile and ready for a good workday, you can handle it yourself. Here is how to paint the exterior of a house.

1. Assemble your paint tools

To get the job done, you need the right tools for the job. Most are affordable, but a few you can rent unless you want to invest in larger equipment. First of all, you will need outdoor paint from a quality manufacturer. In addition, you will need a paintbrush, paint tray, and a paint sprayer or roller with the extension pole.

Afterwards, you will need other equipment like an extension ladder, pressure washer, and rolls of plastic sheeting. Other crucial items include a palm sander, sanding block, drop cloths, painter’s tape, and epoxy filler. Finally, you will need a caulking gun, putty knife, and choice of primer. Buy what you need, borrow what you can and rent what you have to.

2. Start with pressure washing

Your home’s exterior can take a beating with dirt, dust and mildew building up over time. That needs to be cleaned off to have a clean surface to paint on. Pressure washing can also expose the damage that needs to be repaired before you paint.

Start making slow passes from the bottom, going up with your pressure washer. That way, you can see what you’ve done. Avoid gouging the wood or spraying it into cracks and joints as it can cause damage. You can use a detergent or TSP solution if needed.

3. Cover everything

The water was good for your plants, shrubs and trees, but now you want to protect them. Lay plastic over lower foliage and wrap trees with plastic. This is a good time to do a little pruning, so nothing touches the house. On the bottom of the walls, use drop cloths to catch everything. This includes garden beds, sidewalks, grass and driveway.

You’d be surprised how much paint sprays and drips as you apply it. It’s much easier to cover and protect than wash and wipe off paint from your plants and concrete.

4. Remove loose paint

Now that the pressure washing is done and the walls are dry, you will see what condition the existing paint is in. Take your scraper and sander and work around the building, removing all the cracked, chipped and loose paint.

5. Repair house damage

Look for all signs of damage on wood, siding, stucco, metal and brick. Any areas that need to be repainted or butts up to the painted surface should be fixed. Epoxy filler works great to fill small voids and cracks and can be smoothed out with your putty knife. Let it dry, and then sand it smooth.

6. Tape off windows, doors and hardware

You may think you are a master painter, but even the best of the best will overspray and drip. It’s best to tape plastic over non-painted areas to save you any grief later. Cover doors, windows, air conditioning units, taps, exterior light fixtures and anything else you don’t want to be painted.

7. Use primer

Now it’s time to put paint onto the surface. A primer is intended to seal exposed wood and provide an adhesive layer for your finished paint. You may only need to spot prime areas that are in need. For the entire house, you can roll it or spray it.

Re-caulk trim around windows, doors and any other trim. This can be done before or after primer. Re-glaze around glass if needed. This step will ensure your paint has a smooth surface to adhere to.

8. Start painting the house exterior

This is what you have been waiting for. Painting requires going up and down ladders and spraying or rolling the paint on all surfaces. If you are inexperienced with using a sprayer, start slow. You can’t gain experience without trying. Make sure to get good coverage without dripping and mask everything.

Also, be careful about paint mist landing on uncovered areas. For rolling and brushing, start from the top and work your way down. Try to paint in small areas and leave a wet edge so you can keep moving along without leaving overlap marks. After full coverage, let the wall dry as you move to another section. Once you get two coats on, you should be good.

Next, move on the trim, including around windows and doors, shutters, and other features. Remove your plastic off of windows and doors and carefully cut into the siding. Give two good coats and watch for drips. Now you can remove your drop cloths and clean up your equipment.


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