The first step in a quality exterior painting job, or in any painting project for that matter, is start with a clean surface. This means that you will need to power wash. You probably will need to rent a power washer – something you can do at any major hardware or tool rental store. You will need a ladder to powerwash, depending on the height of your home you will need either an extension or step ladder. (or both)…you can rent a powerwasher for about $100 a day. You can rent ladders for about $40 a week.
Once you have all of this equipment you should power wash every surface that you plan to paint, making sure to use proper technique so as not to leave wand marks due to the extreme water pressure. It is good to use a watered down mixture of bleach and sodium tri-phosphate to kill and prevent mildew and mold and to wash away chalking. Often people ask, what is chalking? This is that chalk like substance that sticks to your hand when you touch the unwashed parts of your home, that is most often present on homes that have not been painted in awhile. A photo of chalking on a hand is below. Chalking is always the color of the paint job and is the paint properties breaking down from sunlight Rust Prevention .
To repeat: One of the most important steps in painting is to clean the working surface; otherwise, paint cannot stick to the dirty surface and will peel within a year. You can hire a professional painter or power washing contractor to wash a home usually for under $200.
Always be safe on ladders and roofs, it is very easy for someone to slip and fall. When power washing there is no need to get right up close to the surface, usually eight feet away, or so, is fine. Finally, it is very important to allow the surface to completely dry off, allow at least a day for the washed area to try, longer if there is rain or high humidity.
Once you have allowed the paint surface to dry you can begin preparing the work surface to receive paint. First you need to caulk. It is important to use only siliconized latex caulk. It must have latex in it and say “paintable” on tube. Buy color caulk to match your paint color if you plan on only doing one coat of paint, but white colored caulk should be fine if you are planning on two coats of paint and is usually cheaper per tube than colored caulk. Make sure to caulk all gaps in the wood and joints. Do not caulk wood to stucco.