Someone painting the exterior of a window ledge

Exterior Painting: Do I Have the Tools and Skill to Do-it-Myself?

Are you considering going the DIY route with the exterior painting of your home? If so, consider the following before picking up a brush. You may be able to get the job done, or you may want to assign the task to your professional handyman.

Tools and Supplies Required for Exterior Painting


If you have never painted the exterior of a home, you likely do not have the necessary tools and supplies sitting in your garage. Here's what you will need to purchase at the minimum:

  • Various paint brushes and sprayer (optional) - type dependent upon the products you use
  • Pressure washer - if necessary
  • Ladders - height dependent upon your home
  • Buckets
  • Drop cloths or tarps
  • Painter's tape
  • Caulk
  • Sandpaper
  • Cleaners - type dependent upon existing finish and state of exterior
  • Paint
  • Putty knife

You may need other supplies as well, depending on the state and size of your home.

Preparation Required for Exterior Painting

Before picking up the putty knife, you will need to ensure all plant life and fixtures not being painted are covered. Cleaners and paint can harm them. You also will want to tie back or trim any branches too close to the house. Don't forget to cover your air conditioning unit and other items, as well.

Next, remove any shutters from your home and close any open windows. You should also inspect the entire exterior of your home to ensure you do not need to repair any holes or cracks before getting started. Sand all repairs and any loose paint. If you will be painting your windows , inspect putty and replace as necessary.

Your next step of prep depends on the state of your home's exterior. It might only require a scrub brush or broom and the recommended cleaner, or you may need to rent or purchase a pressure washer to get the job done. Remember to leave yourself at least two days of drying time before beginning to paint.

EPA Lead Paint Certified Contractor Note: If your home was built before 1978, it may be coated with lead paint. Working with it requires special safety and containment procedures. Many Mr. Handyman locations hold certification in removing lead paint from the Environmental Protection Agency , a legal requirement for doing this kind of work.

Size of House = Size of Job

The cost and scope of all of the above, of course, depends on the size of your home. If you have a small bungalow, you might feel comfortable with the amount of prep and ladder work required. If you have a two or three story home, it will require a much larger investment of time and the use of extension ladders. Not everyone feels comfortable working so high off the ground. And if your home has many architectural features, that adds to the amount of time spent up on the ladder.

With a larger home, using a sprayer instead of brushes also makes sense. This tool also requires a fair amount of skill to use correctly, especially from a ladder.

Deciding to DIY or Hire a Professional

Painting Trim on Exterior Window After considering your comfort level with all of the above, also think about cost and longevity. An exterior paint job should last five to 10 years, depending on the type of construction material, environment, and quality of work. For many, it makes sense to hire professionals to ensure the job gets done well and will last as long as possible. Your professional handyman can do exactly that.

Add up the costs of all tools and supplies, and then add in the cost of your time to do it yourself - your time has a monetary value, after all, especially if you take vacation days to tackle the project. Then compare DIY costs to what your professional handyman estimates for the work to make your final decision.

View our guide to home painting , for more painting tips on Interior, Exterior, Decks and Fences

Mr. Handyman can maintain your home to save you money. One call really does take care of everything on your to-do list. Make sure to stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements and maintenance needs and request service now online.