If you plan on taking on such a big project as painting your home, or hiring a painting contractor to do it for you, you will need to give your house a visual inspection for any rotted wood that will need to be replaced before painting can begin.
I find that the best way is to set-up a ladder that extends a couple of feet above your gutter system. This allows you to visually inspect the wall surface, trim boards and fascia boards. The fascia board is located behind your gutters.
This also allows you the perfect opportunity to clean out your gutters. Take an empty 5 gallon bucket or any good size plastic bucket and hang it on your ladder with a ladder bucket hanger so you can place the gutter debris in it. You can use a paint scraper to loosen up any dirt that has collected on the bottom of gutters and an old paint brush works great to sweep clean the gutters. Continue working your way down the length of the house inspecting window trim, sills and cleaning out your gutters. Also make sure to check your overhangs for wasp nest and spray them as needed.
A note on ladder safety: Placing an aluminum ladder against an aluminum gutter creates a very slippery surface. A good gust of wind can easily blow down the ladder. Never leave a ladder unattended without securing the ladder to a gutter bracket to prevent it from being blown down. If your done with the ladder for the day, make sure you take it down to prevent any children from climbing and getting hurt.
If you have a roof with a slight pitch that you can walk on safely, you can use a hand–held blower to clean out your gutter system. I would only suggest this method, if your gutters have a small amount of debris, as you will end up blowing all the debris over your walkways and driveway, which will only need to be cleaned.
When inspecting the gable ends or sides of your house, don’t forget to spray the vents and overhangs for wasp nest. Take note of your rake boards that run down the cables. The last couple of feet of the rake boards is a very common area that may need replacing because of rotted wood. This is caused by the end of gutters not being properly sealed and water leaking out. Make all necessary repairs to gutters to prevent this from happening again.
Also do a walk-around on the lower section of house and pay close attention to any wood close to the ground. An easy way of checking is to poke any wood in question with a screw driver, looking for soft and rotted wood.
Any shrubbery that is growing to close to your house will need to be trimmed back for better access and to eliminate a bridge for bugs to travel on to your home. Now that you have a list of areas that need attention, make the necessary repairs.
Before installing the new wood, make sure you prime both sides and edges with a good quality primer sealer. This is not an area to skimp on. Make sure you also prime the edge of the board where the rotted section was cut-off. This prevents water seeping in on the edge and causing the paint to peal.