Prepping a house costs anywhere from $0.50 to $2.50 per square foot. This is almost always included in the total project price. However, the DIYer might negotiate some discounts for completing this work on their own. Be warned, proper prep is key to the quality and durability of the finish. If you do this work yourself, the contractor might no guarantee to finished product.
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."