Painting Wood Siding, House and Garage
What you'll need:
Here's everything you'll need to get it right the first time.
  • Trisodium phosphate (TSP) or substitute
  • Appropriate chemical resistant gloves
  • A painter's hat, goggles, dust masks
  • Cloth or plastic drop cloths
  • Painter's tape (narrow and wide)
  • Plastic bags (large and small)
  • Newspapers
  • Paint brushes, at least one of each of the following: 2/12 cm, 5 - 8cm, 10 -13 cm
  • Rollers and roller covers in widths and fabrics for the surface and finish you choose
  • Paint trays and liners
  • Extension poles and/or a stepladder
  • Stir sticks
You may also want:
  • Paintable caulk
  • Wide-blade scraper
  • Putty knife
  • Edge pads
  • Sponge mop
  • Sand paper - medium and fine grit
  • Sand-sponge for trim and molding

 

The exterior of your home is visible to the outside world—your neighbors and passers-by—can be viewed as a statement of who you are. When it's time to spruce it up or make a dramatic change—such as painting the entire wood frame of the house—you'll want to prepare yourself for a big job. Proper planning and preparation are essential to help you get through the entire process with ease.

Note: If you are painting aluminum siding, need to be aware of additional considerations for these unusual substrates.

 
 
Step 1 - Select Your Colour Palette

Consider the environment surrounding your home to narrow the colour choices for your exterior painting project. An effective way to help you choose the best colour from a few finalists is to move the colour chips—or better yet, a large sample board with paint samples of each option—around the house and yard to see which colours works best. If the sample board is large enough, walk to the curb for another perspective.

View the options with these considerations in mind:

  • Landscaping, such as stone borders and surrounding greenery, contribute colour to the look from the street or backyard.
  • House colours throughout your neighborhood can offer ideas you may not have imagined. Using similar colour intensities unifies the community.
  • Building materials used on your home are a big part of your overall colour story. Your roof is a prominent colour. If you have brick walls, choose colours that will look good in the same view. Your home's architectural style can also help define your colour choices. Our experts suggest colour palettes based on the style of the house. If your home is a landmark, national and local historical societies will influence or limit your choice of colours. Even if you don't have a famous house, you may like the colours from an historic time period.
  • The size of your home and property can influence the intensity of the colour you might choose. For instance, a bold colour on the siding of a large home, that is situated on a small property, says, "Look at me."
  • Climate conditions and the degree of sunlight your home is exposed to might affect the colours You're thinking of using; dark colours absorb more heat.
  • Try our Online Painter Your home is unique, and sometimes it is difficult to imagine what paint colours and changes will work best. We help make it easy for you. Simply upload a digital photograph of your home onto our Web site and, utilizing our siding and trim painting tool, try out a combination of colours until it feels just right. It's free!


 
Step 2 - Choose a Paint Finish
Flat and satin finishes are typically used for main body colours and for larger areas where minor imperfections need to be masked and, at the same time, provide a less reflective surface.

Satin or semi-gloss finishes are ideal for windows and doors, especially horizontal surfaces like ledges or sashes that tend to collect more dirt.


 
Step 3 - Planning

Determine what your paint and primer needs will be and what they will cost. You can estimate how much paint you'll need with our Paint Calculator. If you purchase more than one container of a paint colour, mix them together before you start painting, to keep the colour consistent throughout your project. You can also plan the painting to end each container at a wall facing a different direction.

Realistically estimate the time it will take to get the job done; however long you think it will take to prepare and paint the surface, unless you are an experienced painter, you should double it.

Plan for and secure any equipment you will need. How tall is the tallest point of the siding? Do you have a ladder that high and the experience to use it safely? Do you need a scaffold or a lift?

Choose the right painting clothes. Expect to get paint on your clothes and shoes. Ripped jeans, an old t-shirt and shoes are always a good bet.

Consider ordering a pizza that can be delivered, so you can take a break without changing your shoes.


