Stripping the Wood

Stripping the Wood for Exterior Painting: Strip Wood, Prime, and Paint Like a Pro!

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By Jason The Painter

Discover the expert techniques to transform the exterior of your house with professional-grade painting! In this comprehensive guide, we will take you through the step-by-step process of stripping wood, priming the surface, and achieving flawless paintwork. Whether you are looking to refresh your home’s curb appeal or protect it from the elements, our tips and tricks will help you achieve stunning results. Learn how to properly prepare the surface, choose the right paint products, and apply them like a pro to create a long-lasting, beautiful finish. Follow along and become an expert in exterior house painting today!

Preparation is Key: Stripping the Wood Surface

Before you begin painting the exterior of your house, it is crucial to properly prepare the wood surface. Stripping the old paint or stain is an essential step in achieving a smooth and long-lasting paint job. Here are some tips to help you strip the wood surface like a pro:

  1. Gather the necessary tools and materials: Start by collecting all the tools and materials you’ll need for the stripping process. This typically includes a paint scraper, a wire brush, sandpaper (coarse and fine-grit), a power sander (optional), chemical paint stripper, safety goggles, gloves, and a drop cloth to protect the surrounding areas.
  2. Ensure proper ventilation: Stripping paint can release harmful fumes, so it is important to work in a well-ventilated area. Open windows and doors, and consider using a fan or exhaust system to improve air circulation.
  3. Protect yourself: Before you begin, put on safety goggles and gloves to shield your eyes and hands from any potential hazards. Additionally, wear old clothes or consider using a disposable coverall to protect your clothing from paint stripper and dust.
  4. Cover the surrounding areas: Lay down a drop cloth or plastic sheeting to protect the ground and any nearby plants or furniture from paint stripper and debris.
  5. Test a small area: Before applying the paint stripper to the entire surface, it’s a good idea to test it on a small, inconspicuous area. This will help you determine the effectiveness of the stripper and ensure it doesn’t damage the wood.
  6. Apply the paint stripper: Following the manufacturer’s instructions, apply the paint stripper evenly over the wood surface using a brush or roller. Make sure to work in small sections to prevent the stripper from drying out before you have a chance to remove it.
  7. Wait and scrape: Allow the paint stripper to sit on the wood surface for the recommended amount of time specified by the manufacturer. As the stripper loosens the old paint or stain, use a paint scraper or putty knife to gently scrape it off. Be careful not to gouge or damage the wood during this process.
  8. Remove residue: After scraping off the old paint, use a wire brush or coarse-grit sandpaper to remove any remaining residue. For stubborn areas, you may need to repeat the stripping process or use a chemical solvent specifically designed to remove residue.
  9. Smooth the surface: Once the wood surface is free from old paint or stain, use fine-grit sandpaper or a power sander to smooth out any rough areas or imperfections. This will ensure a clean and even surface for the primer and paint.
  10. Clean the wood: Finally, remove all dust, debris, and residue from the wood surface. You can use a brush, vacuum, or damp cloth to thoroughly clean the stripped area before proceeding to the next step.

By taking the time to properly strip the wood surface, you’ll create a solid foundation for your exterior house paint job. This preparation step is crucial for achieving professional-looking results and ensuring the longevity of your paint job.

The Importance of Primer: Choosing the Right Type

When it comes to house painting exteriors, primer plays a crucial role in ensuring a long-lasting and professional-looking finish. Applying a primer before painting not only enhances the adhesion of the paint but also provides added protection to the underlying surface. However, choosing the right type of primer is equally important to achieve the desired results.

1. Oil-based primers: These are known for their excellent adhesion and stain-blocking properties. They are ideal for surfaces that have stains, water damage, or are prone to tannin bleed. Oil-based primers work well on wood, metal, and previously painted surfaces. However, they have a strong odor and can take longer to dry compared to other types of primers.

2. Latex-based primers: These are water-based primers that are easy to work with and have low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), making them environmentally friendly. They dry quickly and are suitable for most surfaces, including wood, drywall, and concrete. Latex-based primers are also available in specific formulas for different surfaces, such as masonry or metal.

3. Shellac-based primers: Shellac primers are alcohol-based and are known for their excellent stain-blocking abilities. They are particularly effective in preventing bleed-through from wood knots, water stains, and smoke damage. Shellac-based primers work well on wood, metal, and previously painted surfaces. However, they have a strong odor and may require denatured alcohol for cleanup.

4. Bonding primers: These primers are designed to adhere to challenging surfaces such as glossy or slick surfaces, plastic, laminate, or tile. They create a strong bond between the surface and the paint, ensuring better adhesion and durability. Bonding primers are available in both oil-based and latex-based formulas, depending on the specific surface requirements.

5. Tinted primers: Tinted primers are a great choice when transitioning from a dark-colored surface to a lighter color. They help in achieving better color coverage, reducing the number of paint coats required. Tinted primers are available in various shades and can be custom-tinted to match the final paint color.

Remember, choosing the right type of primer is essential for a successful exterior house painting project. Consider the surface condition, desired finish, and specific requirements to make an informed decision. Consult with a professional or your local paint store for expert advice on selecting the best primer for your project.

