STOP! Do This Before Painting Your House

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Repainting your home is a great way to boost curbside appeal and ultimately raise your property value. It’s also an excellent way of ensuring your siding is properly sealed off from the elements. However, It’s important to note that not all paint jobs are the same. If you want your paint to look great and last for years, it’s important to remove the existing paint from your siding so the new paint has a proper foundation to bond to. This guide will break down the various ways you can go about paint removal.

A Warning Before We Start

Be aware of lead paint! If your home was built and/or painted before 1978, there is a good chance your house has lead paint on it. Lead paint requires a different removal technique and should only be carried out by professionals. Regardless of whether your paint contains lead or not, a respirator, gloves, and eye protection should always be worn when removing paint.

It’s also important to note that you don’t necessarily need to remove all the paint from your home. Focus on loose and peeling paint because these areas will cause the most issues. If you choose to leave paint in some areas, it’s recommended to scuff up the paint with 180 grit sandpaper to provide a good base for the new layer of paint.

The Hand Tool Method

If you’re only planning to paint a small portion of your home, hand tools could be a viable option. Though they take a lot of time and elbow grease to be effective, they’re also very cost effective. Here are some good options we recommend:

Putty Knife

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A putty knife is similar to what you’d use to repair drywall, however they come in various thicknesses, flexibility, and materials. Look for a metal putty knife with a stout and ridged blade that can handle scraping paint.

Paint Scraper

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A paint scraper works best for siding with lots of peeling and flaking paint. There are many different types of paint scrapers on the market, we recommend heading to your local hardware store to see what versions feel best in your hand.

Wire Brush

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Where a paint scraper is great for removing chunks of paint, they can often miss the fine details, that’s where a wire brush comes in. They’re perfect for removing fine bits of paint and wood debris.

The Pressure Washing method

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If the majority of your house is covered in loose and peeling paint, then pressure washing could be a helpful option for you. Pressure washing is a great time saver because it can significantly cut down on the amount of scrapping you’ll have to do, but it is not a substitute. You’ll still need to use a paint scraper for the more stubborn areas of your home since a pressure washer could cause damage if not used exclusively on easy-to-remove paint areas. If you’re interested in purchasing a pressure washer, check out our recommendations here. Or if you’d prefer a professional come out instead, we have you covered! Bayside Exterior Cleaning is a great option if you live in the Olympia, Wa area. We offer free, no-obligation estimates before every job so you know exactly what you’re signing up for. 

The Power Tool Method

If you need to remove a significant amount of paint that isn’t loose or peeling, then the power tool method may be right for you. A word of caution: these types of tools are extremely effective at removing paint, wood, and even skin! These tools should only be used by those with lots of experience and proper safety gear should always be worn.

Wire Wheels, Sandpaper, Abrasive Flap Discs, and Carbide Discs.

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These are all great drill attachments that can be found in most home improvement stores. They’ll make quick work of whatever paint you need removed. Caution: Cordless drills will work for smaller projects but are not designed for continuous use. Make sure to take breaks every so often so as not to burn out your motor.

Angle Grinders

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Angle grinders are great for their power and torque. However, they can be hard to handle on a ladder or fit into tight areas.

Palm Sanders

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Palm sanders are ideal for smoothing out wood that has been scuffed from hand scraping or improper power tool use. However with a rough-grit sandpaper, they can easily be used for removing peeling paint as well.

The Chemical Method

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Even after trying all the methods listed above, sometimes the paint just doesn’t want to come off, that’s where a chemical paint remover comes in. When used in combination with scraping and sanding, a chemical remover can work wonders. All you have to do is apply it, let it sit for a set amount of time, and then scrape the paint away! However, with convenience comes a cost. Chemical removers can be very expensive and so it’s recommended to only use them only on the most stubborn parts of your home.


Painting your home is a great way to boost curb-side appeal and increase property value. Before applying new paint, you should always remove the existing paint first to provide the new layer a solid foundation to bond to, ensuring you paint both looks great and protects your siding from the elements.

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