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It's time to wash your house, prep to paint

Time to wash your house, prep to paint

It’s that time of year to wash houses, fix fences, stain decks and prepare to paint your house. We see lots of activity of people sprucing up their place now. It’s great to do it in now so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor all summer long.

We at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor might even be able to help you in some very practical ways. Read on!

A good paint job protects your house

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – a good paint job not only improves the appearance of your home and your neighborhood, it also protects your house from mold, rot and bug infestations, lengthening the life of your major investment!

Houses in our climate typically need to be repainted about every five to seven years, especially on the south and west faces. However, often a good scrub can extend the life of your paint job a year or five, making your house look a lot better while saving you time and money.

Washing your house

To wash your house, we recommend using “30 Second Cleaner” on siding – with or without mold or mildew on it, even if you’re not going to paint this year. At the very least, you might consider washing the north side – you’ll recognize it by the green-black mold and mildew.

How do know when a wash is sufficient? Well, before heading to the paint store, take a closer look at your current paint job. If the surfaces are intact, a good scrub and a little touch up here and there will buy you more time.

To use 30 Second Cleaner, (which is available in most home-improvement stores), apply using a soft boat-type scrub brush on a broom stick or extension pole and a flood-type garden hose to spray it off. It’s great for vinyl-siding, too. Follow the directions carefully. Remember to rinse each section off, away from the next intended dry surface to apply the cleaner and any plants in the overspray zone. You will be happy and surprised how quickly this cleaning chore can be accomplished! Wear rubber gear or old clothes!

We do not recommend the use of a pressure washer for this job! Over the years, we’ve just seen too much bubbled paint from saturated siding damaged by overzealous owners who ended up doing more harm than good. A 30 Second application, boat brush on a stick and a hose are by far cheaper and faster!

Perhaps it is time for paint

If you have cracked and peeling paint, a simple wash will not suffice this time. Summer is the time to think about painting, but you can start the prep work now.

Not everyone is a DIY-person, so you may need to hire-out the job. If that’s the case, we suggest getting two or three bids.

Once you’ve settled on your contractor, make sure to have a short written contract addressing such issues as total cost and tax for prep; body colors and trim; type of paint sheen, (satin, flat, etc.); when payment is to be made; who is buying the supplies and paint; and when the job is to be started and finished.

Ask around and see which licensed and bonded/ insured professional painters your friends and neighbors have been happy with and invite those companies to bid.

Want to borrow our tools?

Thanks to a generous donation by COSMO Manufacturing in Cosmopolis, we have a very practical way of helping you. Instead of investing in your own prep equipment, you can borrow from our painting and house-washing equipment.

This includes tools such as pump sprayers and long-handled brushes, rollers and roller racks, caulk guns, putty knives, scrapers, wire brushes, drop clothes, buckets and ladder stand-off attachments for safety. (Sorry, but it does not include ladders, paint sprayers or power washers.)

If you would like to borrow some of these tools for free – simply e-mail Dave at We can make an appointment to meet at our Aberdeen office and get those tools to you.

Before you wash or paint

For DIYers, before you begin the tedious prepping of your siding, first take a look at other things that might affect your new paint job if done out of order. For instance, do you have a mossy roof or plugged gutters? Now’s a great time to address those situations, first!

If you have a mossy roof, take a stiff broom and remove as much as possible. To kill the roots, use the powdered or liquid variety of Moss Off. If you use the liquid hose-end sprayer application, you may want to cover plants below roof edge with plastic tarps. Then, simply follow the manufacturer’s directions.

Once that’s done, clean the gutters, downspouts and fascia with soapy water and a soft brush. Don’t forget to rinse thoroughly. Does the siding or trim need repairs, too? First things first; prep is 90 percent of the job.


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