Painting: Refurbishing the Outside of a House

Perhaps you moved into your home a long time ago, or you’ve bought an older property that needs some TLC; whatever your reasons for refurbishing the outside of a house, you’ve come to right place.

Refurbishing the outside of a house is one of the most daunting DIY projects that a homeowner can do, it’s probably the most boring (sorry, but it’s true) and one of the more physically laborious. There are lots of ways for refurbishing the exterior of a house, but a fresh lick of paint is certainly the most noticeable.

It needs to be done, and when it’s completed, well hot damn you’ll not only feel fantastic but your home will look wonderful too (AND THANK GOD IT WON’T NEED DOING FOR AT LEAST ANOTHER 10 YEARS).

Refurbishing the Outside of a House: What You’ll Need

Refurbishing the outside of a house - paint and roller

It’s worth noting you may not need all these things, but this everything that you could need. We suggest reading the whole guide and assessing the exterior of your home, and deciding what you’ll need before running out with a shopping list!

Safety First:

Refurbishing the outside of a house - standing on a ladder

When refurbishing the outside of a house, it’s impossible to complete the task without using a ladder and climbing to some height, which obviously, comes with some risks. There are ways, however, to minimalize them.

Firstly: assess the total height of your building, now figure roughly how long a quarter of that would be. Use that as a guide for the distance between the base of the building and where to place the bottom of your ladder. This is the sturdiest angle.

Next: ensure when placing your ladder that it’s on firm and level ground. And if you’re using a ladder extension it should overlap your main set by at least 3 rungs.

Always: have someone holding the base of the ladder and maintain a balanced centre of gravity (do not climb high enough on the ladder that your belt exceeds the top). WEAR FLAT SHOES WITH PLENTY OF GRIP.

Never: lean or reach further than an arm’s width, this will put the ladder off balance. If you need to move further to the side, climb down and move your ladder along.


Now it’s time to get stuck into refurbishing the outside of a house. As much as we all want to just slap a layer of paint on and be done with it, much like any DIY project: preparation is key.

Because of the nature of exterior walls, the paint will not take if it’s not properly prepared – and it could end looking even worse (sigh). So…

Step 1: Clean the Area

Refurbishing the outside of a house - cleaning a house

Using your masonry brush wipe away any loose dirt, foliage, moss or spider webs from the wall. Next, take your stripping knife and remove any loose masonry to ensure a flat surface.

If your exterior walls are very dirty, then it’ll need washing. You can do this with a quick squirt from the hose, a thorough scrub with a sponge and household detergent and then a final rinse with the hose again. If there are particularly mouldy or mossy patches, then you’ll need to wash them with a fungicidal wash to remove and prevent them re-growing.

(Try to do this on a sunny day because you’ll need to let the wall dry completely before moving on… and you’ll get a lovely tan).

Step 2: Repair the Damage

Refurbishing the outside of a house - fixing holes on a wall
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If you needed to use the stripping knife to remove loose masonry, then you’ll have small holes that require filling. Do this using a wet filling knife and some masonry filler or mortar. If the holes are deeper than 10mm, then you may need to build up the filler in layers – which will need to be left to dry in-between.

Once the masonry filler is dry, it’s time to take your sandpaper to smooth them out so that the repairs are level with the exterior wall.

Step: It’s Time to Prime

Refurbishing the outside of a house - painting around a pipe
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Now, take your old newspaper and wrap it around any drainage pipes along the wall, using the masking tape to fix it in place.

Next, using the masonry brush, paint the masonry primer along the edges and hard to reach areas (such as alongside or behind the pipes) first.

Then you can use a long pile roller to paint the large midsection of the wall with primer until it’s completely covered.

Choosing Masonry Paint:

Refurbishing the outside of a house - lots of open pots of colour paint

When refurbishing the outside of a house, it’s surprising how many people don’t take the time to consider their masonry paint – when it’s the thing that will decorate the whole house to the outside world!

Textured Paint

If your exterior walls aren’t smooth, then the textured paint will be the better option. These are ideal for masking imperfections.

Smooth Paint

This paint is perfect for newer builds that have a flatter surface, or for someone who went to town on their preparation (high-five to you).

Smooth paint gives a lovely even finish and will hide minor blemishes – it’s also easier to apply.

Choosing Paint Colour

Any guide to choosing paint will tell you the same thing, grab a range of tester pots. However, we suggest grabbing some pots in both the shades you’re already leaning towards and a couple of curveball colours. You may find that after testing the colours that they come out slightly different (whether it’s sunny/overcast can completely change colour).

How to Paint Exterior Walls

Refurbishing the outside of a house - painting a house 1

Woo, the end of refurbishing the outside of a house has never been so near!

Painting the exterior of your home is largely about timing, it’s essential only to undertake this job in good weather. For both a successful finish and your mental health.

A paint kettle will be helpful as you can measure out a manageable amount paint to hang from your ladder. It will save having to hang a large (and heavy) paint pot, which could potentially put your ladders off balance.

Tip: Divide your exterior wall into manageable sections that you’ll be able to finish in each sitting. It’s good practice to use features like windows, drain pipes and doors as your boundary markers.

Step 1

In a similar manner to the primer, start with your masonry brush to paint the edges and hard to reach areas. Followed by a roller brush and extendable arm to cover the large midsections quickly.

Always: Start from the top of the house and make your way downwards, this way you’ll be able to paint over and smooth out any drips.

Step 2

Refurbishing the outside of a house - painting downward
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When painting, try to stick to one direction strokes – either horizontal or vertical.

When applying your freshly loaded paintbrush, it’s good practice to “unload” the paint on to an unpainted area and work it back to a painted section. It will ensure a thinner coat that stretches your paint further.

Step 3

Refurbishing the outside of a house - painting sideways
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When your base layer is dry, it’s time for the second (and hopefully final) layer of paint.

With your second layer of paint, try to position your stroke in the opposite direction to your first. It will help to cover all surfaces completely. If you’re painting a rough or textured surface try rotating the brush in all directions or a stippling motion – you won’t miss a spot this way!

Refurbishing the outside of a house - stippling
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It’s harder to change the direction when using a roller, but try to vary the angle of your strokes.

Step 4

Refurbishing the outside of a house - cleaning paintbrushes

Now it’s time to leave your exterior wall to dry (and later marvel at its newly painted beauty).

Depending on how much you have left, you may decide to store or dispose of your materials. DO NOT empty paints or primers down the drain; they will cause blockages. Instead, refer to their individual instructions on disposal, which can be found on the back of each pot.

Tip: Try to remove as much of your product from the brushes before cleaning.

If you’ve used water-based paint then a simple water, soap, rinse technique will clean them adequately. If you picked oil or solvent-based paints, then you’ll need to use a solvent like white spirit to clean your tools.


VIOLA. Refurbishing the outside of a house never sounded so easy! Let us know if you decide to paint the exterior of your home – why not send us some pictures on Facebook? If you’ve got exterior flooring that needs cleaning as well, then we’ve got a guide for that too!