Painting cedar siding can be a daunting task, but it can be easy and painless with the right tools and instructions! This article will provide you with everything you need to know to paint your cedar siding like a pro.

We’ll cover the basics of preparation, painting techniques, and post-painting care. So whether you’re looking to give your home a fresh new look or simply want to maintain its existing beauty, read on for all the information you need!

How to paint new cedar siding, Zazzy Home

The different painting techniques you can use 

When painting cedar siding, you can use a few different techniques to achieve the desired results. The most important part of the painting is preparation, so make sure you take the time to do it right!

Once you’ve prepared the surface, you can choose between two basic techniques: spraying or rolling. Spraying is generally faster and gives a more even finish, while rolling is more forgiving and can be used on uneven surfaces. 

No matter which technique you choose, make sure to apply several thin coats rather than one or two thick coats. This will help ensure a smooth, even finish and will prevent the paint from peeling or bubbling.

Finally, be sure to take care of your cedar siding after you’re done painting because the paint isn’t the only thing that can damage it.

The right preparation is essential. 

When painting cedar siding, meticulous preparation will go a long way in helping you achieve professional results. Here are some tips for getting your siding ready for paint:

Remove any loose or flaking pieces of paint and sand the surface with 120-grit sandpaper to clean and roughen up the wood. If your siding has been painted in oil-based paints, you’ll need to remove them in order to prevent them from seeping through subsequent coats and leaving unsightly streaks behind. Use an organic solvent like mineral spirits or paint thinner to wipe off old layers of oil-based paint after giving it sufficient time to soak in. Alternatively, use a chemical paint stripper like Natura Wood & Deck Cleaner or Peel Away 3 to completely strip off old layers of oil paint.

How to paint new cedar siding, Zazzy Home

If your siding has been painted in latex paints, you can simply wash it down with pure water after sanding. This will remove any dust and dirt without the need for additional cleaning products. However, suppose your wood is particularly dirty or contains mildew or algae. In that case, you may want to use an environmentally-friendly cleaning agent like Citristrip Gel Paint Remover SS to help break down organic materials before washing.

Make sure the surface is dry before painting. 

Cedar siding absorbs moisture from the air very easily, affecting its ability to absorb paint and even leading to peeling. That’s why it’s important to let your siding dry out thoroughly before applying a topcoat. While you’re waiting for the surface to dry, make sure not to cover it with any plastic or tarps because these materials will trap moisture underneath.

Finally, remember that weather conditions can significantly affect how well your cedar siding takes paint. In order to prevent under-paint from showing through, later on, choose a warm or humid day in which to start painting or consider using an exterior primer prior to painting.

Using the right tools 

When it comes to painting cedar siding, there are a few specific tools you’ll need in order for your project to go smoothly:

Paint tray – a paint tray is a great option for applying your paint, as it reduces mess and allows you to take advantage of the edge.

Angle sash brush – an angled sash brush will help you get into those hard-to-reach crevices around windows and corners.

Paint roller with extension handle – if you’re going to be painting more than one coat, a roller to apply your top coat does the job that much easier (and faster).

Short or long nap brushes – don’t forget your trim! A short nap brush is best for smaller surfaces like shutters and decorative trims, while longer nap brushes can tackle larger areas like doors and walls.

How to paint new cedar siding, Zazzy Home

Paint pan – may not be necessary but very useful when using a paint tray.

Paint roller frame – can be used with a paint tray or simply by itself.

PK Paint Gloves – the only way to go when working with oil-based products

Painter’s tape – must have for protecting woodwork and windows from getting paint on them

Drop cloths – a good idea since it is inevitable that you will drip some paint, so protect your floors and work areas as much as possible.

Choosing the right paint 

When it comes to painting cedar siding, filler primers are often ineffective because they don’t typically bond well enough with wood fibers. That’s why it’s important to use an actual primer prior to painting. There are two types of primer you should consider using: acrylic latex primer and oil-based primer.

Acrylic latex primers take about an hour to dry and offer excellent adhesion when painting cedar siding. However, they only cure when exposed to moisture, so avoid using them when it’s too humid outside or in damp rooms such as basements and bathrooms.

On the other hand, oil-based primers come in fast-drying formulas that provide a durable topcoat while still allowing the wood fibers to breathe. Sunlight breaks down oils, which is why oil-based primers need to be reapplied every 3–5 years to maintain their color and sheen.

Whether you choose acrylic latex or oil-based primer really depends on where you live. In drier climates like the western United States, an oil-based primer is ideal because it’s fast drying and blocks moisture from making the wood damp. Acrylic latex primers are also great options for high humidity since they cure even in moist air. While both types of primers work well on cedar siding, oil-based primers allow you to repaint sooner after its initial application.

How to paint new cedar siding, Zazzy Home

Choosing the right paint color 

If you’re looking for a traditional look with a timeless appeal, consider using a clear or semi-transparent stain instead of paint when painting new cedar siding. Both types of products offer natural colors that usually require no additional stains or topcoats but add minimal sheen and protection to the surface. However, if your cedar siding is weathered, you’ll want to first use a wood restorer to remove graying and restore your cedar’s original color.

