When painting your home's exterior, start with the soffits and eaves. We'll show you the best way to paint these architectural details with ease.

front yard garden

Once you have the prep work out of the way, you are at the easy part of the job. Painting is easier than preparation—and more rewarding. When you begin to put the paint on, you begin to see the results of all your color planning and preparation.

Exterior painting is fairly straightforward from an organizational point of view. The order of the work proceeds from top to bottom. Not only does this keep spatters from marring fresh paint (if you had applied it from bottom to top), it also gets the most difficult details out of the way first.

What to do with the guttering is always a perplexing question on an outside paint job, and the answer is always remove it. Even if you're not painting the gutters, you need to paint the fascia that supports it. Slipping the brush between the fascia and the gutters will not get the paint where you need it to protect the wood.

To paint your home's soffits and eaves, you'll need to spend between 1 and 2 hours for every 25 linear feet. Before you begin, make sure the exterior has been properly prepped. That includes scraping, repairing, and priming damaged wood, and cleaning the surface thoroughly.

Related: Find a Local Pro to Help with Exterior Painting

  • Working time 6 hrs
  • Start to finish 1 day
  • Difficulty Kind of Easy
  • Involves Painting

What you need


How to do it

Part 1

Step 1

Cut in Edges

Raise your ladder until its rests solidly on the house below the soffit. Position the rungs so you can paint all parts of the soffit without overreaching or unnecessarily tucking your head under the soffit. Cut in the edges of open areas, then fill in between them.

Step 2

Paint Horizontal Section

Paint the horizontal section of the soffit first, then apply paint to the sides and faces of any corbels or other decorative elements. Don't forget to paint the backside of any vertical boards or fascia that trim the soffit. You won't see these rear surfaces, but they need the protection of the paint.

Step 3

Paint Top and Bottom

Starting at the top, apply paint to the front and bottom edge of any cornice or fascia. If you find you can't reach this area comfortably, come down from the ladder and adjust its height. If you have to reach too far, you will apply the paint unevenly. Move the ladder to successive unpainted sections.

Step 4

Cut In Edges

If your house has been built since the 1950s or 1960s, your soffit design probably will not have much adornment, which will make painting easier. First cut in all the edges you can comfortably reach, including rafter extensions. Then brush-paint joints or seams in the soffit facing.

Step 5

Paint Remaining Sections

While the cut-in paint on the section is still wet, paint in the remaining areas with a roller, overlapping the roller strokes and removing any bead marks. When one section is painted, move the ladder to the succeeding unpainted sections.

Step 6

Paint the Center Boards

Center the ladder on the wall and start at the peak. Paint as many boards as you can comfortably reach. Paint one board at a time, from one side to the other, in order to keep a wet edge.

Keeping the ladder centered on the wall, move it down a couple of boards and paint them from one side to the other. If you have to overreach, move the ladder to one side or the other.

Step 7

Paint the Side

Lower the ladder a couple of boards and move it to one side of the wall. Paint two or three boards from that side, across the top of the ladder, and then to the other side as far as you can reach. Cut in the edge of the siding first, then fill in.

Step 8

Paint the Other Side

Keeping the ladder at the same height, move it to the unpainted side and continue painting the same two or three boards. Don't paint boards below the top of the ladder, even if you can reach them—you'll lose the wet edge.


How difficult was this project?
Be the first to comment!

Project Toolbar

Font Size