How to Paint T1-11 Siding

T1-11 is variety of wooden panel siding made of plywood. Each piece of T1-11 siding is routed, so that once installed, it looks like vertical strips of wood. This siding is a very common exterior shed or outbuilding material, but in some parts of the US it is also used on the exterior of homes.

There are many positives about using T1-11, but like all wood products, it requires maintenance. T1-11 siding should be inspected annually (quarterly is even better) so that holes, water or moisture intrusion can be identified and corrected immediately. Hands down, the best way to guard this siding against the elements (and various bugs and critters) and protect and lengthen its lifespan is to paint it.

How to Paint T1-11 Siding

  • Clean. Use a pressure washer to remove dirt, mold, and old loose paint. Use a wire brush and paint scraper to remove loose old coating (if applicable.) Be sure to scrub in the grooves of the siding. Allow to dry for at least 24 hours.
  • Replace damaged panels. If you discover any loose panels, secure them. If you find a panel damaged beyond repair, replace it. Trust me; it’s worth the minimal investment.
  • Caulk. Inspect the caulking around windows and doors. Repair dry-rotted or otherwise damaged caulk by re-caulking.
  • Prime. Prime the siding with a heavy acrylic primer. I’ve used XIM Peel Bond with great success. Because of its finish, painting T1-11 siding is rather tricky. Use a roller for large areas, and a brush to get into grooves, and tight spots. Let dry.
  • Paint. Apply two coats of exterior acrylic paint. Let the first coat dry completely before you roll the second coat. Apply in the same manner as the primer.
  • Re-touch. Once the second coat has dried completely, inspect the siding for any cracks or small holes you may have overlooked. Also, check to be sure you’ve covered all areas with paint.

Tools and materials for painting T1-11 siding.

  • Ladder (if applicable)
  • Wire brush
  • Brush or broom to clean up scrapings
  • Paint scraper
  • Paint trays or 5 gallon bucket with roller grid

I want to make you aware of a few alternatives before you start painting.

  • Spray Vs. Rolling. You can spray rather than roll the exterior primer and paint on the T1-11 siding. If you chose to spray the paint, follow up by back rolling the paint. As soon as you’ve sprayed the paint, use a paint roller or brush (back brushing) to work the paint into the siding. Spraying frequently fails to fill small cracks and grooves on its own- back rolling (and back brushing) help fill these spaces, and creates a smoother finish.
  • Elastomeric Vs. Exterior paint. You can use elastomeric paint rather than exterior acrylic paint on T1-11. You’ll find that elastomeric paint costs a bit more (and covers less area per gallon) but it will add a waterproof coating to the siding. Moreover, elastomeric paint is resistant to the elements (even intense direct sunlight and driven rain.) I still advise applying two coats, and using the back rolling method if spraying.


Painting T1-11 is a relatively easy job. Sure, it requires a bit of labor, and a small investment into materials, but overall, it demands nominal skill. Another positive: a small structure (such as a shed) can be completed in just one weekend. Not only will painting extend its life, it will also look much better. If you plan to paint a shed or out building, consider matching the paint color of the structure to that of your home. Painting T1-11 can really make a statement when painted correctly.

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  1. Posted November 11, 2015 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    I got all the information that I needed so we can paint a new shed that was just bult w T1-11 teck board. Thanks for the help. 🙂

  2. Guy Bonin
    Posted April 15, 2016 at 12:48 am | Permalink

    I installed t1 11 on my home. I primed the back and edges then installed it but it rained pored down before I could prime the face. How soon after the rain stops can I prime it? Its raining about every two to three or four days.
    Thank You

    • Posted April 15, 2016 at 12:57 am | Permalink

      Typically it’s 24 to possibly 48 hours to allow the siding to dry out. This depends on how soaked it is, how humid it is, the temperatures and bright sunshine. All of these things affect the drying. If you have warm temps, say 70 degrees, bright days with 50% or lower humidity 24 hours will be a good bet. Good breezes also help the wood dry out.

      A good way to tell if the siding is dry is to pick up an inexpensive moisture meter, typically $25-30.

  3. John Hari
    Posted May 21, 2016 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    I installed T1-11 on the south side of my house 3 years ago (suburb just south of Buffalo, NY). I primed the back side and edges and applied 2 coats of Behr exterior solid stain to the face. I have noticable hairline cracks throughout 90% of the panels, and one spot of delamination approx. 6″ long. Should I have primed the face side before applying the stain? What do you recommend for the hairline cracks (I’ve been told that a good exterior acrylic latex primer and topcoat of acrylic latex paint would seal the hairline cracks, – or do I need to spackle and sand all the cracks before re-finishing?) I was told to squeeze in some Gorilla glue into the delaminated crack and apply pressure to re-seat the top ply, then re-apply new finish. I also read that a good acrylic latex solid stain will work as good as paint and have less chance of “peeling”. Your thoughts and suggestions will be deeply appreciated. Thank you.

