4 hours for an average size house
- Screw drivers (regular and Philips)
- Power drill with screwdriver bits (if preferred over handheld screwdriver)
- Other hardware as needed for removing random items
- Duster brush
- Multipurpose painters’ tool with hammerhead handle
- Ladders (house dependent; see full exterior equipment list for ladder suggestions)
Immediately before masking and painting is the time to remove the downspouts and get all the other miscellaneous items that you don’t want painted off the house and out of your way.
Some painters remove the downspouts at the pressure-washing stage so they can clean behind them (especially important if there’s mold and mildew back there), but I try not to do it then because I don’t like to have them off the house any longer than necessary in case there’s a rainstorm—water rushing off the roof can kill flowers, flood basements, and plaster the lower areas of the siding with mud, which is a real pain for a painter. I take them down just before painting, and simply dust away any dirt and cobwebs with my duster brush or a straw broom. It is, after all, the area behind the downspout—not exactly the focal point of the house.
Removing the downspouts is simple: Unscrew all the rivets holding them onto the house, starting with the bottom clamps and ending where the downspout attaches to the gutter. (See the video for some tips on recalcitrant downspouts that run right through a hole cut in the deck.) Having one of those interchangeable screwdrivers is key here because often the screws holding the downspouts on actually require a hex head to take them off, and when you take the flathead or Philips head attachment out of the interchangeable screwdriver the hex opening works great.
If the downspouts are factory-finished and not to be painted, put them somewhere you won’t step on them, far away from the side of the house. Tape the screws for each downspout inside the end or you’ll never find the little suckers when you are ready to put the downspouts back up after painting. And label each piece of tape with a black marker to identify what corner of the house the downspout came from (NW, SE, etc.). It might be a few weeks before you put them back up, and it’s easy to forget where they go.
If the downspouts need to be painted, do them separately in the garage on a rainy day. See my video on painting the trim for details on that.
This is also a good time to remove other miscellaneous items in preparation for painting, including bird feeders, thermometers, outdoor light fixtures, hanging plants, and what have you. Clear the space around the house by moving everything out of the way: the grill, the wood pile, flower pots, sprinklers, and anything else you might trip on while you’re focusing your attention on painting the house. It saves a lot of angst during the painting process if you’re not worried about stepping around stuff all the time.