 
Helpful Information
Factoring in the Weather
Factoring in the Weather

Stay flexible in your plan because outside weather conditions can mess with your painting schedule. Both surface and air temperatures, along with humidity, will affect the overall speed and process of evaporation. Latex acrylic paints dry and cure through this evaporative process of water and other components, leaving the film layer you know as paint. If the temperature is too cold, evaporation slows and the resin components within the coating become less flexible. The result is a coating that does not dry and cure properly and does not flow and level, leading to appearance and adhesion problems.

In wet or humid conditions moisture slows the process even further, creating other appearance and film coat problems.

Primer tends to dry faster than paint, but the same temperature and humidity concerns should be followed for all exterior paint coatings—whether they are oil based or latex. Ideally, 72 hours without rain after an application will ensure optimal results; a minimum of 24 hours is required to avoid additional problems, as the coating will still be water sensitive during the first day after application.


 
 
Step 4 - Repair

It's important to fix and prep problem areas before you begin to paint:

  • Look around the house for any soft or rotting wood, especially around windows and doors. You will need to replace it with new wood prior to painting.
  • There are several common problems that tend to arise when painting exteriors, which will need to be corrected before you apply more paint..
  • Fill cracks and holes. Paintable caulk can be your best friend on exterior painting projects, but you don't want to overuse it. For instance, caulk is not suitable for repairing large holes; rather, it is best used for sealing the spaces between window frames and siding. Follow all manufacturer directions.

 
Step 5 - Protect
Ground

Cover the ground completely with drop cloths along the perimeter of your home or painting area. Drips or spills on porous concrete are difficult to remove. You don't need to tape the drop clothes, but you should weigh them down with rocks or bricks. A big gust of wind, and your drop cloth could end up sticking to your wet paint, getting tangled in your feet or dumping over your paint tray. When it comes to drop cloths, cloth is king. Paint drips or spills on plastic don't get absorbed and can create a slippery mess.

Tape along the top edge of door and window frames using quality painter's tape (with at least a 2" width).

Tip: We recommend painter's tape because masking tape dries out too quickly and becomes difficult to remove. Once you have applied the painter's tape to the baseboard, pass over it with a putty knife, or a credit card, to smooth out any bubbles and ensure adhesion. This will keep any paint from getting underneath the tape. Remove the tape while the paint is still wet.

On lighting fixtures, mailboxes and railings, if you will be painting any area above them tape a plastic bag over the fixture to protect it from paint drips.


 
Helpful Information
Remarke about Pressure Washers
Note about Pressure Washers

Pressure washers can get dirt off your home’s exterior surfaces quickly, but be careful. High-pressure water can cause serious injury to skin, and it can gouge wood. Start with lower pressure settings, and follow all manufacturer instructions. Use the washer on siding and hand wash around windows and doors.


 
Using a Ladder
Using a Ladder

Always remember: Safety first.

Falling off a ladder can result in serious injury. Do not lean over or reach too far from your ladder’s current position. Instead, get down and move the ladder. Also, never ascend to the top rung; the ladder won’t be stable with your weight at the very top. If you are on the ladder and something falls, such as the paintbrush, let it drop to the ground. Trying to catch it while you are still on the ladder could cause you to fall.


 
 
Step 6 - Remove Old Paint and Prep Walls

Use a scraper to remove any flaking paint and make sure to wear goggles to avoid falling paint chips from getting into your eyes. Using a sponge mop, wash all surfaces with a solution of TSP (or a substitute) and water (according to the manufacturer's instructions). Rinse with water and let dry thoroughly.

Tip: TSP is typically found in the paint department near the solvents. We recommend TSP because it is a non-abrasive, all-purpose cleaner that can be used on practically any type of surface. It is also a concentrate, which makes it a bit stronger than most ordinary cleansers. So protect your eyes and skin from splashes and keep it away from your prized flowers, bushes and even grass in concentrations. (Please note: Due to regulations, TSP may not be available in all areas.)

Bare woodwork: Use a latex or oil-based specialty primer that is formulated to block stains.

Glossy painted surfaces: Prime your glossy surfaces to promote adhesion of the top coat. There are three ways to prime a glossy surface:

  1. Use a latex or oil-based primer formulated for glossy surface adhesion.
  2. Scuff the surface with 180-grit sand paper. The scuffing will help the new paint adhere better.
  3. Before painting, wash the surface with TSP (or a substitute) according to the manufacturer's instructions; rinse with water and let dry.
 
