Exterior paint bubbles on Cedar Siding

Old 07-02-07, 04:33 AM
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Exterior paint bubbles on Cedar Siding

Last year I had a contractor stain my cedar-sided house. During the stain process, inadequate time between powerwashing and staining, as well as extensive rain damaged the paint job. With in a couple of months I had extensive problems with bubbling. The contractor's solutions was to scrape the bubbles, apply an oil-based primer and then apply a different stain. Bubbles occurred again.

He tried again recently.. Same solution, scrap, oil-based primer, and stain - except this time he used the original color.

I'm finding out that that the contractors "solution" had almost no chance of select. And in fact the combination of latex stain and oil-based primer has worsened the problem..

So essential now I have the remenants of the previous stain job, on top of that two coats of water damaged stain, in places primer and a different coat of stain, and in other places primer and the other stain..

At this point, we need a long term solution.. Not sure if scape the house and restain is an option - can you scrape stain? Or if I get an agreement to have the house scrapped again, stained, and then possibly a long term agreement to fix reoccurring bubbles?

thanks in advance for your advice!
Old 07-02-07, 05:20 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

What was on the cedar previously?
What brand of coatings did he use?

Depending on color selection, it is often proper procedure [over raw cedar] to use an oil base stain prior to applying a latex solid stain.

It sounds like moisture in the wood is the cause of the problems. While solid stains rarely need scraping, it must be done when it peels/bubbles. I'd pressure wash the siding and scrape, sand or wire brush as needed. I'd then make sure the siding is GOOD AND DRY before proceding with any primer or stain.
Old 07-02-07, 10:24 AM
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I was thinking that it was moisture behind the wood too. Water that gets behind the siding could be coming from a rotton window, an open storm window, bad roof, bad flashing, and a lot of other sources. It could also be from attic frost that melts and runs down exterior walls, or ice damming in the winter that causes water to enter above the siding/soffit level.

Leaky sheathing and vapor barriers could also create moisture problems in the winter if you're in a heating climate, or in the summer if you're in a cooling climate.

Power washing houses and painting them too soon is also a problem that traps excess moisture behind siding, which doesn't quickly dry out. But I'm suprised you mention "stain" and bubbling, since stains aren't usually thick enough to bubble, unless maybe it was painted in the hot sun... or given 2 coats, which I don't think is highly recommended with any solid color stain. If the stain was sprayed without being backrolled or brushed, that could also lead to some problems with adhesion.
Old 07-05-07, 12:43 PM
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Thanks for the responses!!!

We have a 3300 square ft house and the bubbling is appearing everywhere - so the source is something large (not a bad flashing, etc..).

A couple of points:

- The house was originally stained
- The contractor put on two coats of stains (after powerwashing) last July. I live in a cold weather climate, but warm in summers. In fact it was I think in the 90's when he originally stained. I live in a wooded area as well. So he finished powerwashing one afternoon and began painted the next morning.. Mix in a couple of large rain storms and it is water issue!
- Bubbling was in full force by late summer
- I forget the original brand of stain, but the new stain is Behr.

Thanks again for your input.. I suppose I have three options to get the issue fixed then.. My previous two ideas and the third, have them do the job over and scrape / wire brush where needed..

Now on to posting my next issue!

- Chris

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