Questions about pre-primed wood: paint vs. stain? # of coats?

NewEnglandSaraJune 3, 2012

Hi there,

We are in major need of painting the exterior of our house in the Boston area, which was sided with pre-primed cedar clapboard in November (when it was too cold to paint.) The primer has now lost a bit of its luster, but it is still mostly intact. We have had a bunch of painters come by, and we are getting different opinions and prices from everyone. I would love input on a few questions. (If it matters, we are going for a medium gray-blue color for the house....)

1) Is it better to paint or to stain over the factory primed wood that has been exposed since November? If staining is better, should we still use primer? If so, would you recommend oil or latex primer? If primer isn't necessary with stain, how many coats would you recommend?

2) A few painters have suggested only using one coat of latex paint if we use tinted oil-based primer. They think we will have too much paint on the house if we use two coats. However, other painters have suggested that the primer might shine through with only one coat. Again, I would love some input.

Thank you so much!


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Generally speaking, it's not a good thing to leave wood primed and not finished for so long, but I don't know that I would re-prime. Perhaps a good power wash and staining would be sufficient....depends on the condition of the primer coat. Of course, the safest thing to do would be to re-prime everyhing with a high quality slow drying oil primer, but that would increase the cost of the paintjob. If the cedar is rough sewn, then you really don't want to paint that. Stain is preferred.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2012 at 2:23PM
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Wash the aged primed coat and check for chalking afterwards. If still chalked, re-prime no matter what, it's exterior work.
Can be primed with any primer,latex or oil.
2 finish coats will not put too much on, unless your painter is completely mill-thickness unaware. It looks thick and creamy in the can but when it dries it is half the thickness of old oil house paint. 2 coats properly done will probably last 10-15 years, depending on other maintenance aspects of the house.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 10:47PM
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