Step 7 - Clear Away Debris
Get rid of dirt and dust. Wash all the surfaces. A power washer can make the job go by more quickly, but be careful to guard against injury or gouging the wood. Follow all manufacturer instructions. Hand washing is best for cleaning corners and eaves. Don't forget to reach down to where the siding touches the ground. This is likely to be dirty.

Plants
Weeds, grass and even flowers that grow next to the house can end up in your paint, or end up getting painted. Use a drop cloth to cover and bend plants away from the house. Brush away dirt from the siding, leaving an area wide enough to get the brush all the way down to the edge.

Pets
Keep your pets locked up during the painting process and make sure someone can supervise the children while you work.
 
Step 8 - Clean and Dry Surfaces
Walls

Moving from top to bottom, and using an ordinary sponge mop, clean the walls thoroughly with TSP (or a substitute) and water, according to the manufacturer's instructions. Rinse well and let dry.

For large areas, use a sponge mop to wash all surfaces with a solution of TSP and water (according to the manufacturer's instructions). Rinse with water and let dry thoroughly.

Tip: TSP is typically found in the paint department near the solvents. We recommend TSP because it is a non-abrasive, all-purpose cleaner that can be used on practically any type of surface. It is also a concentrate, which makes it a bit stronger than most ordinary cleansers. So protect your eyes and skin from splashes and keep it away from your prized flowers, bushes and even grass in concentrations. (Please note: Due to regulations, TSP may not be available in all areas.)

Trim: Clean moldings and window sills with sponges or rags before you paint.
 
Step 9 - Prime the Walls

Primer is essential to achieving professional-looking results. Bare wood, drywall, patching compound and plaster require primer to seal the surface. With proper priming, you will use less topcoat and the final colour will lay rich on the top layer.

Check out our enamel undercoat and multi-purpose primers.

Tip: If you are repainting walls or woodwork in excellent condition, and/or you are not making dramatic colour changes, priming is usually not needed.

Need to prime? Not sure which type to use? Our Valspar technical support team (techsupport@valspar.com or 1-800-785-1276) can help you determine if you need a primer as well as what type of primer you should choose.

 
Helpful Information
Loading Brushes
Loading Brushes
Loading a Brush
Moisten the brush with water (for latex paint) then squeeze out any excess fluid.
 
Dip the brush in the paint carefully, placing no more than 2/3 of the bristles into the paint and move the brush around a bit the first time to saturate the brush with paint.
 
Pull the brush up and let the excess paint drip off—overloading leads to drips, runs, and spatter. You can also remove some excess paint by pulling the bristles against the edge of the paint can.
 
Loading a Roller
Loading Rollers
Loading a Roller
First get the roller a little damp. Use a thinner for alkyd-based paint and plain old water for latex.
 
Roll off any excess. Fill the roller well about half way and lower the roller into the middle.
 
Roll up and down the slope of the pan to saturate the roller and roll off any excess.
 
Cutting In
Cutting In

"Cutting in" is a technique that helps you achieve clean lines at the corners and edges. Using an angled 2" trim brush, make a series of short strokes away from the edges where the walls or ceiling and wall meet. Work in 3-foot sections so you maintain a wet edge.

Tip: Paint pads make cutting in around door and window frames a cinch! They save time and deliver a reliably uniform edge. Keep the wheels very clean to prevent marking the wall, and work in 3-foot sections to maintain a wet edge.


 
Priming Stained Surfaces
Priming Stained Surfaces

Stained surfaces need primer to stop the stain from migrating to your top coat. Some woods naturally bleed tannins, which are natural colour compounds in wood. Smoke and water can also leave stains, which will come through the top coat no matter how many coats you apply. Select a stain-blocking primer that is best for the type of stain, either an oil-based or latex-based product.

Learn more about stain blocking primers.


 
Spot Priming
Spot Priming

If you've sanded down to a bare surface, you will need to prime those spots. For some stains, spot priming is the best way to save time and lock in the stain from migrating to the topcoat. Don't forget to feather-sand edges so the topcoat applies evenly.


