removing peeling paint from cedar shingle siding

Old 07-27-07, 12:22 PM
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Question removing peeling paint from cedar shingle siding

Hi All - I'm in the process of trying to prep my home to repaint it (1800 sq craftsman style bungalow - one story with an attic bedroom that has a medium sized dormer). The siding is a 12" vertical cedar shingle. The existing paint on most of the south and east sides is very cracked and quite a bit of peeling. So my first step was to pressure wash to try to remove this portion of bad existing paint. It won't come off. So I did what I know I am not supposed to and moved in close with the pressure washer on one area and the paint cracked more but still will not come off. Holding the pressure washer against a single spot for 2 minutes or longer it finally came off (and yes gouged the wood) so then I tried a wire brush - it didn't do anything and also seemed more prone to damage the wood - then I tried a steel brush, brass brush and nylon brush and nothing. However, if I can get my fingers on a peeled portion and pull it pulls right off. If you look at the back of the peeled off portion it is the same color as the natural wood as if it is peeling up a micro layer of the siding itself. The siding looks like it is in fine condition. I took a peeled of strip to Home Depot and they said the pressure washer should have easily taken the bad paint off and maybe the previous owners used an oil based stain or sealer that was applied with a laytex layer of paint over the top and the two bonded together with the wood. So far using the very corner of a scraper (or a butter knife) I can get into one of the grooves and lift up an edge and peel but in some cases it is coming off 1/2 inch at a time. Advise I have gotten so far is 1) only remove the really loose stuff and just paint over it 2) replace the siding 3) just keep scraping because that bad paint must come off before you repaint or it will just peel again and scraping is your only option and 4) bulldoze the house and start over. Please please help I am running out of short Seattle rainless summer and I don't know what to.
Old 07-28-07, 04:44 AM
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Welcome to the diy forums!

option #4 - bull doze the house sounds kind of drastic

Don't over use the pressure washer! The correct procedure is to wash the siding - use detergent or bleach if needed - and then scrape. If you feel that scraping alone isn't adequate, use a sander to remove more. Then use a good exterior oil base primer and top coat with 1-2 coats of latex house paint.

When paint is stuck as well as you say there shouldn't be a problem with painting over it. Sure it will fail at some point but probably no sooner than your siding will need to be repainted anyway.

You are better off buying your paint at a real paint store. They sell better coatings and have more experinced help than the big box stores = better advice.
Old 07-28-07, 01:34 PM
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Marksr is correct with his comments. Good advice. Like he said use a good primer. Use a paint dealer and when I say good primer, I mean the $20 + a gallon stuff. Also use the $20+ gallon paint. Cedar is a funy creature. It does not always react the same. It also has chemicals in it that will react differently in different locations. Just think about this. Your siding did not all come from the same tree, so you may have areas that react differently. It is the nature of the beast. Good Luck

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