Pro Painters Know The Importance of Preparation

You can rest assured with our 21-step “prep for painting” process


We’ve found over the years that many professional painting contractors know its importance, but they don’t know all the steps required to do an excellent, complete job.

In our 37 years of being in business, we at El Gato have developed a unique 21-step preparation process.
We say unique, not because it’s proprietary, but because no one else we know does it.
And that’s what allows us to offer our 6 year guarantee.

Why don’t our competitors follow this process? We don’t know. But we do know that it takes time (and adds some project cost) and discipline to do it the same way on every project. It’s part of our commitment to excellence at El Gato.

We also know from completing thousands of painting projects that following the 21 steps will give a paint job that lasts.

So here it is, the 21 steps we take before we even begin painting on your project:

  1. Remove ordinary dust, dirt, cobwebs, debris, etc. from under eaves and siding by power washing the house.
  2. Check for and remove any minor mildew.  Most homes have a small amount of mildew on them and El Gato Painting will remove this mildew as standard procedure.  However, homes that have excessive mildew will be subject to an additional charge.
  3. Survey the entire job.  At this time the foreman and crew will determine exactly what has to be done and how it will be done.  The job will be organized accordingly.  Areas requiring more preparation time will be started immediately.  Areas requiring primer will be primed as soon as they are prepared.  By surveying and organizing at the beginning of the job El Gato Painting can perform the job in the most efficient manner.
  4. Remove or cover items that are against or near the house.  This includes cars, boats, lawn furniture, potted plants, etc.  Verify colors (if possible) with the customer.
  5. Perform minor pruning of bushes or shrubs if needed.  It is preferred that this step be taken care of by the owner; that way the owner has it done to his satisfaction.  If the owner is unable to do this El Gato Painting will gladly perform this step, but it should be understood that some plants may have to be cut back substantially to facilitate painting.
  6. Verify type of paint used previously to determine the type of preparation and primers required for best adhesion.  Sand and spot prime any surfaces requiring attention.  If surfaces were preciously painted with oil-type paint, a special primer may be required to bond the finish coat.  These oil-to-latex conversions will be subject to an extra charge.
  7. Scrape gutters and downspouts of loose paint and spot prime bare metal with the appropriate primer.  Most homes with metal gutters will have a small amount of peeling.  Some homes may have quite a lot of peeling on the gutters and may have to be stripped to bare metal in some sections, or on very rare occasions completely stripped.  Gutters requiring stripping are subject to an extra charge.
  8. Sand gutters completely.  Many homes have no peeling of paint on the gutters at all.  Some gutters appear to be in such good condition that no sanding is required.  El Gato Painting will sand these gutters front and back to “etch” the surface and provide more “bite” for the new paint.
  9. Remove minor hooks and nails from under eaves, fascias or siding (not including roofing nails) and fill remaining holes.  Hook and nail removal will be done only at the request of the owner.
  10. Scrape off all loose, peeling paint, chipping paint and flaking paint from fascia.  Fully sand, even where not peeling, and spot prime bare wood.  Fascias requiring stripping are subject to an extra charge.
  11. All wood siding and eaves will be thoroughly sanded, where needed, cleaned and spot primed prior to painting.  If the existing paint is peeling excessively and requires extra-ordinary scraping, sanding and priming there will be and additional charge.
  12. All entrance doors will be fully sanded, all holes will be filled and bare wood will be primed.
  13. All garage doors will be fully sanded and bare wood spot primed.
  14. If the stucco or foundation (if it is to be painted) goes below the dirt, the dirt will be trenched away several inches and any remaining dirt will be wire brushed off the stucco.  This enables us to paint below the dirt line.  This is especially helpful if there is going to be a color change.
  15. Fill all significant cracks in the paint or holes in the stucco with a suitable patching compound.  (El Gato will fill holes and cracks not requiring repair by a specialty contactor.)
  16. Check for rust, prepare and spot prime.
  17. Check for water damage or leakage and seal stains (if present) to prevent bleeding through finish coat of paint.
  18. Caulk cracks around casings, windows and doors.  Excessive caulking will be and extra charge.
  19. Mask fixtures or, if requested, remove and replace fixtures.  This includes house numbers, lights, mailboxes, etc.  Note: El Gato Painting is not responsible for faulty electrical systems if fixtures are removed and replaced or for the replacement of flimsy house numbers that break when removed.
  20. Mask window openings, door opening, concrete, etc. to avoid over spray and paint splatters.
  21. Cover plants with cloth sheets.

It sounds like a lot of work… and it is. But, following these 21 steps completely is what gives you a paint job you will be happy with. And that’s our goal.

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