Exterior Surfaces: Can it be painted?

A great way to update the appearance of your business is to have the exterior painted. There are many different types of exterior surfaces, and not all of them are suitable for painting. A professional painter will be able to tell you what the case is for your business.

When painting any exterior surface, it’s important to make certain of a few things:

  • The surface is properly prepped – cleaned and free of any dirt, debris, and mildew.
    • Pressure or hand wash the surface and allow it to dry completely
  • Remove any loose paint
  • Sand anywhere it’s required (glossy surfaces and bare wood, to give the paint something to stick to)
    • Make sure after sanding that the surface is dusted. Any leftover dust can interfere with the new paint.

If your exterior is in need of any repairs, the repairs must be completed before painting. It’s important to replace things like dried out or damaged caulk. Cracks or holes in the surface should be filled as well. This way, the paint has an even, undamaged surface to adhere to. Without repairing these situations, the damage can get worse and be harder to repair. Typical surfaces that can be painted include: wood, siding, and masonry.


Wood is fairly standard to paint. Prep the surface carefully, ensuring that the surface is clean, undamaged, and free of loose paint and debris, and paint away!

Siding – aluminum siding and vinyl siding can both be painted.

Vinyl is probably the easiest of all surfaces to paint, as all it tends to require is a good cleaning. Use a high quality acrylic latex-based paint, not an oil based paint. Don’t scrape or sand the surface, as you may damage the siding.

Aluminum siding is a bit trickier. When the bare metal is exposed, it begins to oxidize, so it’s important to remove any built up oxidation with steel wool before painting. If there is exposed metal, it’s important to prime the surface in order to prevent additional oxidation. When priming and painting, it’s best to use acrylic latex-based paints. These adhere evenly, and mimic the original texture of the siding, be it smooth or textured.

Masonry – brick, stucco, and concrete block are all paintable surfaces.

The key with masonry is age. Young masonry may retain moisture from its original mixing, or have higher levels of alkalinity. These both create challenges when painting, as it’s important to always have a dry surface with a lower alkaline level. Time and natural weathering will take care of both of these issues, but if the surface must be painted right away, use an alkaline-resistant primer/sealer. Then paint the surface with acrylic latex-based paints.

Older masonry has efflorescence to contend with. Make sure any efflorescence is removed, and the areas where it tends to accumulate is sealed in order to prevent any more from building up.


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