Tips on Tackling Exterior Paintwork

Because of the large areas involved break the job down into manageable projects – such as one complete side at a time. Start with the side of the house that gets the most weathering, leaving a sheltered side to perhaps next year. The whole house need not be completed in one go.

Complete the preparation of the whole side first; piecemeal preparation spreads dirt onto newly decorated areas. The usual order for paining is high woodwork and metalwork, such as bargeboards and gutters, then walls, then downpipes, window frames and doors.

Protect any areas not being decorated such as tiled porches, windowsills and patios with dust sheets, preferably old, heavy cotton curtains, sheets or bedspreads.

Make sure you can safely reach the high areas. A ladder should extend at least three rungs above the work area, to give you a secure hold whiles painting, and should be firmly anchored. If there is a lot of wall work, hire a scaffold tower kit.

When working from a scaffold tower or ladder, paint only as much as you can reach without leaning forwards or sideways, then move it to a new position.

Tools and materials – Apart from ladders, scaffolding and dust sheets, you will need a shave hook, a scraper, glass paper, flexible sander or pumice stripping block, paint stripping preparations, exterior grade-grade plaster and wood fillers, flexible sealant and cartridge gun, putty knife, paintbrushes, paints, masking tape, perhaps a metal or plastic paint shield, a wire brush, safety spectacles, and an old paintbrush for dusting woodwork. You may also need wood hardener or a wood-repair system for rotten wood.

General preparations – Where there are cracks and gaps between woodwork and masonry – such as between a window frame and a wall – rake out loose material and fill it with a flexible outdoor sealant applied with a cartridge gun. Sealant can be over painted later – follow directions given on the container.

If there are small areas of wet rot, dig out all soft wood with a chisel and apply a wood hardener to toughen up the remaining fibers, and then fill with an epoxy based wood filler. Or use a proprietary wood-repair system. If there are areas of dry rot have the wood replaced.

New Woodwork – Examine new, unpainted woodwork for cracks and gaps, and fill them with an exterior grade wood filler. When dry, rub the whole of the wood with fine glass paper, working only with the grain of the wood. Brush off dust with an old paintbrush.

Unless using mircroporous paint direct onto the bare wood, apply knotting fluid over any exposed knots and then coat with wood primer, undercoat, and two top coats. If you use a micro porous paint apply two coats.

With all types of paint, smooth over lightly with very fine glass paper between coats to remove any small specks of dust embedded in the paint.

Painted woodwork – For paintwork in good condition, wash with sugar soap, and rinse well. Smooth the surface lightly with a fine flexible sander or a pumice-stripping block dipped in water, to provide a good key for the new paint.

Where there are only small areas of damaged paint, strip them down to bare wood and apply primer and undercoat before lightly rubbing down the whole surface.

Wipe the smooth surface clean with a lint-free cloth dampened with white spirit. When the surface is dry, apply new gloss paint over all the paintwork.

Metalwork – Look for signs of rust. On modern galvanized or alloy windows there should not be any, but on old iron or steel frames rust may be pushing the paint off.

Scrape back paint until all rusted areas are exposed, and then use a wire brush and emery paper to remove all loose rust. Treat the exposed metal with a rust inhibitor and metal primer or with cold galvanizing paint before applying an undercoat and one or two coats of exterior gloss.

If the rust has made holes in the metal, clean off the rust and fill with an epoxy resin-filling compound before painting.

For other metal surfaces, remove loose rust and then paint with rust inhibiting enamel paint.

Brick walls – Never paint good quality facing bricks – not only does paint spoil the appearance, but once applied it can never be removed. Clean bricks with a hard-bristled brush and water only – soap will stain them.

Examine rendered walls for cracks and gaps.

If the wall is discolored with mold, treat the affected area with fungicidal wash. Leave for a week, and then brush off an dead mold before applying a masonry primer or stabilizing fluid.

If a rendered wall is being painted for the first time, coat it with stabilizing fluid or masonry primer before applying exterior-grade masonry emulsion.

Paint the masonry in sections, starting from the top. Apply paint liberally. If it looks transparent after drying, give it a further coat.

Paint pebbledash and spar dash with a shaggy exterior-grade paint roller. However, a roller cannot reach corners so you need a paintbrush to get into them.

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