Project Planner


Step 2: Surface Preparation




Surface preparation is especially critical for exterior applications. This step, combined with choosing top quality paints, will ensure your paint job lasts the longest possible time.

Preparing the Area and Surface


  • Cover plants and other surfaces not to be painted with tarps
  • If painting body of house, dig small trench around house to paint to ground level
  • Caulk around windows, doors, vents. Learn more about caulking inside and out.

Preparing the Surface

If pre-existing problems exist, correct those first to prevent future recurrence. Visit our Exterior Problem Solver for help.

Make a list of all the surfaces that will be painted, such as wood, aluminum siding, vinyl siding. Use the Exterior Prep, Prime and Paint for specific information. For more on surface preparation, use the links below:

Remove old, damaged paint or stain
Get rid of mildew
Clean the area
Prepare glossy surfaces
Select the primer
Check all caulking
Additional tips for specific building materials

Complete your Materials Checklist

  • Types of paint and primers needed
  • Surface prep materials – e.g. exterior patching materials, primers, 100% acrylic topcoats.
  • Tools you’ll need – both for surface prep and applying the paint.

How Much Paint Will You Need? – Simply use the paint calculator to determine paint quantity.

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