Cedar Siding - help repainting or restaining

Jstell2008May 29, 2008

My home is 25 years old and has cedar siding, colonial style. We have stained it several times over the years. Now it needs major redoing. Can we power wash the cedar siding? Some say no, some say yes. Also, what is better or cedar, paint or stain? Thanks

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Here's what my experience has been with cedar. My home is close to 100 years old and the exterior is cedar.

However, my home was painted over the course of the 100 years. I have had my home power washed to prep it for re-painting.

The key is to get someone who is actually experienced with power washing so the wood does not get gouged or damaged in the process.

When exposed un-treated cedar gets wet, it can turn almost black in color and does not lighten up to the original shade(ie: think of that grey-weathered cedar shingle color).

Whatever you choose to do, realize that once you paint it, there is no going back later to stain it. Unless you have an unlimited cash pile to afford to pay someone to stip all the paint and prep it for staining, that is.

You will also have to prep it to re-stain it if that is your choice.

There really is no 'better' option of the two choices, it is a personal esthetic choice as to which look do you prefer. Stain needs upkeep and maintenance as does painted wood due to environmental exposure over time.

Perhaps just get a quote from painting contractors on both staining and painting and decide that way. Be sure to get multiple quotes and references as well. Do not decide on only one quote. I just had my home repainted and got 5 quotes. The one I went with was $3k cheaper than the rest.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 2:47PM
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agree with above -- my view on cedar is that you have a wood that is more expensive because it is naturally weather resistant. Why put paint on it, which means you have just as much protection as with ordinary wood? Plus, cedar is quite attractive. I would stick with stain unless you really want the painted look.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 5:28PM
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Thanks. We have semi-solid stain and I think we will stay with that. We got one quote to do everything - power wash, caulk windows, 2 coats of stain. We have a 2 story colonial with a wrap around porch. The quote was 18,000. That's almost as much as a house I once bought. We will get more quotes. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 8:41PM
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Cedar, like any wood, will still age and needs some protection on it. People here used to use the Cabot Bleaching Oil on new cedar shakes to protect them and help them to age naturally. After many years, these shingles still need some maintenance. I prefer to see cedar shakes stained with a semi-transparent stain or even a sem-solid stain because I like the some color on the wood. I still think the first product should be an oil based stain such as Cabot Stain. Once painted, there is no going back to a stain on any wood without a tremendous amount of work. I did see some condominiums recently that had cedar shakes that were allowed to age too far. The contractor cleaned these shakes with concentrated pool bleach and applied 500 gallons of Wolman Dura-Stain Naturaltone Cedar Semi-Tranparent Stain. The job turned out nice and seems to be holding up well. I will be interested in watching the product over the next few years to see how well it holds up on the oceanfront.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 10:30PM
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Paint is not as breathable as stain either. Sometimes choosing paint or stain is not just an aesthetic decision. If you have a home with moisture issues, using paint may be a bad choice because the film forming nature of the coating may block water vapor from escaping from behind the siding. If it cannot escape it will go through the paint which means you will have mass peeling and bubbling. This is one of the reasons I generally choose stain for cedar...it just doesn't peel like paint as soon.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2008 at 8:39AM
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Thanks for the help. After reading everything I think we will stay with stain. It needs redoing every 3 to 5 years, but you're right that it looks better than paint. And, I don't want to paint and hate it and not to be able to go back to stain. Thanks.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 7:39PM
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