Fascia boards are nailed across the rafter ends around your roof line. Wherever you have gutters, they are attached to fascia boards. Because they are subject to water and leaf overflow from both the gutters and the roof, the paint on your fascia can take a beating, especially on the south and west sides of your house, where they're exposed to sunlight as well. To remove the paint from them in preparation for repainting, be prepared to spend hours up on a ladder scraping and sanding. The proper tools will make the job go much quicker.
Inspect your ladders to ensure they are in good condition and tall enough to reach the fascia. A 6- or 8-foot stepladder will get you to one-story fascia, but for peaks, and anything taller, you will need an extension ladder tall enough to extend 3 feet above the roof line.
Put heavy plastic sheeting weighted down with rocks, or canvas dust sheets, below the work area. Each time you move down to paint a new section, fold the dust sheets and shake the paint scrapings into a bucket or trash bag.
Use sharp, high-quality scrapers for removing paint. Most fascia is flat, so a 2- to 3-inch rigid, chisel-edged paint scraper will be your most efficient tool. Wedge the edge of the scraper under the loose paint and push it away from the wood.
Remove very loose or "alligatored" paint (covered with checkered cracks) with a double-edged paint scraper. Pull it back and forth across the surface of the wood to remove loose paint.
Pry out old caulking and fillers at the same time as removing the paint. Use the corner of a scraper or a screwdriver to chisel it out. Re-caulk and fill again after priming.
Sand the wood to feather out remaining paint edges. Use an electric palm sander and 50- or 80-grit sandpaper. Sand each section after scraping it; it's faster because you have to move the ladder only once around the perimeter of the house.
Wear comfortable, closed-toe shoes and eye protection. It can be tiring spending hours on a ladder if you're not used to it, and paint and wood chips can fly in all directions. There is a safety and usage label affixed to most ladders; read and follow the directions. If your scraper sinks into soft fascia, it is probably rotted. Replace rotted areas.
If the home was built prior to 1978, chances are at least one of the paint layers contains lead. Call your regional office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, or pick up a lead safety information sheet from any paint store to learn about lead-safe work procedures.