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How to Prep Cedar Siding for Paint: Step by Step Guide



Cedar siding is a great choice for homeowners anywhere. Many love it for its natural look and feel, how durable western red cedar siding is, how cedar siding is a good insulator, and that it naturally repels pests and decay by design.


But, for those who want to refresh the look and upgrade their exterior style, painting cedar siding is a great way to accomplish this. Even still, the preparation process of getting the cedar siding ready to paint is an important step that cannot be overlooked. So, continue reading through this guide as we explain why you need to prep cedar wood ahead of painting it, and give you a walkthrough of that actual preparation process.


Why Learning How to Prep Cedar Siding for Paint is So Important

You may wonder why you need to know so much about prepping cedar siding for paint. The truth is–if you want to do a quality paint job that will last for the years to come–you need to know how to prep cedar siding for paint.


If you don’t prep the cedar siding properly, your paint job could look less-than-ideal, and not fare well when exposed to the elements. So, to avoid a peeling paint job and watch all your hard work easily wash away, you need to prep the boards so the paint can absorb well into the wood and give you a good-looking paint job that you don’t have to continually redo.


How to Prep Cedar Siding for Paint: Everything You Need to Know

As you now know, preparing your cedar siding for painting is a crucial step in the process that impacts the overall success of your paint job. After all, cedar siding can last a long time, so you want to take good care of this investment and help it look its best by giving it a quality paint job.


So, let’s take a look at some of the important considerations you need to take while prepping your siding to be painted.


Can You Paint Over Painted Cedar Siding?

If your cedar siding has already been painted, either by a previous owner or yourself, you may wonder if you can simply apply the new paint over the top of it. This will largely depend on the current state of the existing paint job, but in most cases, it’s best to strip off the current paint before applying a new shade. This is recommended because you don’t want to put all the work into applying fresh paint, only for the older paint to peel off and age, removing your new coats with it.


So, using a scraper or a paint stripper, you can remove the older paint job, giving you a fresh surface to work with. In general, this will allow the paint and primer to soak into the wood better and give you a more durable finish that will last longer. Even still, if the previous paint job looks great and you’re painting more to give your home a new color, inspect the siding and make the decision for yourself if you need to remove the paint before continuing on.


Should You Sand Cedar Siding Before Painting?

If you’ve had to remove older paint, or you’re dealing with cedar siding that is a little aged and rugged, you may consider sanding the surface before you paint.

It’s important to apply the paint to a smooth surface because it will ensure it absorbs well into the porous wood and gives an even application over the whole piece of siding. When there are paint ridges leftover from the previous paint job, coarse grains, or other irregularities in the surface of the wood, your paint job may not be as effective and may peel off easily. Therefore, make sure to examine the siding well before moving on to the following steps to decide if you should sand it first. This may be a particularly important step if you removed the paint that was on the siding prior, though it will be decided on a case-by-case basis.


Should You Wash Cedar Siding Before Painting?

As we discussed above in regards to sanding, you want to give yourself the smoothest surface to work with in order to do a paint job that lasts. So, you may want to clean the siding before you start painting.


If you are painting brand new siding that has yet to be installed, you can likely skip this step. However, a good rinse of the cedar siding can help get rid of any dust or buildup that can keep the primer and paint from adhering well to the boards. Plus, if you notice a more serious buildup like mildew, mold, or oil stains, you may want to put a little more effort into the cleaning process to make sure the siding is clean and clear of all substances before you begin painting. If the problem is serious enough and cannot be easily cleaned, you may want to consider replacing the piece of siding altogether before you paint. If you skip this step, the paint may flake or peel off more easily, which leaves you with a patchy paint job that you’ll have to redo shortly.


What is the Best Primer for Cedar Siding?

The last question you may have about prepping your cedar siding to be painted is what type of primer you should use.


Though it may be tempting to save time and choose a paint that’s a two-for-one including the primer, you should apply the primer separately ahead of painting, opting for a two-coat application instead. This makes sure that the paint will adhere well to the boards, and will keep the paint job as long-lasting as possible.


When prepping cedar siding for painting, you want to look for a stain-blocking primer that is oil-based as opposed to water-based. This gives you the best base for applying your paint and should be applied to all sides of the siding that are visible and will be painted–not just the front portion. This step is important because cedar wood is known for its tannins or the sap that can seep out through the paint, which will ruin its overall look and appearance. So, don’t skip the primer, as it is the final part of the preparation process that gets the wood ready to be painted.


Closing Thoughts on Preparing to Paint Cedar Siding

There you have it–now you understand why prepping cedar is so important ahead of painting it. Using these steps, you can easily knock out all the necessary prep work and get closer to your fresh and newly painted siding that will be long-lasting. So if you’ve ever worried about whether cedar siding is hard to maintain or if cedar siding needs to be treated, giving it a good paint job is a great way to keep it looking fresh and pristine for the years to come. And when you do all the proper prep work, you can avoid some of the ongoing maintenance and care for cedar siding in the years between paint jobs. Even still, a good cedar siding paint job can only look as good as the quality of the wood itself. Do yourself a favor and choose the best western red cedar siding available. At G&B Quality Cedar Products, we are the top western red cedar lumber supplier across Central and Southern Ontario, providing you with the best cedar wood in any size and shape for your latest project. Check us out today for all your cedar lumber needs!

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