The best time of the year to paint your home is typically in late spring and early summer when it’s warm outside and moisture is low. This can change based on your geographic location. For example, fall can be a good time to paint in California when the difference between high and low temperatures is low. Your painter will select the optimal time to start your exterior painting project.
A thorough scrubbing is a must before painting any exterior surface. It removes the dirt and broken-down paint residues that keep fresh coats from adhering and gets rid of mildew that grows on paint in all but the most arid climates. Most contractors clean with pressure washers, but in the hands of someone unfamiliar with the equipment, these can gouge wood, shatter glass, and drive water behind siding and trim. Using a hose, a pump sprayer, and a scrub brush is slower but safer, and just as effective.
Use a wire brush and a wide-blade putty knife to remove small areas of defective paint. Scrub under the laps of clapboard siding as well as on downspouts and gutters. For speedier work on metal, a wire brush attachment on an electric drill will remove rust and paint with less effort. For more extensive paint removal, invest in a sharp pull scraper -- a tool with a replaceable blade that's capable of stripping old paint all the way down to bare wood with a single scrape. Hold the scraper so the blade is perpendicular to the wood, apply moderate to firm pressure, and drag it along the surface. Keep the blade flat against the wood so it doesn't gouge the surface.
The cost to paint the exterior of your home will vary depending on the size of your home, the condition of your siding, type of paint used and other factors. The average cost for labor and supplies ranges between $1,800-$3,800 and it may cost $6,500 or more for a large, custom project. In addition, you may need to pay more if there is damage to your siding or other challenging aspects of your job.