Tips for Painting Different Types of Siding

If your home has siding, it’s important to identify what type it is. Painting siding can encompass several application techniques. Be sure you use the right painting technique for long lasting results.

There are primarily five types of siding—wood, T-111, Masonite, aluminum, and vinyl. The material determines the type of paint and primer you should use. There may be variations in how you prepare the siding for painting as well.

Wood Siding

Wood siding is very common and can be painted or stained. The most common woods used are cedar, redwood, fir and pine. Hardwoods are rare, but may be seen from time to time in older homes.

The style of the siding can be quite diverse. Lap siding in different widths is the most common, though rustic log cabin siding is popular in the West.

The most important tip for painting or staining wood siding is to start with a clean surface. The second tip is to determine what type of finish was used on the wood originally. If the stain was solvent-based, a solvent-based stain is your best choice for quality results.

T-111 Siding

Another common variety of wood siding is T-111. This type of siding is very difficult to keep painted due to all the cracks in the plywood that develop over time. Painting T-111 siding requires a lot of work and paint. If you have this type of siding, and it is stained consider not painting. Restaining T-111 siding is a good alternative to paint.

Masonite Siding

Masonite is another material that is very common. It has increased in popularity especially as the styles available have caught up the trend toward Victorian and Craftsman style homes.

Masonite is an artificial material that can be smooth or embossed. Wood grained options are available that mimic rough shingles extremely well.

Masonite is a very stable type of siding and not prone to warping and splitting like wood. To get the best results use the back rolling technique. Otherwise, there is a risk of possible damage from water in the near future.

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding can be painted if a new color is desired or if the original color has degraded over the years. Painting vinyl siding and trim will require some extra steps.

  • Use vinyl safe paint colors. Many manufactures have special color charts just for vinyl siding.
  • Although priming isn’t always needed it is still a good idea to prime with a high quality acrylic primer.
  • Use the best acrylic paint. Most peeling problems come from using lower quality paint.

 

If you like the existing color, you have other options besides painting. Vinyl siding can be revitalized, bringing back the original color.

Steel or Aluminum Siding

Overall painting steel siding is the same as painting other types of siding. The preparation steps may be a little different as rust and oxidation need to be taken care of for good results.

Stucco

While technically stucco isn’t a siding, it a very popular exterior finish used throughout the Southwest and other parts of the country. It’s understandable, with the ease of maintenance and low cost to usable lifespan. Painting stucco is a great way to change the color or hide unsightly stains.

Masonry

Concrete block is another wonderful building material. My favorite is split-face block, often used on commercial buildings. This material can be painted or stained to achieve many decorative affects. Painting concrete block is very easy and if done correctly will last a very long time with easy maintenance in the future.

Exterior Brick can also be painted. If you want a new look or just hate the color of your brick consider painting for a low maintenance finish that will last a long time. These are the steps I take to paint exterior brick, whether it is unpainted or previously painted.

Almost any exterior surface can be painted. This is just a partial list of surface types I paint every year.




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