How To Paint Your Home Exterior (5-Step Guide)

If you're wondering how to paint your home's exterior yourself, there are quite a few things to consider first.

Whether your home is a new construction or a renovation project, there comes a time in most homeowners’ lives where they will have to update the exterior paint on their dwelling. 

Man painting his home's exterior

So, if you want to give new life to your home and you want to do it yourself, you've come to the right place!

In this ProPaintCorner.com guide, we'll show you:

  • The essential things you'll need to know to paint your home
  • Supplies you'll need to repaint your home exterior
  • How to prepare your home for paint
  • And much more!

So before you dive into painting your home's exterior, I recommend you read the tips and techniques below to learn how to DIY your home like a pro!

What You Need to Know About Painting Your Home Exterior

Painting your house is something of a right of passage, an important milestone in the home DIY community because it’s a large undertaking. 

It requires precision, planning, and excellent execution. Remember, you’ll be showing this paint job off to the world every single day.

The most important thing to remember with painting your exterior is that preparation and precision are key.  

Exterior painting is not at all like painting the inside of your house, for many reasons.  

First and foremost, the scale of this project is much larger than an interior painting project since you’ll be painting a much larger surface area, typically, than when you’re doing a room or even several rooms in your house.  

Plus you'll be dealing with heights and precarious positions that require much more caution.

Beyond that, the type of paint and the process of applying it are different than working inside your home.  You will be using thicker, more durable paint than what is used inside the house. 

Because of this, we recommend you apply the paint with a paint sprayer, which is more complicated than using a brush and roller.  This is because a paint sprayer makes the process much easier when using thicker paints like this.

You'll also need to consider the optimal temperature range of the paint you choose to ensure that it lasts for as long as possible.

This makes the process more difficult, and requires more preparation and planning to get right.

Not to worry though! Even novice painters can take on this project if they plan ahead and work carefully.

Supplies You’ll Need for Painting Your Home Exterior

There are several important supplies you’ll need to make sure you have on hand when you’re planning an exterior paint job.

  • Exterior paint
  • Paint Sprayer
  • Ladder
  • Drop cloths
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Bucket of water
  • Rags
  • Sandpaper
  • Caulk or putty

 
When choosing your supplies for your exterior paint job, you’ll want to choose a durable paint that can withstand the elements. Typically, exterior paints will be latex based, which makes them thicker and tougher.

Since you're working with a large area like the outside of the house, you will need a paint sprayer to apply the paint evenly over the entire surface. You can rent these sprayers from a local hardware store if you don’t already own one.

In order to reach the heights of an exterior wall, it will be vital to get a ladder so you can climb up to the top.

Then you'll want to tape plastic sheeting over any places that shouldn’t be painted, like windows.  

Having a bucket of water on hand is important for cleaning up any mistakes. Remember, there are windows, trim, and roofing that can all be accidentally painted. The sooner you remove the paint, the better.

Rags will come in handy with the bucket of water for when you need to wipe off any wet paint from spots that shouldn’t have been painted.

For repairing or sealing and preparing for new paint. You'll also need a scraper to get it into the right spots.

With all that in mind, let's move on to the key steps you'll want to follow to get this done right!

How To Paint Your Home Exterior (5-Step Guide)

  1. Prep Your Work Area
  2. Prepare Your Paint Sprayer
  3. Paint Your Exterior
  4. Fix Any Mistakes
  5. Clean Up

Step 1 - Prep Your Work Area

The first step and most important step, is the prep work. The preparation stage includes gathering all of your required materials and getting them ready to use. 

This includes the paint, paint sprayer, plastic sheeting, ladder, and anything else you’ll be using.  

Take the drop cloths and tape it up over any spots that should not be painted - such as windows and trim, as well as on the ground near the bottom of the walls. 

Covering up these surfaces will save you so much time and energy in the long run, because you will either have to diligently avoid certain spots, and then fill in the details with a paint brush or roller, or you’ll have to remove excess paint from these spots. 

This may also include caulking and sanding certain spots to ensure the surface is ready for the paint job. 

Using a pressure washer can also help to remove mildew, loose paint, and anything else that would get under the new paint.

Did you know? Painting the average home exterior takes 3 to 4 days to paint with 2 to 3 people.

