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What to know before you begin:

As trusted industry professionals, we recommend you consider the following before you paint cedar siding!

  • What condition is your cedar siding? Is it old or new?
  • Is your cedar siding clean or will it require pressure washing or soft washing?
  • Are there any areas with excessive moisture?
  • Do you see any wood rot? If you see wood rot, this will have to be repaired before beginning your project.
  • Has your cedar siding been sealed, painted, or stained?

How do you prepare cedar siding for painting? 

It is important to pressure wash all dirt, algae, and or moss off to prepare the siding before painting. Allow at least 2 days for the siding to dry before you begin.

Is it better to paint or stain cedar siding?

This is your preference, stain allows moisture to escape the wood, and paint creates a higher build preventing moisture from getting in or out of the wood. Using a solid stain will allow the texture of the wood to show, if you prime then paint, you are creating a “build” or “film thickness” on the siding removing this appearance of the wood grain. Don’t forget that if you are using paint, that the cedar will require a bonding/blocking primer if it is bare wood.

What is “film thickness”?

Film thickness is a term used to describe the finished thickness of the paint is after it is dried. When painting the first film thickness will be between 2mm and 3mm t. Once the second coat is applied and dried the result is roughly 4mm which is the standard in the paint industry.

Priming is a must:

Cedar contains a large number of oils and tannins in the wood which is what gives it its appearance and also lasts longer in harsher climates. Priming the cedar siding will seal in any stains or tannins from bleeding through onto the topcoat.  If the cedar is “new” you will need to prime the cedar siding. If it is “old”, it is more likely that the tannins and oils have been extracted over the years from weathering. Siding needs to be primed with a stain-blocking primer first before top-coating with exterior paint. A stain-blocking primer should be oil-based to ensure the tannins, oils, and any mill glaze that may be on the siding (if new) are sealed properly. Using latex or water-based stain blocking primer is not recommended.

How do you paint old cedar siding?

It needs to be cleaned first by pressure washing. Make sure you give the siding time to dry before you begin with a solid stain. It can also be primed then painted with the best exterior paint on the market. Using a solid stain will allow the texture of the wood to show. If you prime then paint you may lose the natural wood grain look.