 
Priming Glossy Surfaces
Priming Glossy Surfaces

Prime glossy surfaces to promote adhesion of the topcoat.

There are three ways to prime a glossy surface:

  1. Use a latex or oil-based primer formulated for glossy surface adhesion.
  2. Use a liquid deglosser such as Prepaint, following all label instructions.
  3. Go over the surface with 180-grit sandpaper. The scuffing will help the new paint adhere. Before painting, wash the surface with TSP and water according to the manufacturer’s instructions; rinse with water and let dry.

Learn more about multi-purpose primers.


 
Dramatic Colour Changes
Dramatic Colour Changes

You can achieve a professional result with dramatic colour changes when you use the right primer. Use a high-hiding primer if you want to paint a light colour over a dark colour. Choose a tintable primer if you are painting a dark colour over a light colour.

Learn more about exterior primers.


 
Using a Sprayer
Using a Sprayer

Applying paint using a spray apparatus brings a number of new issues to paint application; you should practice the technique before you perform it for the first time. Thinning should be avoided, but it could be necessary, depending on the type, size and power of the equipment being used. Airless paint sprayers are most common for large exterior applications. Make sure you follow manufacturer safety recommendations and wear a vapor respirator at all times when spraying.


 
 
Step 10 - Paint the Trim

It is best to paint the trim work before the walls are painted. Use a 2" angled tip/sash brush and paint around the room in one direction, so that you do not miss any areas. Next, paint the window trim, door trim and any molding. Remove tape before the paint dries.

Need a refresher on loading a brush?


 
Helpful Information
Loading a Brush
Loading Brushes
Loading a Brush
Moisten the brush with water (for latex paint) then squeeze out any excess fluid.
 
Dip the brush in the paint carefully, placing no more than 2/3 of the bristles into the paint and move the brush around a bit the first time to saturate the brush with paint.
 
Pull the brush up and let the excess paint drip off—overloading leads to drips, runs, and spatter. You can also remove some excess paint by pulling the bristles against the edge of the paint can.
 
 
Step 11 - Cut In

"Cutting in" is a technique that helps you achieve clean lines at the corners and edges. Using an angled 2" trim brush, make a series of short strokes away from the edges where the walls or ceiling and wall meet. Work in three-foot sections so you maintain a wet edge.

Tip: Paint pads make cutting in around door and window frames a cinch! They save time and deliver a reliably uniform edge. Keep the wheels very clean to prevent marking the wall, and work in three-foot sections to maintain a wet edge.

Tip: If you have to take a break from your painting project, instead of rinsing the brush or roller, tightly wrap the tool in plastic wrap or an airtight plastic bag. The plastic wrap will keep the paint wet, so the roller can be reused later that day.

Check your product label for dry times and recoat if desired. Remember not to put anything against the walls until the paint is completely dry; otherwise,you'll be back to step one.

Need a refresher on loading a roller?


 
Helpful Information
Loading a Roller
Loading Rollers
Loading a Roller
First get the roller a little damp. Use a thinner for alkyd-based paint and plain old water for latex.
 
Roll off any excess. Fill the roller well about half way and lower the roller into the middle.
 
Roll up and down the slope of the pan to saturate the roller and roll off any excess.
 
 
Step 12 - Paint the Walls

Brushing and rolling will always be a combined process with exterior painting; small detail areas are generally done with a brush, and larger body sections are done with the roller. Blending the two areas, wet on wet, is very important because it will allow the material to flow and level together, becoming a complete and uniform film.

Painting Clapboard with a Pad

  1. Paint the bottom edges of each siding board with long smooth strokes.
  2. Load the whole pad with paint and pull the pad along the length of the board. Smooth out overlapping areas as you paint. Starting at the top and working your way down, smooth out overlapping areas with the pad to avoid a seam. Work quickly. If the paint dries before you smooth out the edges, your seams will show.
Painting Clapboard with an Airless Sprayer
  1. Hold your spray gun on its side and cover the bottom edges of each individual clapboard.
  2. Hold your sprayer upright and paint along the length of each board surface with overlapping, parallel strokes. Work quickly. You want to achieve a smooth, even surface before the first spray strokes dry.

