After the sanding is done, it's time to fill minor cracks and dents, repair any rot, and replace any pieces that are too far gone. (Wholesale replacement of wood siding or trim will likely require a carpenter.)
O'Neil patches shallow holes and divots with Ready Patch
because it dries fast, sands smooth, and stays flexible. Deep cracks and rotten spots are best repaired with two-step epoxies, such as those made by Advanced Repair Technology.
(For a step-by-step instructions, see Repairing Rot with Epoxy.
) The days of using polyester auto-body fillers on wood are over. "They cure too hard," says Portland, Oregon–based painting contractor Kathleen George. "They look good at first, but then they peel away."
Hold off on caulking the cracks until everything has been primed. "Primer protects the wood when—not if—the caulk fails," says O'Neil.