6 Surface Preparation Steps Your Exterior Painters Should Not Skip

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Hiring an exterior painting contractor for your home? Good move. Having your home exterior painted by a professional painting contractor is the best way to ensure quality and durable results. The siding is always exposed to damaging exterior elements such as sunlight, rain, frost, temperature fluctuations, and buds. With a proper paint job, the paint applied won’t stand a chance against the elements.

Surface preparation is an extremely important step that determines how the applied paint turns out and how long it lasts. Each step is critical to the quality of the paint job. If you’re a professional painting contractor, they must be aware of these steps, but some might skip a number of them in an effort to pass on a low-priced bid. Yet, others might overlook important processes due to negligence, lack of sufficient training or experience.

Having said that, here are the most important surface preparation steps that your painter should probably not skip during exterior painting.

Surface Cleaning

Your exterior siding has accumulated lots of dirt, grime and debris over the years, and painting directly over this dirt will cause paint failure within months if not weeks. Oftentimes, many painting contractors use a pressure washer, which is more efficient, robust and faster compared to other methods. While using a bucket of water and a sponge is an option, it’s rather tedious, less efficient, takes too long, and the painter can only use it at their own discretion. By whichever means, the surface needs to be cleaned first.

Paint Stripping

If the siding surface has signs of paint peeling, cracking, flaking or blistering, all the loose paint needs to be scraped off before new paint can be applied. Painting over loose paint often causes cracks in areas of weakness in the new paint film and when the old paint comes off, it goes down with patches of your newly applied paint coat.


Exterior painting and sanding go hand in hand. While the painter might not necessarily sand the entire house exterior, any areas that had the paint stripped off need to be sanded to ensure that any remaining paint has smooth edges. Generally, sanding creates a relatively even and smooth surface suitable for paint adhesion. Without proper sanding, the surface bumps and rough paint edges will be the starting points for paint failure.


Whether your painter carries out surface repairs or not depends on the condition of the siding. If your siding has major damages, dings, and dents, the painter may be able to carry out repairs before painting. If they don’t typically do your type of repairs, or if the damage on your siding is significant, you might have to separately contract a handyman for repairs in advance. Essentially, the painter should not overlook major surface damages and imperfections when applying a new coat of paint.


If it’s been many years since you gave your home’s exterior some TLC, chances are it has missing caulk. If that’s the case, your painter should be able to apply new caulk and fill any gaps and patches before repainting.


Nearly all exterior painting projects require a primer, and if your painter is skipping it, he should have a pretty good reason why. A primer is meant to seal in and block any stains and old paint color that might want to show through your new paint. It also creates an even surface that is suitable for paint adhesion.

The Bottom Line

As mentioned before, good surface preparation is essential for high quality and lasting paint job. The most expensive paint, the best painting technique, and the finest brush will not compensate for even a single needed but skipped preparation step.

At Serious Business Painting, we understand the importance of proper surface preparation, which is why we achieve exceptional durability with all our painting projects.

We’re currently serving the areas of Louisville, Shelby County, Oldham County, Anchorage, Prospect, and Jefferson Town, Kentucky. If you would like to use our professional painting services, simply book a free estimate with us below or call us on 502-641-7969, if you have any questions.

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