repainting preparing surfaces power washer | The Old Farmer's Almanac

Repainting: Preparing the Surface

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Proper preparation for repainting depends on preparing the surface properly. Here are some tips:

  • To remove mildew, dirt, and chalking, dissolve some trisodium phosphate (according to package instructions) in a solution of three parts water and one part bleach.
  • Rent or purchase a pressure washer for this job, and select a hose tip that fans the water out in a flat stream about 4 inches wide.
  • Wear protective clothing, gloves, and eyewear.
  • Emphasize washing over pressure.
  • Severe mildew, dirt, and chalking may require some scrubbing with a stiff-bristle brush.
  • Rinse well and let any areas of bare wood dry thoroughly.

Resist temptation when you see low-pressure washing taking off loosened paint that’s flaking or peeling. If you boost the pressure to remove alligatored, cracked, or blistered paint, it can result in saturated wood and masonry, water behind the clapboards, soaked inner walls, knocked-off shingles, and blown-out stained-glass windows.

About The Author

Catherine Boeckmann

Catherine Boeckmann loves nature, stargazing, and gardening so it’s not surprising that she and The Old Farmer’s Almanac found each other. She leads digital content for the Almanac website, and is also a certified master gardener in the state of Indiana. Read More from Catherine Boeckmann

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