    • bob
      Posted May 28, 2016 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      i have the same problem in upstate, i was told it was because of the weather (cold) and poor painting technique (i did it myself)

    • Don Jones
      Posted February 9, 2017 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      John, I live on the west coast and have a favorite paint store here that sells an elastomeric terpolymer finish. Compared to regular exterior paint (250- 400 sq ft a gal) the elastomeric is (80-120 sf per gal). Take it from me, with each coat of this material it is like 2-3 coats of regular finish. I use it almost exclusively on T1-11 siding and it really does a number on the hairline cracks and most of all the other blemishes with the exception of buckling which is the last phase of delamination. Your paint stores should have a similar material. I swear by it.

  4. Posted May 21, 2016 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    Hairline cracks are typical for this siding. A good way to deal with them is to prime with a good primer, acrylic primer is a good choice, and painting 2 coats with a good paint. An alternative is to top coat with an elastomeric coating, Sherlastic by Sherwin Williams is a good budget elastomeric. Rolling both the paint and primer will help.

    I would avoid spackling any cracks. Maybe some large cracks that won’t be filled by the paint. I like the glue idea for the delaminating area, a nail or 2 will be needed to keep it together while the glue dries.

    Normally priming before any stain isn’t needed nor required by most manufactures. It defeats the purpose of using a stain, maximize penetration into the surface.

  5. John Lester
    Posted May 26, 2016 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Anybody had a easy way to paint the groves in T1-11?

    • Posted May 27, 2016 at 2:27 am | Permalink

      No easy way around it. Spraying the paint then back rolling with a thick roller works most to get the groves most of the time.

    • Dave McNair
      Posted July 6, 2016 at 2:21 am | Permalink

      My cottage has t1-11 siding that I paint. Years ago, (30?), I bought a t1-11 brush that makes painting the grooves very simple. One guy on the grooves can go twice as fast a second guy rolling the panels. I’ve looked on line but can’t find anything like it. The brush is about 6″ wide, with soft bristles about 1-1/2″ long. The part that holds the bristles is about 6″x 3/4″x1″ and it is attached to an articulated hinge that is adjustable to bend in two directions like your wrist. You adjust it to your preference and then lock those in by tightening thumb screws. This hinge body is threaded to screw onto a roller extension handle. You dip the brush into the paint on a paint tray, and with the handle, you can quickly paint the grooves from ground level to way over you head in easy swipes. I don’t know why it isn’t readily available.


      • R.G. Kindschi
        Posted December 16, 2016 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

        You can buy Adjustable Paint Brush Holder Extensions on Amazon to hold any paint brush you choose..which can be used by themselves or screwed on to an extension pole… Many times they are also available at local Paint Stores…

  6. Flower
    Posted May 26, 2016 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much for this article. I am looking to insure the long life of my new siding and learning about this wonderful primer is great.

  7. Steve Cairns
    Posted March 31, 2017 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    How long can untreated T1-11 siding safely go without a coat of protection? My contractor talked me into using a quality semi-transparent oil-based stain rather than prime & acrylic paint– but I’m nervous about the rainy weather in the next 48 hours. Thanks!

    • Posted April 1, 2017 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      The siding can be untreated for a while, weeks depending on the weather. A few days of rain should be fine.

      • Steve Cairns
        Posted April 1, 2017 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

        Sincere thanks– here is Washington state we’ve had the wettest couple of months on record. Here’s hoping for a drier spring!

  8. Kathy
    Posted August 7, 2017 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    I live in Pittsburgh PA. How often should our condominium plan to repaint-stain the T1-11 on the exterior of our townhouse to keep it protected and looking nice? Thank you for your assistance.

    • Posted August 8, 2017 at 3:18 am | Permalink

      Depends on the current condition of the t1-11 and what is currently on it, semi-transparent stain or solid colored stain. The more pigment the longer the stain will last. Semi-transparent stains will need maintenance (recoat) every 3 years while solid stains can go for 6-8.

    Posted November 1, 2017 at 12:55 pm | Permalink


    • Posted November 2, 2017 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      Either will work but paint will last longer. Properly primed then painted painted, T1-11 siding will be similar to any other siding for longevity.

      Stains can look good but don’t last as long as paint. a typical semi-transparent stain lasts 1-2 years, a solid colored stain last longer but will need recoating in 4-5 years tops.

      If you decide to paint make sure to properly primer before painting.

  10. Diane
    Posted November 14, 2017 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Has anyone had a negative experience with T1-11 being particularly susceptible to 100’s of bugs (ladybugs, flies, & bees) entering their home through the gaps in the siding? If so, have you found any solutions?

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