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Common Exterior Repairs Before You Paint Your House


Painting your home can dramatically transform its appearance, giving it a fresh, new look. However, before you dive into painting, it’s essential to address any exterior damages. Overlooking these minor issues can lead to bigger problems down the line and can also affect the quality and longevity of your paint job. Here’s a guide on some of the common exterior repairs you should consider before painting your house, brought to you by Crash of Rhinos Painting.


Drywall Patching on Porch Ceilings

Porch ceilings, a pivotal aesthetic element of many homes, are often subjected to conditions that can hasten their degradation. High humidity, frequent temperature fluctuations, and exposure to the elements make them vulnerable. Over time, these adverse conditions manifest themselves in what homeowners often term as ‘nail-pops.’ This refers to the phenomenon where nails or screws securing the drywall to the joists start protruding outward, creating noticeable bumps. Furthermore, the continuous exposure to these conditions can cause the tape that hides seams between drywall panels to delaminate. The combination of nail-pops and tape delamination can tarnish the smooth appearance of porch ceilings, making them look aged and neglected.

How to Address this Issue:

  • Tackling Nail-Pops: The first step to rectifying nail-pops is to push the protruding nail or screw back into its rightful place. Use a hammer for nails and a screwdriver or drill for screws. Once it’s back in, to ensure it doesn’t pop out again, add an adjacent screw for added stability. When using screws, make sure they’re of the right length to secure the drywall to the joists without poking through the opposite side.
  • Dealing with Tape Delamination: If the tape on your drywall starts to peel or bubble, it needs immediate attention. Start by gently removing the sections of tape that are loose. Once the affected tape is removed, it’s time to re-tape. Choose between mesh or paper tape, depending on your preference and the specific requirements of your porch ceiling. Mesh tapes are often favored for their added strength, but paper tapes can also serve the purpose if applied correctly. When applying the new tape, ensure it adheres well by pressing it down firmly and eliminating any air bubbles.
  • Finishing Touches: After fixing the primary issues, it’s time to bring back the ceiling’s smooth texture. Apply a joint compound over the taped areas, smoothing it out with a spatula or trowel. Once the compound dries, which may take a day or two, sand the surface to achieve a seamless finish. Before painting, apply a good quality primer. This prepares the surface, ensuring the paint adheres well and gives a uniform appearance. Selecting a paint specifically designed for exteriors or moist conditions can further enhance the durability of your porch ceiling.

Repairing Dry-Rot Wood Surfaces

Exterior wood surfaces, when exposed to the elements, are at constant risk of damage. The sun, with its intense UV rays, can weaken wood fibers, making them brittle. Rain, on the other hand, introduces moisture, a primary factor contributing to wood rot. Places like door jambs and fascia trim are especially susceptible given their frequent exposure to these conditions. One of the most prevalent problems homeowners face is dry rot. Contrary to its name, dry rot is caused by moisture. The fungus that causes dry rot feeds on the cellulose in the wood, weakening it. The result? The wood not only appears unsightly with its crumbled, dried out look, but its structural integrity is severely compromised. This can pose safety risks, especially if the rotted wood is part of a load-bearing structure.

How to Address this Issue:

  • Identification: Begin by tapping the wood with a screwdriver. Rotted wood will have a soft, spongy feel, often breaking off easily. Some visible signs of rot include darkened areas, mold growth, and a musty odor. It’s vital to determine the extent of the damage. Sometimes what appears minor on the surface can be more extensive underneath.
  • Removal: Once identified, cut out and remove all rotted wood to prevent the spread of the fungus to healthy wood. For this, using a chisel, saw, or oscillating tool will give the best results. It’s essential to remove a few inches beyond the rotted area to ensure all affected parts are taken out.
  • Treatment: After removing the rotted sections, treat the surrounding areas with a fungicide. This step is crucial to kill any remaining fungal spores and prevent future occurrences of dry rot. Ensure the fungicide you use is specifically designed for wood and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.
  • Replacement: For the repair, choose pressure-treated wood or a rot-resistant variety like cedar or redwood. If you’re looking for even more durability, consider materials like composite, which resist both rot and insect damage. When replacing, ensure the new material fits snugly and securely, using corrosion-resistant screws or nails.
  • Sealing and Painting: Once the repairs are made, it’s essential to seal the wood. A quality wood sealant will create a barrier against moisture, further safeguarding against rot. After sealing, prime the wood to prepare it for painting. Finally, paint with an exterior-grade paint. This not only enhances the appearance but adds an additional layer of protection against the elements.

Repairing Stucco Damages and Cracks

Stucco, a versatile and aesthetically pleasing exterior finish, has been used for centuries due to its durability and timeless appeal. Composed mainly of cement, sand, and lime, stucco provides a robust protective shell to homes. However, even this durable material isn’t immune to damages. Over time, environmental factors, such as shifting foundations, temperature variations, and even natural settling of a house, can lead to cracks in stucco. Furthermore, factors like improper mixing, inadequate curing, or lack of control joints during initial application can exacerbate the development of these cracks. These damages, if not addressed, can allow moisture to seep in, risking further structural damage and potentially leading to mold growth.

How to Address this Issue:

  • Small Cracks: Not all stucco cracks are indicative of severe structural issues. Hairline cracks, often no wider than the width of a credit card, are relatively common. For these minor blemishes, using a high-quality exterior caulk can be the solution. When selecting a caulk, opt for one that’s paintable and flexible, accommodating any slight movements in the stucco. The application is straightforward: clean the crack, ensuring it’s free of dust or debris, apply the caulk, and smooth it out for a neat finish.
  • Larger Damages: More extensive cracks or damages may require a more involved approach. Start by cleaning the affected area and removing any loose stucco. For these more pronounced damages, a stucco patching compound will be needed. These compounds, available at most home improvement stores, are designed to bond well with the existing stucco. When applying, ensure the compound fills the crack or damage thoroughly and is smoothed out to match the surrounding texture. Remember, achieving the right texture might require some practice, so don’t get discouraged if the first attempt isn’t perfect.
  • Blending and Painting: After the repairs, there might be noticeable color or texture differences. To ensure a seamless appearance, it’s crucial to blend the repaired area with the existing stucco. This might involve light sanding or applying a thin finishing coat. Once the stucco is repaired and the texture is consistent, priming is essential. A good quality primer ensures that the subsequent paint layer adheres well and absorbs evenly, preventing any patchy appearances. Finally, when selecting paint, choose one specifically designed for stucco to ensure longevity and resistance to the elements.

Replacing Garage Door Trim

Garage door trims are prone to damages, especially at the bottom, due to water splashes and everyday wear and tear.

How to Address this Issue:

  • Remove the damaged trim.
  • Replace with a weather-resistant trim that is suitable for your garage door type.
  • Seal any gaps to prevent water intrusion and pests.
  • Prime and paint the new trim to match your garage door or your desired color scheme.


Taking the time to address these exterior issues before painting will ensure that your home not only looks its best but also remains protected from further damages. Crash of Rhinos Painting emphasizes the importance of a thorough preparation process to guarantee a long-lasting and beautiful paint job. Investing in repairs now can save you time, money, and hassle in the future. Your home is a reflection of your care, so let’s ensure it shines brightly and beautifully for years to come!