A thorough scrubbing is a must before painting any exterior surface. It removes the dirt and broken-down paint residues that keep fresh coats from adhering and gets rid of mildew that grows on paint in all but the most arid climates. Most contractors clean with pressure washers, but in the hands of someone unfamiliar with the equipment, these can gouge wood, shatter glass, and drive water behind siding and trim. Using a hose, a pump sprayer, and a scrub brush is slower but safer, and just as effective.

Beware of lead paint! Some houses that were built before 1978 have paint on them that may contain traces of lead. Exposure to lead paint can cause anaemia, learning disabilities in children and damage to the brain and nervous system. When working on the exterior of your historic home (older than 1960), be sure that you observe the proper safety measures including:
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Give your fireplace mantle an accent paint color, as this adds a quick update without having to tear anything out. In the kitchen, give your cabinets a new look with a douse of kitchen cabinet paint for an affordable and satisfying update. Countertop paint makes kitchen countertops look new again. You can do it yourself with a countertop paint kit in less than a weekend. A worn-out bathtub can look new with a coating of bathtub paint. Even your tiles can get a refresh or touch up, try tile paint on your backsplash or shower. Pro-tip: Use semi-gloss paint for kitchens and bathrooms as they wipe down easily.
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