What type of wood is our siding?


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Old 08-28-14, 10:23 AM
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What type of wood is our siding?

See pictures below. We're trying to identify the type of wood and finish for the siding on the front of our house. We want to paint it, and so we're trying to figure out how to prep it. It's a fairly light-weight wood. The surface appears to have been intentionally charred or something and it crumbles pretty easily when rubbing a finger over it. (last picture shows all of the pieces that fell after doing this)

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  #2  
Old 08-28-14, 12:58 PM
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cedar? looks like the paint is peeling off. get a nice paint scraper and scrape off all of the loose paint.

you might even scrape it with a heat gun.

google "how to scrape paint off wood"
 
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Old 08-28-14, 02:42 PM
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Cedar. It does look like charring rather than paint, but could be a combination. Not sure how you would go about getting it all off except for a scraper or random orbit sander. Lotta work for sure!
 
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Old 08-28-14, 03:15 PM
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I wonder if the cedar was stained with creosote ??
 
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Old 08-28-14, 03:44 PM
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It does look like charring rather than paint
I dunno, I have some wood posts and trim that I stupidly didn't prime and it failed looking exactly like that except for the color. The paint was more green, but the texture is identical. At least the first pic, the 3rd does look like some sort of scorching. Is there a window that reflects on the area some parts of the day?

A wide scraper would make pretty short work of it, but depending on the area, yeah, could be a lot of work.
 
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Old 08-28-14, 03:45 PM
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Aaah. Good catch Mark. Colder climates may have dictated such a treatment since paint would probably not last as long. Interesting.
 
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Old 08-28-14, 06:28 PM
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Whatever the top surface is it's fairly uniform in color across the front of the house. Charring or creosote seem to be the most likely possibilities I think. I've tried scraping it with a paint scraper and also a wire brush. The wire brush seems to be more effective.

Next set of questions:
-What type of paint would you recommend for this wood? I'm planning to spray it on, in case that matters.
-Do I need to remove all of the top layer before painting? I'm hoping I don't. I'm hoping I can just remove the loose material. After scraping a few pieces this evening I discovered that not all of the dark top layer is loose. In some sections the wire brush took 90%+ of the dark layer off. In other sections, not even 50%.
-Does the answer to the previous question depend on whether the top surface is charred or creosote?
 
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Old 08-28-14, 08:16 PM
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For some reason I keep thinking it looks like someone put varnish on it, which has crackled and turned a weird burnt color. Notice the bed moulding (a small style or crown mldg) along the top... as if it was all stained and varnished at one point in time. Plain varnish would not hold up to the weather well and would do strange things as it weathered. (crackling / darkening of the wood) Or maybe it was a tinted poly? At any rate, it probably wasn't an exterior finish.
 
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Old 08-29-14, 04:00 AM
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I'd both wash and scrape or wire brush the wood and then use an exterior oil base primer. That should insure both good adhesion and prevent any bleed thru on the top coat of latex. When spraying rough siding it's best to either back brush or back roll the paint to work it into the wood.
 
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Old 08-29-14, 04:07 AM
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Which direction does this face? Are the other faces of the house the same material and do they show the same condition? Do you know the age of house and does this seem to be original material or a remodel?

My wild guess is that it may be cedar that was coated with a clear or pigmented varnish which has weathered severely thus producing the alligator end finish.
 
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Old 08-29-14, 06:56 AM
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This siding faces west, except for one small section under a porch roof that faces south. The other sides of the house are vinyl siding. The house was built in the late 60's. I think this is original material but not sure. I know it's been there and looking roughly the same for at least the last 15 years.
 
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Old 08-29-14, 10:41 AM
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Thought I'd post a few pics of what it looks like after taking a wire brush to it.

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Old 08-29-14, 10:48 AM
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Appears to be cleaning up nicely, have you tried washing a section with a bleach/water solution?
 
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Old 08-29-14, 10:50 AM
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Appears to be cleaning up nicely, have you tried washing a section with a bleach/water solution?
I haven't. I'll try that tonight.
 
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Old 08-30-14, 02:20 PM
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We wire brushed the rest of this siding today. Some of it hardly looks any different - mainly the areas that haven't received much sun, like this section here.

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I pried up one of the top layer pieces partway to look behind it, and what I discovered I think lends some credence to the idea of this being an old stain/varnish job. Notice the thin stain-only strip at the top of the picture. I think the bare wood color behind the top layer also indicates that the bottom layer isn't cedar? Doesn't unfinished cedar always have a reddish tint to it?

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Old 08-30-14, 02:33 PM
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The top pics looks like a poly/varnish based stain I don't recommend using them because they don't weather well. I don't know if they are still on the market or not.

Most of the cedar that I've seen used on the exterior of houses is western cedar, it comes in various colors but isn't red like the aromatic cedar is.

You said in post #1 that you want to paint the siding, if so, I'd wash the house down with a TSP solution [add bleach if there is mildew] rinse well, wire brush were needed and apply a coat of oil base exterior wood primer. When dry you can top coat with your choice of latex house paint.
 
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Old 08-31-14, 05:19 PM
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Ok, I'm washing it down with TSP/water tonight. Would CoverStain be appropriate for the oil-based exterior primer? If not, what would you recommend?
 
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Old 09-01-14, 05:08 AM
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Most any exterior oil base primer will work and Zinnser's Cover Stain should be ok but I'd use an exterior oil base wood primer.
 
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Old 09-01-14, 10:01 AM
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Ah - somehow I was missing the distinction between an "exterior oil-based primer" and an "exterior oil-based wood primer." Ok, there's a Sherwin Williams store a few miles from our house and I see they carry an exterior oil-based wood primer, so I'll give that a try.
 
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Old 09-01-14, 10:05 AM
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SWP's A-100 exterior oil base primer is what I'd use. Exterior wood primers typically take longer to dry which allows them to bond better with the wood.
 
 

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