Tip: Use sprayers with caution and be aware of safety procedures; follow all manufacturers' recommendations.


 
Step 13 - Finishing Touches

Look around your newly painted exterior and see if there are any small items you could paint—such as lighting fixtures, address numbers, clay pots, lawn furniture or mailboxes—to bring your colour scheme to the next level.


 
Step 14 - Clean and Be Green

More painting to do tomorrow with the same colour? You don't have to clean brushes and rollers when you take a break. Wrap them in sealed plastic to stay moist until you are ready to paint again.

Tip: If paint has hardened on the handle or along the edge of the bristles, soften it with warm water so you can remove it before you begin to paint. Make sure you dry the brush before you dip it.

Project Finished? Don't throw away the rollers and brushes. With proper cleaning and storage, good painting tools can be reused many times. Reusing them saves you time and money, and also helps the environment, because you're generating less waste.


 
Helpful Information
Cleaning Rollers
Cleaning Rollers
Latex Paint

To remove excess paint, scrape the tool thoroughly or wipe it across cardboard or newspaper.

If you are removing latex paint, partially fill a sink with warm water and roll the applicator back and forth. You can also remove paint in a bucket of water. If necessary, add detergent to remove partially dried material. Rinse the roller until the water is clear. Let dry.

Spin the roller to release excess moisture and then place it in a clean plastic bag (food storage bags work great).


 
Oil-Based Paint (Alkyd)

To remove excess paint, scrape the tool thoroughly or wipe it across cardboard or newspaper.

For oil-based paint, roll the applicator in a paint tray containing mineral spirits (petroleum distillate) or paint thinner. Next, wash the roller in soapy water. Rinse thoroughly and let dry.

Spin the roller to release excess moisture and then place it in a clean plastic bag (food storage bags work great).


 
Cleaning Brushes
Cleaning Brushes
Latex Paint
If you used latex paint, remove the excess paint in a bucket or container while the paint is still wet. It is much more difficult to remove dried paint with soap and water —if necessary, use a brush comb to remove it. Wash off the remaining paint under running water.
 
If you're going to use the brush again within a day, suspend the brush in a coffee can full of water making sure the bristles don't touch the bottom of the can. You don't want a brush with bent bristles. For long-term storage, hang brushes from a hook.
 
Alkyd/Oil Paint

Oil-based paint should be removed in a bucket or container with mineral spirits (petroleum distillate), rinsed in tap water and then washed with soapy water. Rinse the brush until the water runs clear.

Keep alkyd paint containers closed when not in use. Do not transfer contents to other containers for storage or disposal. In case of spillage, absorb with an inert material such as sand or kitty litter. Dispose of contaminated absorbent, container and/or unused contents in accordance with local, state and federal regulations.


 
 
DANGER: A spontaneous combustion hazard exists when cleaning up after using products that contain drying oils, such as linseed oil or tung oil. Rags, steel wool, sanding dust or waste soaked with oil-based products may spontaneously catch fire if improperly discarded. Immediately after each use, place rags, steel wool, sanding dust or waste in a sealed, water-filled metal container.
 
Storing Paint
Disposal, Storage and Recycling
 
Use It Up
If usable latex paint is leftover after the project is done, you can:
  • Use it for touching up your work, or store it away for future fixes.
  • Mix small amounts of paint together and use it as an undercoat for future jobs.
  • Donate paint to charities, church groups, community groups, theater groups, schools or your neighbor.
  • Contact your local recycling center to see if the cans and lids can be recycled.
Never place liquid paint in the trash or pour it down the drain.
 
Storing Paint
Prepare the paint for storage: Label the paint can lid with the colour and location where the paint was used. To properly store your paint make sure you tightly seal the can. First, wipe away any excess paint from the rim. Then cover the can opening with plastic wrap. Put the lid securely in place and tap it down with a mallet. Store the can upside down. If the can is leaking, place it in a leak-proof container.

Store paint where temperatures are moderate. Temperature extremes can negatively affect paint and make it unusable. Never allow paint to freeze.

Quick-reference your stored cans by brushing a small amount of paint onto the outside surface (body of can or lid) and writing the colour name and number in permanent ink. You can also identify the room or wall that was painted with that colour.