Choosing paint over stain 

Oil-based paints provide a richer look than stains but can also be more difficult to apply as they dry slowly and need to be applied in thin coats. Longer drying times and the potential mess from oil spills mean it’s best to choose an exterior latex paint for this project. Latex paints dry faster and are easier to clean up if spilled. They also contain mildewcides, so even though stains help prevent mildew growth, using an exterior latex paint will do the job just as well without blocking the wood pores that allow the wood fibers to breathe.

Choose a quality paint/stain. 

Don’t skimp out when it comes to cost. The more you pay for your products, the more likely they are to perform better and last longer. Always read the product labels before using any exterior surface coating on your cedar siding. Don’t be afraid to ask questions too!

Tip: Solid color wall paints can be used for painting cedar siding but make sure the paint is 100% acrylic latex with a minimum sheen of semi-gloss or high gloss. Acrylic latex exterior paint also provides excellent protection from the elements and won’t peel, crack, crumble, blister or flake.

How to paint new cedar siding, Zazzy Home

How to care for your painted cedar siding 

Once you’ve completed painting your cedar siding, it’s important to keep up with regular maintenance to ensure its longevity. Here are a few tips for how to care for your painted cedar siding:

– Keep an eye out for peeling or flaking paint and repair as needed.

– Wash the surface regularly with a mild detergent and water to remove any dirt or debris.

– Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners as they can damage the paint finish.

– Protect the surface from fading and sun damage by applying a coat of exterior paint every 2-3 years.

– Every 1–3 years, use a wood restorer to refresh the color of your siding.

– Siding can dry out over time, so applying an exterior oil based primer every 3–5 years is recommended to preserve the sheen and help prevent cracking and peeling.

– Cedar planks are susceptible to rotting when exposed regularly to wet conditions. If necessary, apply a clear sealant coat on top of the paint every 2-3 years to keep your siding protected from water damage.

– For siding that’s already showing signs of rotting, replace the planks as needed.

How many coats do you need from scratch?

If you have weathered or bare wood, two coats of primer are recommended. If your wood is still in good condition but faded or discolored, one coat should suffice—although applying an extra coat won’t hurt if you want to ensure your siding looks its best. Remember: it’s always better to apply too much than too little priming, so don’t afraid to go back for a second (or third) coat if necessary.

How to paint new cedar siding, Zazzy Home

FAQs about painting cedar siding

– What type of paint should I use on cedar siding?

For the best results, use an exterior latex paint that is 100% acrylic and has a minimum sheen of semi-gloss or high gloss.

– Can I use solid color wall paint instead?

Yes, but make sure to choose a specifically designed paint for exterior surfaces.

– How often should I repaint my cedar siding?

It’s recommended to repaint every 2-3 years, but you may need to do it more or less often, depending on the climate and environment where your home is located.

– What should I do if my cedar siding is rotting?

If the condition of your cedar siding is getting worse and you can’t wait to repaint, it’s time to replace the planks as needed. If you’re only painting over existing paint, use a good exterior primer beforehand.

– What if my siding has mildew stains?

Mildew often looks worse than it actually is—even before washing off, you’ll notice that most of the black or green color will come off onto your sponge when scrubbing in small circular motions. Left alone, mold and mildew will continue to eat away at your wood so remove these stains by applying an exterior latex paint with a high sheen finish. Don’t be tempted to use oil-based paint as it won’t adhere to your siding and worsen the problem.

– What should I do if my cedar siding is flaking off?

Cedar planks are vulnerable to moisture damage, so if some of your paint has begun peeling, brush off any loose debris and then wash down with a mild detergent and water before applying primer. You can also use a liquid paint remover—just follow the manufacturer’s label instructions very carefully as they’re extremely caustic and dangerous! It can be useful to remove one plank at a time so you’ll have something to refer back to when matching color combinations, although keep in mind that different light sources often alter how colors look.

– Can I apply stain over top of my cedar siding paint?

Yes, if your exterior latex paint has a sheen level lower than semi-gloss or high gloss. Think twice about applying any type of oil-based stain, though, as it won’t adhere to the existing paint and could flake off with the next layer of latex.

If you’re looking to give your home a fresh new look, follow these simple steps to paint your cedar siding like a pro! Cedar siding is a beautiful addition to any home, but it can be a pain to keep looking new. If you’re not sure how often you should repaint your cedar siding or if it’s beginning to show signs of rotting, this post has all the information you need. Happy painting!


Gardening doesn't have to be hard. Even if you don't have a lot of space, there are ways to make the most of it. My name is Brian and I'm a garden design and maintenance blogger. I've been gardening for years, and I'm an expert at getting the most out of a garden of any size. If you're just starting out, the first thing you need to do is figure out what kind of gardener you are. Are you the type who likes to get their hands dirty? Or do you prefer to sit back and let things grow on their own? Once you know that, it's easier to decide what kind of garden to create.

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