Perhaps the most important step in painting a house is surface preparation. Consider the following tips:
* Scrape away peeling paint and rust.
* Wash away dirt and grease with a detergent or commercial cleaner recommended for painted surfaces.
* Eliminate mildew by scrubbing the affected areas with a stiff brush and a cleaner specifically recommended for mildew removal. All traces of the cleaning agent should be removed with fresh water. Allow the surface to dry before painting.
* Caulk open cracks between building materials.
* Wipe wood knots that have resinous deposits with turpentine or mineral spirits. Seal the area with knot sealer after removal of the resin.
* Sand nailheads that have rusted. Countersink them and fill in with caulk or putty.
* Before painting, spot-prime bare or rusted areas.