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With a wire brush and a wide-blade putty knife remove smaller areas of defect paint. Scrub up underneath the laps of clapboard siding as well as on all your guttering and downspouts. For faster work on metal, a wire brush on an electric drill removes rusty stuff and expired paint with much less effort on your part. For extensive paint removal, buy a sharp pull scraper. This is a tool with a replaceable blade. It's capable of ripping off old paint down to the bare wood in one pass. Hold the scraper so the blade is at right angles to the wooden surface. Apply firm enough pressure then drag it along the wood. Keep the blade tight and flat against the surface so it doesn't gouge out the wood underneath and leave you with a mess to fix up.
To smooth the edges of your scraped spots wrap a piece of sandpaper all around a hand-sized wooden block. For bigger areas use an electric orbital sander so as not to wear yourself ragged. Move it back and forth as well as up and down. Also move it backwards and forwards across the surface to remove old paint and smooth any rough edges at the same time. Never use an electric belt sander or disc sander. These tend to leave dips and swirls in the surface of the wood that WILL show through that new coat of paint you will soon be paying your hard-earned money for :(
For heavier paint deposits applying some heat may be more effective than muscle power. You can apply heat with an electric paint remover. This is a device having a plate-like heating element. It literally "cooks" the paint and has a built-in scraper which then pulls it off. Wear thick gloves and hold the tool against the surface until the paint sizzles. Pull the remover firmly along the surface of the house. The scraper removes the cooked paint for you as you go.
Liquid Paint Removers
Liquid paint removers should only be used as a last resort. They certainly work but are expensive, especially so on larger jobs. They can Also accidently splash onto perfectly good paint. Then you are left with one more problem to take care of.
Once all the loose paint is removed, you must apply the appropriate primer to the distressed areas. Especially important if your paint-removal system has exposed bare metal or raw wood. The primer you choose to use depends on the type of paint you will use later. For metalsyou need to use metal primers. For solvent-thinned paints; solvent-base primers. For latex paint you must use latex primers. These coatings supply extra protection needed against UV rays and inclement weather. They also form a firm foundation for finishing paints to adhere fast to. Priming is always required if working on new timber.
Other Prep Work
If you're lucky enough to avoid much scraping, sanding, and repriming, there are still other prep chores that must be to attended to. While less onerous than removing peeled flaky paint they are no less essential.
Rust stains must be removed. Leaks in gutters and downspouts should always be repaired. Replace leaky caulking along with any split shingles. Cracks in siding are to be filled in, sanded, and then primed. Scrub off all instances of mildew then take the necessary steps to stop it returning.
To make painting easier remove any screens, storm windows, awnings, shutters, wall-mounted light fixtures, and mailboxes. Street address numbers need to also be taken down and painted separately. You can even remove rainwater downspouts because it's often hard to paint behind them.
Done properly washing gets the outside of your house clean and ensures a dirt-free foundation for the new coats of paint. It will also reveal any surface flaws that should fixed up.
There are two ways to approach washing depending on 1) how dirty the house is and, 2) it's size. Use a garden hose with a car wash brush attachment to wash down the larger areas of an average-sized house. For hard to remove dirt and scum use a scrubbing brush or a sponge and a pail of warm water together with a good, strong household detergent. Work from the top down, and rinse off all the areas where you scrubbed with soapy water with pure water.
Rent a high-pressure spray cleaner when cleaning down bigger homes. This machine pumps out a jet of water at a pressure of about 600 psi. It comes with a handheld wand tipped with a trigger-activated nozzle. Such pressure will dislodge stubborn dirt, mildew, stains, and dried-on sea-spray. Be careful as it's strong enough to remove peeling paint. If the jet nozzle is held too close to the surface it can peel off perfectly sound paint, split shingles, and create a hole in siding. Wear goggles and other protective clothing.
You may use the cleaner while working from a ladder although scaffolding is much safer. Practice at ground level first; the force of the spray hitting the house can force you off a ladder unless you are careful. Some machines come with containers you can fill with cleaning solutions or anti-mildew solutions. Sprayers are powerful so you probably won't need to use a cleaning solution. If you do, remember to rinse off the surface with clean water afterward.
Ornamental shrubs, trees, and bushes can get in the way of painting. Prune branches hanging over the house. Likewise those brushing up against walls. Evergreen trees and tall bushes that grow close by your home can be protected with drop cloths. Tie a rope around the trunk at least halfway up. Pull the top of the tree away from your house then tie the other end of the rope to a stake driven into the ground further out in the yard. Cover flower beds, smaller shrubs, driveways and sidewalks with drop cloths to protect them from drips and spills.
If this all sounds far too much work call (828) 357-4402 now for a free in-home quote to see if we can do it for you!