Mastering the Painting Process: Techniques for a Professional Finish

When it comes to achieving a professional finish for your exterior house painting project, it’s essential to master the painting process. Here are some techniques that can help you achieve a flawless and long-lasting result:

1. Surface Preparation:

Before you start painting, make sure to prepare the surface properly. This includes cleaning the exterior walls to remove dirt, dust, and mildew. Use a power washer or a scrub brush with a mixture of water and mild detergent. Rinse thoroughly and allow the surface to dry completely. Additionally, inspect for any loose or peeling paint, and scrape off the old paint using a scraper or putty knife.

2. Sanding:

Sanding the surface after scraping off the old paint helps in creating a smooth and even base for the new paint. Use medium-grit sandpaper to sand any rough areas, edges, or imperfections. This step ensures better adhesion and a professional-looking finish.

3. Priming:

Applying a primer is crucial to ensure proper adhesion and durability of the paint. Choose a high-quality primer that is suitable for the surface you are painting. Apply the primer evenly using a brush or roller, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Allow the primer to dry completely before proceeding to the next step.

4. Choosing the Right Paint:

Selecting the right paint for your exterior house painting project is essential. Opt for a high-quality exterior paint that is specifically formulated for the surface you are painting. Consider factors like weather resistance, durability, and color retention. Consult with a paint specialist if you are unsure about the best paint type for your project.

5. Paint Application:

When it comes to painting, using the right tools and techniques can make a significant difference. Use a high-quality brush or roller that is appropriate for your chosen paint. Start by cutting in the edges and corners with a brush, and then move on to rolling the larger surfaces. Apply the paint in thin, even coats, allowing sufficient drying time between each coat. This will help you achieve a smooth and professional-looking finish.

6. Clean and Protect:

After completing the painting process, make sure to clean your painting tools thoroughly. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to clean brushes, rollers, and other equipment. Properly store any leftover paint for future touch-ups. Additionally, consider applying a clear protective coat over the painted surface to enhance its durability and protect it from harsh weather conditions.

By following these techniques and paying attention to detail, you can achieve a professional finish for your exterior house painting project. Take your time, be patient, and enjoy the process of transforming your home’s exterior with a fresh coat of paint.


In conclusion, house painting the exterior requires careful and precise steps to achieve professional results. Stripping the wood, priming, and painting are the essential tasks involved in this process. By following the proper techniques and using the right materials, homeowners can transform the look of their homes and protect them from the elements. Whether it’s for maintenance or aesthetic purposes, painting the exterior like a pro can significantly enhance the curb appeal and value of any property. So, get ready to take on the challenge and give your house a fresh and stunning makeover!

Wood Prep Tips

Quality results in an exterior painting project begin with proper surface preparation. Wood, in particular, needs careful attention to ensure a smooth canvas for your paint. This guide will address common preparation practices and concerns when dealing with wood surfaces for exterior painting.

How do you prepare wood for exterior painting?

Good exterior wood preparation involves a few key steps, as outlined by The Home Depot:

  1. Clean the surface: Thoroughly clean the wood to remove dirt and mold. A solution of warm water and mild detergent can work. For stubborn mold and mildew, specialty cleaners are available.
  2. Sanding: Smooth any rough spots or existing loose paint with sandpaper.
  3. Repair: Fix any damaged parts or rot before painting.
  4. Priming: Apply a good quality primer to ensure the paint adheres well to the surface and the chosen color shines through vividly.

Do you need to strip exterior paint before painting?

Repainting does not always require stripping existing paint, according to Behr, especially if the existing paint is still in good condition. However, you should remove any peeling, flaking, or blistering paint. It is important to ensure the surface is clean, dry, and free from any unstable layers.

How do you prepare stripped wood for painting?

Once the old paint has been stripped off, Sherwin-Williams suggests:

  1. Cleaning: Use mild soap and water to remove any dust and let dry completely.
  2. Sanding: Sand along the grain of the wood to smooth out any bumps or uneven spots.
  3. Priming: Primer seals the wood and provides a solid base for the paint to adhere. It also allows a uniform color application.

How do you strip wood fast?

If you need to strip paint or varnish from wood surfaces quickly, Bob Vila recommends chemical strippers. Brush the stripper onto the surface, leave it for the recommended time, and then scrape the bubbled paint off. Remember, safety is paramount: always use gloves and safety glasses when using chemical strippers.

How do you completely strip wood?

Further to stripping quickly, completely stripping wood involves a little more patience. According to Family Handyman, after applying the stripper and removing the paint, it’s crucial to neutralize the stripper following manufacturer instructions before letting it dry. Then, give it a sanding to ensure the surface is entirely free of the old finish and pristinely smooth.

Can I paint over old paint exterior?

Yes, you can paint over old exterior paint, as long as it’s well adhering. Ensure the surface is clean, dry, and sturdy, as advised by Glidden. Any loose or flaking paint needs to be scraped off, sanded, and primed to prepare for the new paint.

What is the best product to clean wood before painting?

Cleaning products specifically designed for pre-painting use are recommended by Valspar. These products can remove dirt and grease and ensure better paint adhesion. TSP (Trisodium phosphate) is commonly used but always opt for a product that is suitable for your particular wood surface and the nature of the dirt it has.

Remember, the paint job is only as good as the preparation. So, take your time with these steps, and you can expect your paint project to be an exterior beautification success.

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