You may also want to create and save a file on your computer of the paints you have placed in storage; that way, if someone tosses it by mistake you still have the information at your fingertips.

Keep paint in a safe location, away from children and pets.


 
 
Paint Disposal
The proper disposing of paint contributes to a more efficient use of our landfills and, ultimately, safer groundwater and soil. We recommend the following tips:

  • Check local ordinances and waste hauler regulations.
  • Read paint can instructions for proper disposal.
  • Get rid of properly dried latex in your regular household trash; however, follow these steps prior to disposal:
    • Cans with leftover paint should be left open so the paint dries before disposing
    • Make sure you place the drying cans in a well ventilated area. Cans with less than a quarter of the paint remaining will require a few days of drying time; cans with larger amounts will take longer, about a week.
    • You can also add shredded newspaper, sand, sawdust, cat litter or paint solidifier to the paint, which will absorb the excess paint. These materials also work well in stopping paint spills from spreading on most surfaces.
    • Another solution is to punch holes in the top of the can and then place it in a dry area for a couple of weeks.
  • When the cans are ready to be thrown out, make sure the lids have been removed, to let waste haulers know the paint is dry.

NOTE: Oil-based paints, varnish or paint thinners are generally considered hazardous waste. Check with your municipality about any local ordinances and read label instructions before disposal—another good reason why you never want to spill paint on the back of your paint can label. Only dispose through your locally designated household hazardous waste program.
 
 
Recycling
The Valspar Corporation takes environmental sustainability and responsibility seriously. For instance, we’re doing our part both in how we formulate and how we manufacture our paints. Valspar paint and primer products displaying the Clean Air Formula™ logo are low odour and low VOC. Low VOC deremarkes less than 50 grams of VOC per liter. Our architectural paints meet or exceed national, state and local ordinances for low VOC in consumer products.

In addition, we have saved over a million gallons of water usage in our latex plant operations through optimization and reuse programs.

Recycling metal and plastic paint cans should always be considered to reduce landfill usage. Paint cans should be thoroughly clean and dry. Metal cans are recyclable. Plastic cans may be recyclable, if your waste hauler accepts them. Check your local ordinances or your waste hauler to see what is allowed.


 
 
Tool Tips
Good painting tools can be reused many times—saving you money and time spent shopping for new tools, as well as helping the environment by generating less waste.

  • Rollers:
    • To reuse a roller the next day, place it in a plastic bag for storage to prevent it from drying out.
    • With latex paint, partially fill a sink with warm water and roll the applicator back and forth. You can also remove paint in a bucket of water. If necessary, use detergent with the water to remove difficult paint. Rinse the roller until the water is clear. Let dry.
    • For oil-based paint, roll the applicator in a paint tray containing mineral spirits (petroleum distillate) or paint thinner. Then wash the roller in soapy water. Rinse thoroughly and let dry.
    • Spin out the excess moisture and place rollers into clean plastic bags, such as food storage bags.
  • Brushes:
    • With latex paint, remove most of the excess in a bucket or container while the paint is still wet. It is much more difficult to remove dried paint with soap and water. Wash off the remaining paint under running water.
    • Oil-based paint should be removed in a bucket or container with mineral spirits (petroleum distillate), rinsed in tap water and then washed with soapy water. Rinse once more.
    • Moist paint brushes can be wrapped in wax paper and sealed with a rubber band or aluminum foil to retain their shape. Hang the brush upside down to maintain its shape.
    • DANGER: A spontaneous combustion hazard exists when cleaning up after using products that contain drying oils, such as linseed oil or tung oil. Rags, steel wool, sanding dust or waste soaked with oil-based products may spontaneously catch fire if improperly discarded. Immediately after each use, place rags, steel wool, sanding dust or waste in a sealed, water-filled metal container.
  • Other Tools:
    • Follow the directions on the paint label for tools used.
    • Applying the excess paint to cardboard or newspaper, or carefully scraping the tool, should remove excess paint.

 
 
Step 15 - Celebrate
Congratulations! You have successfully transformed a room in your home. Order in, take out, put your feet up and bask in the glory of a job well done.
 
 
 
 
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