Premature paint deterioration is often the result of moisture and water vapor, which originates inside the home and penetrates through the wall and siding. For example, one of the most common ways to detect failing tub and shower walls is by the appearance of blistering and other paint deterioration at the outside of the wall in question. Such exterior paint damage cannot be corrected by any exterior painting process unless the cause of the moisture or water vapor is first eliminated and associated repairs are made. A careful inspection of the exterior and interior of the home should thus be performed before exterior siding and painting work begins. Poor quality painting is counter productive. A good exterior paint job should last 10-15 years. Good quality painting includes the following steps:

  • Removal of any unused miscellaneous fittings, hooks, old electrical equipment, etc.
  • Removal of tree limbs and other vegetation in contact with the house or overhanging the roof.
  • Re-grading of the yard in such a way as to eliminate the possibility of any soil touching the siding or any portion of the wood framing of the house.
  • Check that a proper drainage system exists and is functioning. Please see: Gutters, Downspouts, and Drains, and Downspout Drain Systems.
  • Replacement or repair of any damaged siding and trim.
  • Modification, or repair of the various venting systems in the house to assure low interior moisture.
  • Washing, scraping, and sanding as required. Caution: Older paint products often contain high levels of lead. Paint chips and sanding dust from such buildings are often ingested or inhaled by small children. It can also contaminate the soil. For more information, you may want to contact the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, Office of Health and Safety, (1-800-423-7233).
  • Some siding products are best maintained with good quality stains. Check with a good painter, lumber yard, or full service paint store to decide on the best product for your home.
  • Prime as required, including all raw wood, and damaged areas.
  • Painting: use good quality paint and follow instructions on the can or manual.

Note: Painting rags, tools, and debris covered with some painting products can start fires through spontaneous combustion - be careful. Dispose of leftover paints and other household products in accordance with the law - call the Household Waste Information Hotline: (206-296-4692).

Note: Full service paint stores are usually available for technical assistance in preparation for good do-it-yourself exterior painting work, and/or referral to reliable painting contractors. As a rule of thumb, you should count on spending 80% of the total time required to paint your home in preparation, and only 20% of the time with the brush in hand.