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Can you paint cedar siding? What you need to know

Here's your guide to painting cedar siding the right way

You want your home's exterior to look clean and well-kept, right? If your cedar siding is looking a bit worn, you may be wondering what your options are for giving it a facelift. Whether your once-glorious siding is looking a little worse for wear, or you just want to try something new, painting your cedar siding can be a great way to give your home a fresh look without removing and replacing all of your home's exterior materials. We've put together a guide that includes everything you need to know about cedar siding and how to paint it successfully. And the answer to the question, "can cedar be painted," is yes!

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2 hours

What You Need

  • Primer for cedar or latex-based paint

  • Paint (acrylic-based paint recommended)

  • Power washer

  • Paint scraper

  • Sander

  • Paintbrushes or rollers

Cedar siding

Why cedar siding is so popular

Cedar siding gives your home a classic, timeless appearance that will never go out of style. With several varieties to choose from, including red cedar and white cedar, your siding will match your style perfectly. Not only is it beautiful, but cedar siding also creates excellent heat and sound insulation, so your home is more energy-efficient and peaceful.

It's environmentally friendly

If you constantly aim to keep your home as green as possible, cedar siding is an excellent choice for your exterior. It's completely biodegradable, so when you do decide to replace it down the road, it won't harm the environment. Cedar trees are also among the fastest-growing trees, so you can rest easy knowing your home's siding hasn't contributed to deforestation.

It has a natural resistance to the elements and bugs

Aside from its aesthetic appeal and environmental benefits, cedar siding has qualities that will benefit you when it comes to maintaining your home's exterior. Cedar has a natural ability to resist warping, swelling, rotting, and decay, so you'll need to replace it far less often than you would with other types of wood siding. Cedar also naturally protects itself from insects like termites and prevents infestations and pest attacks.

Wooden table painted light brown

How to paint cedar siding the right way

When painting cedar siding, the prepping process is vital. Cutting corners or skipping steps during your prepping could lead to poorly adhering paint or even damaged cedar siding. It's painstaking, but your paint job will last for years to come if you're diligent in your prep work.

Step 1: Examine your cedar siding.

Before diving in, you'll want to take a close look at your cedar siding and check for some specific types of damage. Mold and mildew will need to be cleaned and removed before painting, and you'll need to determine if there is any excessive peeling on the previous coat of paint.

If the existing paint on your cedar siding is peeling, it's probably due to previously improper preparation, priming, or painting. It's possible to re-paint peeling siding, but be aware that the process for prepping cedar with peeling paint is fairly labor-intensive. It's not as simple as just slapping up a new coat of paint.

Step 2: Power wash, scrape, and sand the old paint.

If the existing paint is especially old and peeling, you'll need to remove all of the paint in its entirety before moving on in the process. You can use a power washer to get the majority of the old paint off, and in instances where mold or mildew is present, you can use a siding cleaner in conjunction with the power washer, which will remove mold and mildew easily.

Now, it's time to scrape and sand. Using a paint scraper and sander, scrape off any paint that the power washer could not remove. This will be a lengthy process, and it will require a lot of exertion, but you'll thank us when your new paint job is fit to last for years.

Step 3: Prime the cedar siding for good paint adhesion.

Natural woods like cedar must be primed before they are painted, or the paint will have trouble adhering. Cedar is notorious for its tannins — the sap that seeps through the paint — and this seeping can lead to ugly stains that expose themselves, even through layers of paint.

Use an oil primer that is ideal for cedar, or a latex-based paint that contains stain-blocking properties. The right primer will trap in tannins and prevent such stains from appearing. A two-coat priming system works best.

Step 4: Choose the best paint for the job.

The type of paint you use on your cedar siding needs to protect it from weathering and other damages. Acrylic-based paint is recommended when painting cedar siding since it looks great and also offers the protection the natural wood needs. Acrylic paint also has strong adhesion abilities and is even mildew-resistant, making it a perfect fit.

Step 5: Start with simple strokes.

When it's time to start painting, we recommend hand-brushing the paint onto the siding, rather than spraying or rolling the paint. Because cedar is so porous, it requires more paint to ensure full coverage, and this is most often achieved by hand-brushing.

House with blue wooden siding

Is your once-gorgeous cedar siding is looking drab, weathered, or damaged? Are you just looking to give your home's exterior a facelift? Painting your cedar siding is a creative way to add beauty to your home's exterior. While the prepping process for painting cedar is vigorous, it's also necessary to ensure excellent adhesion and a pristine finish. Just know that even if you do everything right, painting weathered wood won't last as long as if it had been painted when new. That said, with the right preparation and techniques, you can create a beautiful exterior. Tackle your cedar painting project today to restore your home's classic exterior to its former glory, and enjoy the beauty and benefits of your cedar siding for years to come.

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