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If you’re looking to save some money by painting the outside of your house instead of hiring someone, there are a few things you should know before climbing that ladder.

Painting isn’t too difficult and is a common DIY project for homeowners. Here are some ways to make sure it goes smoothly:

Wash
Before getting to the painting, start by washing the siding to remove any dirt, mold and mildew. This will also get the surface ready for painting.

You can rent a pressure washer, along with a cleaning solution and a stiff brush. Soak the surface first and then swipe from the bottom to the top of each wall. Start spraying from 10 feet away to prevent damage, and work your way in. Use a low setting for windows, garage doors and cracked seals.

If a pressure washer is too strong for you, then just go with a garden hose, scrub brush and bleach solution. Washing a house shouldn’t take more than a day.

Repair
The prep work may take two days. Sand, fill and weatherproof the surfaces on one day and cover stains with primer the next day.

Use a power sander to remove any protruding areas such as paint drips. Patch and fill holes with the filler that works best with your siding, such as wood filler on wood or cement patch on fiber cement siding. Sand when dry. Replace old caulk, rotted trim or siding. Then, apply primer paint so that the cover coat of paint adheres.

Paint
These final steps may take a month to finish if you’re working weekends only. Start by upgrading the front door casing. This will require some carpentry skills, which, if you don’t have, you may want to leave to a carpenter or professional painter.

Next, paint the siding in sections, making sure you shake and stir the paint for even coverage.

Cover fixtures, doorbells and windows where you’re going to paint. Use an angled brush to paint along the edges, and a roller in broad areas from the top to bottom. Paint the trim last.

Before applying a second coat, sand out any paint drips or debris.

Finish by painting the front door and shutters. At the end, you can add extras that will improve the curb appeal of your home. These can include new crown molding for the porch, a new house number, new door handles and new light fixtures.

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