How to paint your exteriors

Get on the tools and give your home an external facelift with new paint

Bunnings magazine, Autumn 2021

How to begin

To fix a fading façade, start by moving outdoor furniture, decorations and pot plants out of the way and use drop sheets to shield the ground and any permanent fixtures. Give surfaces a thorough clean using water and a small amount of dishwashing detergent. Sponge down weatherboards, gutters, downpipes and window frames and use a stiff-bristled brush on masonry surfaces.

Check for mould, signs of rising damp, or build-ups of white crystals (efflorescence) on brickwork. To clean, use a mixture of water and white vinegar – more concentrated chemical cleaning products may affect surfaces. Rinse off with a hose and leave to dry.

Check for potential issues

Small areas of rot can be fixed by cutting away damaged material back to sound timber, then patching with two-part polyester filler, such as Turbo Builder’s Bog.
If rot is extensive, it might be a moisture issue, and entire weatherboards may need to be replaced. If brickwork is chronically damp with large areas of mould you might need to call in the professionals. Fix gaps in weatherboards using a flexible and paintable exterior filler. For masonry walls, a premixed filler, such as Selleys Spakfilla Heavy Duty, is a good choice.

To test the adhesion of existing paint, cut an X into it using a utility knife, then apply masking tape and press down firmly. Peel off the tape, and if it comes away with paint stuck to it, you’ll need to strip the old layer.
If your guttering has seen better days, or there are metal features you plan to paint, you’ll need to clean away rust from bare metal using a wire brush. Apply a coat of primer, choosing one suitable for metal and any other materials you need to paint.

How to paint your exteriors

Choose a paint and primer suitable for outdoor use

Exterior acrylic paints are formulated to adhere to both weatherboards and masonry surfaces. If previous paintwork doesn’t peel off with the masking-tape test, you’re good to paint over it after giving it a light sand.
On timber features, such as doors and window frames, use a water-based enamel.
Do take care when removing old paint as it could contain traces of lead, for more information on health and safety regarding lead paint visit

How to paint your exteriors

Start from the top and work your way down

Use a brush to paint the gutters and the board behind them (the fascia), followed by the eaves. If you’re painting masonry, whether the brickwork is rendered or exposed, use a paint sprayer or long-nap roller. In most cases, you don’t need primer for brickwork, but three coats will give you the best outcome for coverage.

If your home is clad in weatherboards, a brush or small roller are the best ways to apply paint, or you could use a paint sprayer. Paint timber trim and windows last, keeping them open while you work to prevent the paint binding them shut.

How to paint your exteriors

Stay safe while working at height

1. Position your ladder on a stable, level, solid surface and wear sturdy footwear to stand on it.

2. Ensure there is another person nearby whom you can call for help if needed.

3. Use a ladder rest or gutter clamp instead of leaning the ladder directly on guttering.

4. Have three points of contact (for example, both feet and one hand) on the ladder at all times.

5. Don’t try to balance or hang paint tins on ladder rungs. Using a platform ladder or scaffold is a much safer option.

Don’t forget the entrance!

Check out this special guide to giving your front door a new look.


Photo Credits: Dulux, Taubmans

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