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How to Paint the Exterior of Your Home

Read time: 4.5 minutes


  • Painting your home’s exterior takes a bit more than just a brush and some paint.
  • Be sure to prep your tools and materials, including cleaning supplies, a ladder and paint supplies.
  • You’ll need to clean and smooth the surface of your home’s exterior, sanding away imperfections and filling in holes and cracks.
  • Tape off windows and doors before painting on a coat of quality primer.
  • When you’re ready to paint, be sure it’s not too humid or windy, as this can affect the quality of the finished product.
  • Start at the top of the wall and work your way down. Then seal it up with a coat of satin finish.

Painting a home’s exterior is a big, yet simple project for DIY homeowners to complete. It’s great for bringing life back to your home and is necessary in the case of cracking, peeling or blistering paint—as this condition will only worsen in time. Fresh paint also helps to improve value when (and if) it’s time to sell, so use these tips to make sure your paint job goes as smoothly as possible!

Tools and Materials

Painting your home’s exterior takes a bit more than just a brush and some paint. Read up on tips for picking the perfect paint for your home and visit your local Doug Ashy store to pick it up. With the right preparation, your home will come out looking like it was painted by a pro! Make sure you have these tools ready before continuing with the painting process.

  • 5-in-1 multipurpose painter’s tool
  • Ladder
  • Broom
  • Painter’s tape
  • Soap, water and a good supply of rags for cleaning
  • Turpentine or paint thinner (for oil-based paints)
  • Plastic sheets or drop cloths to catch any drips or spatters
  • Pressure washer, wire brush or putty knife to prep surfaces
  • Caulk gun for patching
  • Paintbrushes, paint roller and tray
  • Primer and paint (of course)

Although a paint sprayer isn’t absolutely necessary, it can significantly speed up the time it takes to complete the project. However, make sure to practice with the sprayer before proceeding to paint your house, as these tools take some time to master. You can rent one of these from your local Doug Ashy store, and get tips from our staff on how to get the best results.

Prep the Surface

Every successful home project starts with a bit of preparation. After you’ve gathered the necessary tools and materials, here’s what’s next.

Smooth the Exterior—Paint holds best to clean surfaces free of debris and obstructions. Remove old, peeling paint with a pressure washer, wire brush or putty knife and remove obstructions like old nails or screws, or hardened paint drips.

Clean the Surface—The quickest way to clean surfaces is to pressure wash them with an herbicide, bleach, or detergent to remove algae, mildew and grime. However, always remember to rinse afterward. Clean from top to bottom without letting the pressure build too high, as it could damage weak or brittle surfaces. Always be sure the surface is dry before proceeding.

Patch & Repair Damages—Repair any loose, damaged or rotted material before painting. It’s important to fill in cracks, seams and holes with caulk, then smooth it out with a putty knife or wet sponge. Use mortar or a masonry caulk in the case of stucco, brick, cement, or stonework. This helps give the exterior a smooth and uniform look. Allow the patches to dry completely before painting.

Make Sure to Prime—Priming with a quality sealer helps achieve the best results with your paint job. Adding a layer of primer allows for a surface ideal for the paint to adhere to, allowing new paint to bond exceptionally well.

Exterior Painting Tips

Here are a few key tips to that you should keep in mind when painting the exterior of your home.

Mind the Weather—Try to paint in the shade, especially in warm climates. Bright sunlight can dry paint too fast and leave brush marks, overlap marks, faded color or a thin-looking coat. Windy days present a similar problem, as excessive wind can cause the paint to dry poorly and blow debris onto wet paint. Although latex paint breathes well, avoid painting if humidity is very high as this can lead to blistering.

Begin at the Top—Paint from the highest point down. Observe ladder safety. Anchor it securely and don’t reach too far to either side.

Be Sure to Get Under the Siding—Paint under the bottom edge of each lap first. Then cover the horizontal space.

Seal— It’s typically a good idea to add a final coat with a satin finish, as this helps seal the paint and reflect sunlight away for a longer-lasting paint job.

Clean Up—Once you’re finished, all that’s left is the clean-up. Make sure paint cans and cleaning agents are sealed tightly before storage.

Still have paint-related questions? We’ve got you covered. Visit any of our locations and have our team of dedicated experts guide you to finding the perfect solution for your home!

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