Repainting: Preparing the Surface

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.


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Our church has a railing were

Our church has a railing were the paint has chipped. I wanted sand it down to the metal bar, because it so pitted. And people us it to assend the stairs. I would use a primer and then a top coat. Is this a good idea?