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Exterior painting step by step

Follow these simple steps to ensure that your exterior paint will last for many years

This guide is designed to help those who would like to paint their home. It is only relevant in certain climate zones.
Our painting compnany is based in Winter Park, FL, as such; these steps should suffice for anyone in the southern region
of the U.S. If you live in a much colder climate or one that receives a lot of snow, I suggest you look for specific insights
for those regions.

The exterior painting process is fairly simple and straight forward but must be adhered to in order to have a quality lasting job.
The process should mimic these steps:

  • Preparation
  • Cleaning
  • Conditioning
  • Caulking
  • Coating

Preparation should start with trenching around the perimeter of the home. You want to pull back the top soil from the walls of the home
to ensure that the coating goes below the ground level. This part should be done prior to cleaning so that surface debris, dirt and mildew
can be removed before moving forward. This would also be a great time to move any coach lights or light fixtures that are in the way. I do not
recommend taping off the coach lights because the coating gets really weak from years of sun exposure. Tape will pull off a lot of the finish on
the lights. Windows and other fixtures will need to be covered after the cleaning is complete.

The house will need to be power washed at this stage. You will want to use a machine with a minimum of 3600 psi. The little electric washers will
cost you a lot of time and are not really effective. If needed, you can rent a machine at your local tool rental store. It is vital that this takes
place prior to sealing, caulking and painting. If your home is extremely chalky, you may need to do this process in two stages in order to remove
most of the chalk. I don’t like to use chemicals when avoidable. I would advise against using a chlorine solution unless absolutely necessary.
If you have rust or iron stains, try for some CLR or a solvent designed for iron stains. A mild degreasing solution should work for most mild mildew
stains. When you are pressure washing start at the top and work your way down. This will ensure that that the dirt and debris from the top gets
properly rinsed as you work down the wall. If you used any cleaning solutions, make sure the thoroughly rinsed as well. Once the cleaning is done,
you may still need to hand scrape any areas where paint is lifting or peeling.

Conditioning can also be referred to as sealing. You are applying a clear or milky solution to all the areas that will be painted. The reason is to
bind any remaining chalk on the house prior to painting or caulking. This can be rolled or sprayed. If you roll it, start at the bottom and work up.
The conditioner is very thin and will go everywhere if not. Apply a layer to all areas that will be painted. Be careful if you decide to spray it. The
product atomizes very easily and can travel quite far on windy ways. It is also nearly impossible to remove it if it gets on windows, cars, clothing even
though it often dries clear.

You will want to caulk all cracks and voids on the surfaces to be painted. This will include fascia/siding joints and seams, around all windows and trim,
and all stair step cracks that appear on block or stucco. Never caulk in the underneath gaps of siding. These gaps should be left open for breath-ability.
Use a 50-60 yr siliconized acrylic or a acrylic urethane modified caulk. When you are caulking stair step cracks on block or siding. It is important to bridge
the gap. Do not just fill in the crack only, feather out the edges to for a bridge over the crack. If you have areas where the cracks are protruding outwards,
then you may need to gouge the protrusion and create a “V” so the caulking can be properly bonded.

Now you are ready for your topcoat. The topcoat can be either spray of back-rolled. I prefer to spray and back-roll. This ensures that the coating is applied at
a uniform millage. It is very important that if you spray, the coating must still be back-rolled in order to properly penetrate pinholes and minute voids on the
surface. If you roll the coating, make sure that you are applying heavy enough. The roller should never be dry. Work wall to wall or seam to seam so that there
will not be any visible flashing or streaking.

Their are plenty of nuances that I did not mention, but feel free to reach out to me with any questions.

As always, Happy Painting

Michael Brooks
Epic Home Services, Inc.

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