Step 2 - Prepare Your Paint Sprayer

Next, you need to get your paint sprayer ready. Once you have the sheeting in place, you can get your paint opened up and ready to apply.  

Depending on the paint sprayer, there are different ways to fill it up and get it ready.

Some paint sprayers require you to fill up a hopper with the paint, while others have a small filtered funnel that sits in the paint can/bucket to siphon the paint into.

Depending on the type you own or rented, you’ll have to refill it several times throughout the process.

Step 3 - Paint Your Exterior

This part is the real fun part. Using your paint sprayer, begin painting your home improvement project.

It’s important to take a few practice sprays before you really get going with the sprayer to learn how far back you need to hold it and what nozzle setting to use.  It’s best to find a setting that disperses a wide, flat spray of paint so you don’t get clumps or concentrated areas.

Spray the fresh paint from several feet away for proper spread and coverage.  Each time you move up to spray a higher portion, overlap the fresh coat of paint with the previous line of paint just a bit to make sure it blends appropriately.

Step 4 - Fix Any Mistakes & Make Touch Ups

As soon as you’re done, and preferably before that (if you spot them while you’re painting), you need to go fix any mistakes.

If any paint has bled through the edges of the plastic sheeting or if there are drips on the ground, you should immediately wipe it off so that it doesn’t dry and become difficult or impossible to remove.

If you even have some regular dripping down the side of the house, you’ll probably want to fix that as well, simply because it will leave streaks and unsightly marks. The sooner you take action to fix these mistakes, the better.

Step 5 - Clean Up 

The clean up is equally important, and is especially vital for the paint sprayer. Paint sprayers are very sensitive and can easily become clogged, so making sure they are properly cleaned is very important for their future performance.

Run some water through the paint sprayer to clean out the tubing. It may be useful to open up the nozzle and handle sections to make sure they all get cleaned out.

Once again, the sooner you do this part, the better, because the paint will not have had time to dry.

After you’ve painted, you’ll also clean up your plastic sheeting and examine your work.  If you’ve done it right, you should already have taken care of any issues or mistakes the cropped up, and now you’re done!

Other Valuable Resources for Painting Your Home Exterior

Local hardware stores, such as Lowe’s or Home Depot, are great resources for painting a home exterior, as is a company like Sherwin Williams.

These businesses will rent you paint sprayers and can help you decide on paint colors - and can even mix specialty paint colors for you.

Ask them for advice on how to start your project, and they can also tell you if there’s any special equipment you should use for your particular house exterior paint job.  

Meet Your Pro Paint Corner Author

Madison Rude

Madison Rude

I’m kind of a painting nerd. My mom taught me how to paint when I was nine, and since then I’ve painted rooms, furniture...you name it. I’ve written technical advice for Wagner sprayers, and I’ve spent a lot of time DIYing my own home. I’m no expert, but I love to learn. And here at ProPaintCorner, I learn more about painting every time I work with one of our painting pros to bring you the best product reviews and How To advice available. Together, let’s make your next painting project the best it can be!

Got A Paint Question? Ask Your Pro Painter!

Learn More Expert Paint Tips

Painting shouldn’t be this hard. Check out some of these other helpful guides to help you nail the perfect paint job!

hand rolling on the best exterior primer paint

If you’re looking to refinish the exterior of your home and you want to know

Read More »
top best paint for stucco elastomeric reviewed

Wondering what the best paints for stucco are? We’ve got you covered! In this ProPaintCorner.com guide,

Read More »
Best Paint For Asbestos Siding

Wondering what paint to use for asbestos siding? We’ve got you covered! In this article, you’ll

Read More »
Best Cold Galvanizing Paints

If you need to refinish some metal or steel that’s rusted or in need of

Read More »

Got Paint Questions? Search For In-Depth Answers Below!

Madison Rude

Madison Rude

I’m kind of a painting nerd. My mom taught me how to paint when I was nine, and since then I’ve painted rooms, furniture...you name it. I’ve written technical advice for Wagner sprayers, and I’ve spent a lot of time DIYing my own home. I’m no expert, but I love to learn. And here at ProPaintCorner, I learn more about painting every time I work with one of our painting pros to bring you the best product reviews and How To advice available. Together, let’s make your next painting project the best it can be!

About Pro Paint Corner

You’ve got painting questions. We’ve got the best painting answers from a network of seasoned painting pros.

Recently Published Guides