Painting and Stripping Old Wood Siding — Overview
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Peeling paint from moisture
Too many layers of old paint
C. Finished. Note the metal overhang on the window. This
was caulked on the sides and the old metal overhang
pried up a bit so the water wouldn't wick.
When we started to paint our house, we faced the problem of
trying to decide what we could do to maximize the life of our
paint job. Unfortunately, we kept finding contradictory information.
Should we use a latex primer or and alkyd primer? Should we use
a water repellent sealer before priming? Should we just scrape
or totally remove the old paint?
Here is a summary of what we did. For
full details). Go
to our step-by-step page
- Strip the old paint (Go
to our paint stripping page) We decided to strip
the paint to give us the best chance of producing the
longest lasting paint job. Be sure to remove any caulk
where the siding overlaps as old houses need to breathe.
- Pull out loose nails and renail using stainless
steel siding nails.
- Fill any dents and holes with either a wood or epoxy filler.
- Sand the surface.
- Apply an epoxy consolidant to
soft wood and coat the rest with a wood preservative. We used the paintable Wolmans
Clear Wood Preservative.
We have also learned of Smith and Co's MultiWoodPrime that also is paintable.
- Caulk cracks. We used GE
XST Extreme Paintable Silicone II (We
are now using GE
Never caulk between the overlapping siding boards as this
traps in moisture which will cause peeling.
- Apply one coat primer. We are using ZINSSER 1-2-3 primer
as it dries faster and looks like it has better properties
than regular oil based primers.
Have the paint store tint the primer to the
same color as the top coat.
- Apply two coats of Behr exterior paint form Home Depot.
When I buy paint, I try to use the top rated on in Consumer
Reports figuring at least there is
a test behind the paint. Recently, I've been able to get
the #1 rated California
The experts do not agree on the use of a water
sealer/preservative before priming. The National Park Service
recommends it as do some other top painters. We decided to
use a sealer because our area is humid and gets regular rain
during the Spring and Summer. Therefore, we wanted to seal
the fresh stripped wood surface as soon as possible after
using the infrared
heat stripper. The process of infrared heat stripping
dries out the wood and allows the sealer to readily penetrate.
We applied the sealer, which cleans up with water, as small areas
were stripped. Since the freshly striped siding was now
protected, we could wait to prime larger areas on dry days, and
by priming larger areas with the alkyd primer, we were more productive
in priming setup and clean up.
- Never caulk
between the overlapping siding boards. This traps in moisture.
needs to flow between the inside and outside so your
house can breath.
- Don't caulk
unpainted wood. Caulk after using the sealer. If you don't use the sealer,
caulk after priming.
- Wood that
is gray or weathered will not hold paint. Sand down to fresh wood.
siding exposed to several weeks of sunlight before painting
needs to be sanded. Sunlight degrades the unfinished wood surface, thus it will
never hold paint as well as fresh wood. If the unfinished wood
was exposed more than 3 to 4 weeks, lightly sand the surface
to remove the thin layer of degraded wood before applying paint.
- Don't let
the primer sit more than a few weeks before painting. Soap-like compounds can form
on oil primers in as little as two weeks.
- Use a brush
when painting old siding. It allows the paint to be worked into the siding's
imperfections more effectively than a roller or spray.
- Don't prime
or paint in
direct sunshine, when it is dry and breezy, or is very hot
(over 90 degrees F)
- Paint should
not be applied when the air temperature is below the stated figure
for the product, nor if the temperature is forecasted to
drop below that minimum during the next 36 hours, nor if the
surface being painted is below that temperature.
should be applied when the temperature is at least 40 F; for
latex paints, the temperature should be at least 50 F. Conditions
should remain above these temperatures for 24 hours after painting.
When pretreating the wood with a paintable water-repellent
preservative (a recommended practice), best results are achieved
if it is applied when temperatures are greater than 70 F.
- Don't paint
if it is too humid (between 20% and 80% is ideal). When
water-based paints cure, the water should evaporate as fast
or faster than the solvents. After the water has evaporated,
the paint will shrink to nearly its final shape. As the solvents
evaporate, the paint chemically reacts to form a hard material.
When it is too humid, water cannot evaporate and the solvents
may evaporate first, causing the paint to cure while still
in a water-filled state. You cannot recover from this type
of disaster. Oil-based paints will also fail if conditions
are too humid.
is my paint peeling
to paint old siding
old windows (National
paint problems on historic woodwork (National
a water sealer/preservative before priming
pressure treated wood
mildew from surfaces—Wet and Forget Commercial
Wolmans WOODLIFE® Classic Clear Wood Preservative
and Co's MultiWoodPrime epoxy primer
Epoxy fillers and consolidants
Doctor's Penetrating Epoxy and FILL-IT™ Epoxy Filler
LiquidWood and WoodEpox
Only buy enough epoxy for a year
as it doesn't keep well.
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