How to Paint Exterior Siding

Before starting the work, make a note of and avoid any near by power lines in the area you will be working. Pre 1978 homes should be aware of lead paint issues.

Basic supplies and equipment: Paint, primer, thinner (If using oil/alkyd), latex caulk, wood filler, course and medium grit sand paper, rags, ladders, drop cloths, masking tape & masking paper, paint brushes, paint buckets, pot hooks, paint-can opener, stir-sticks, hammer, nail set, pliers, screwdrivers.

Personal items: hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, gloves.

Outline of Painting Procedure:
  • Clean Surface
  • Seal surface if necessary
  • Patch, Caulk and Prime
  • Apply Insulating paint ( 1st coat)
  • Apply finish coat (wear layer)

Cleaning: To make short work of the cleaning you can use a power washer to remove mildew, dirt, loose and peeling paint. Power washers are powerful so use caution to avoid damaging the surface. When you pick up the machine from the rental shop make sure you understand the safety and operating instructions. Pressure washers come with a chemical injection dip tube so that you can easily apply your cleaning solution. Most machines have a number of spray tips that control the amount of pressure. Use a tip size just powerful enough to remove the surface dirt, avoid the extreme high pressure tips ( pencil point tips) Use a strong detergent and bleach solution to dissolve dirt and kill any mildew. Caution...Bleach is extremely caustic and will harm skin, clothing and plants. A safer solution is Hy-Tech House Wash.

Allow the wood a couple of days to dry before painting.

Sealing the surface:
The surface will need a coat of sealer IF...chalk remains after washing or if there was excessive peeling or cracking of the existing paint. One coat of Chalk Locker will be necessary to penetrate and seal off the surface.

Patch, Caulk and Prime:
Areas that peeled back to the surface need to be "spot primed" with a latex base primer sealer.

Holes and gouges in the wood surface can be patched with Wood Dough, Exterior Spackle, or similar exterior products. The patching/filling products can be sanded smooth when dry and then primed along with the siding. Cracks, joints and window and door openings should be caulked. We recommend using a paintable latex acrylic caulk. Caulking compound generally does not need to be primed before it is painted, and should be applied to a primed surface rather than to bare wood.

Applying The Paint:
We recommend two coats of Hy-Tech Insulating Ceramic, Satin Finish House Paint which dries to a smooth self-cleaning mildew resistant finish.

Brush, Spray or Roll?
All HY-TECH paints and coatings can be applied by Brush, Roller or Spray. We recommend using a paintbrush for the spot priming so as to work the primer into the surface of the wood more so than a spray would. If you want to spray the finish coats read our tutorial on Spray painting. Most exterior wood siding does not provide the best type of surface to make using a roller very practical. But some times a 4-6 inch roller along with a brush can save a little time on certain surfaces.

Start at the top, work from the top down, and follow the run of the boards. Paint the overhangs and fascia boards first. Window casings can sometimes be reach entirely from having the ladder set on or under the windowsill of shorter windows, however tall window casings will have to be painted with your ladder to the side of the casing. On horizontal siding take a strip of 4 to 6 boards, clapboards or 18 to 24 inches wide, and paint your way across the side of the building, working over the top of your ladder. This method will require you to move your ladder laterally each time you paint the part of a strip within your reach. The reasoning of using this method is to avoid lap marks. You can leave off for a break whenever you get to the end of a strip or a casing board.

Avoiding lap marks is not that crucial for the primer coat, but for finish coats especially gloss paints, it is necessary to use these methods for a satisfactory finish. The idea to avoid lap marks is to keep wet edge of paint until you complete a strip. If paint begins to set up on an unfinished strip, then you overlap the partially dried paint; it will most likely leave a lap mark at that point. As a strip of clapboards is finished across, you can lower your ladder and take the next strip across heading back toward the other corner. (Remember a good time to leave off for a break is at the end of a strip). At the gable ends; start at the top working your way down and from side to side.

During most of the painting season you will want to avoid painting on the sunny side of a building, so rotating to a different side before one side is finished may be necessary.

Multi Colors:

If you are using more than one color, let the first color paint dry before cutting in with the next. Trim items, doors, shutters, window trim etc should be painted after the siding is painted.