Best way to prepare cedar siding for re-stain

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Old 02-21-15, 12:49 PM
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Best way to prepare cedar siding for re-stain

I'm going to be re-staining my siding this spring, and was curious how to prepare the spots that are peeling and / or bubbling. It seems like scraping might be too much for a soft wood like cedar.

It looks like the previous staining was a horse**** job.







 
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Old 02-21-15, 04:23 PM
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That's going to one huge job trying to scrape and sand all that back down to bare wood.
For it to be that bad and bubbling makes me think there's something going on behind siding that's causing the issue.
Bubbling is almost always caused from moisture behind it pushing it off the surface.
May want to do a moisture check before starting.
 
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Old 02-21-15, 05:17 PM
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How old is the existing stain job? How old is the house? It's unusual for stain to peel and I don't know that I've ever seen it bubble. Stain can crack and peel when it's way past it's prime but generally it just wears away.

It almost looks like it was applied too heavy in poor weather conditions [either too hot causing it to dry too fast and not suck in or too cold where it never developed a bond with the wood]

I'd start by scraping and pressure washing the siding, then analyze what needs to be done next.
 
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Old 03-27-15, 09:12 PM
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Wow... long delay on my part.

I have no idea when the job was done... we moved in 3 years ago and they said it was "done recently"... yeah right.

Is pressure washing definitely necessary? Is there anything I could do with a garden hose?
 
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Old 03-28-15, 05:20 AM
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Cleaning can be done with garden hose but a PWer would aid in removing the peeling stain. You can rent one at most rental places and some paint stores. The main thing is to remove all the loose stain, scraping and sanding will also work.

I normally use a bleach/water solution applied with a pump up garden sprayer to clean the house [especially in the south where we get a lot of mildew] Adding TSP to the mix can be helpful especially when the existing coating has a lot of sheen. I'll wet the siding, spray on the cleaner and let it set but not dry and the rinse with my PWer [water hose will also work]
 
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Old 03-28-15, 08:41 AM
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I guess I always assumed a pressure-washer would cut into the cedar, since it's a soft wood, and that any cleaning that could be accomplished would be diminished by the fact that you have to go easy on it. There's a Ryobi electric one at HD for $160, has hundreds of good reviews, maybe I'll just pick that up. Maybe it will help in prepping my deck too.
 
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Old 03-28-15, 08:51 AM
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How much pressure the washer puts out, what tip is used and how close you get to the substrate with the tip goes a long ways towards whether or not you will damage it. Keeping your eyes open and brain engaged helps a lot! After you get a PWer you'll likely find many used for it. Personally I don't care for electric PWers [water and elec don't mix] but there are many that do. An electric PWer won't have as much power as a gas operated one.
 
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Old 03-30-15, 09:06 AM
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I don’t have the stain that was previously used on the house, so I’m going to just try and match it as best I can, it looks to be a semi-transparent.

Anyone have any recommendations for a quality brand of stain that’s going to last?

Also, can you just add bleach to the pressure-washer detergent tank? Or should 50/50 bleach be added?
 
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Old 03-30-15, 12:20 PM
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I never use the siphon feature on a PWer. I'm not convinced that the cleaning agents are safe for the pump and you get better control of the cleaner's application when using a pump up garden sprayer.

Both SWP and B.Moore have good siding stains [along with other brands] but you really need to clean your siding first to make sure that it will still be a good candidate for semi-transparent. You can make subtle color changes with semi-transparent stains so it doesn't need to be a perfect match.
 
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Old 03-31-15, 07:23 AM
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IMO the pressure washer would be mandatory for this job. Some penetrating stains recommend PW even on brand-new wood to open the pores and allow the finish to bond with the wood.
 
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Old 04-04-15, 12:21 PM
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Just washed the backside of my house. Used the bug sprayer tank. 1.5 gal water, 1.5 qt bleach, 2 cups TSP. Pressure washed it right after. Then garden hosed it after that. Lots of dark brown colored liquid came off, almost like the color of the stain. Some tiny spots got down to bare wood, others it just cleaned. Since the finish is far from uniform at this point, I think I'm going to use a semi-solid to do this. I love seeing some grain, but I'm afraid all these imperfections will show up.
 
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Old 04-04-15, 05:06 PM
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The wood doesn't have to be perfect for you to use semi-transparent stain BUT I can't see your house from here. Once you get done with the cleaning you'll be in a better position to determine what type of stain would be best. If you are lucky, you might be able to reclean or sand a few areas to make it suitable for semi-transparent, If not, solid stain will hide a multitude of sins.
 
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Old 04-11-15, 09:50 AM
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Here's some pics after I washed the back and the deck...









 
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Old 04-11-15, 09:54 AM
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The siding would be iffy using a semi-transparent stain, the deck would need a solid stain.
 
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Old 04-11-15, 10:53 AM
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Is using semi-transparent stuff a one-time thing? And then each subsequent time you go over it, it has to be semi-solid or solid?
 
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Old 04-11-15, 01:03 PM
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I would prime with oil based and paint it.
 
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Old 04-11-15, 04:06 PM
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Normally you can recoat semi-transparent with the same or similar color semi-transparent stain. The problem you have is the stain has deteriorated so bad in spots that a fresh coat of semi-transparent might not hide it .... may not look uniform when you are finished.
 
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Old 04-22-15, 05:13 PM
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Does the fact that if I use the pressure washer on the house and stain still comes off mean that the surface is not good enough to put new stain on? I can't imagine people strip the whole house when they re-stain... or do they?
 
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Old 04-23-15, 04:17 AM
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Hard to say without being there to inspect it. If enough pressure is used you can strip off most any coating from the siding BUT that isn't recommended as too much pressure can damage the wood! You do want to remove any stain that doesn't have a good bond with the underlying wood.
 
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Old 04-23-15, 06:53 AM
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Nothing comes off when I try and pressure wash the side that faces the sun. But it's almost like on the back (where I'm currently working) they stained over wood that was either wet or dirty or somehow not prepped right.
 
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Old 04-23-15, 07:48 AM
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As long as the PWer isn't chewing up the wood [or making it fuzzy], it's ok to strip paint/stain with it. I agree it's either poor prep or maybe the sunny side was recoated more recently .... the paint exposed to more weather should fail before stain exposed to less weather.
 
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Old 04-23-15, 12:49 PM
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By 'weather' do you mean sun, or rain? My thinking was that since the sunny side had sun, the wood was always dry and therefore the stain adhered correctly.

I'm using an 1800 psi washer, with one of those rotating nozzles. Would you say that if I can get close enough to the siding without damaging it, but to also strip stain off, then that stain should come off? I have some boards that I can get close enough without damaging, and the stain stays on; these boards I would say are probably OK to stain over. I'm just trying to gauge what is OK to leave on and what isn't; this is what's been the hardest thing for me. Took me awhile to land on a color but I'm going with a semi-solid Arborcoat.
 

Last edited by slade8200; 04-23-15 at 02:21 PM.
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Old 04-23-15, 03:11 PM
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Weather means sun, rain, snow, etc.
It's so easy to damage siding with a pressure washer I'm hesitant to recommend using one that way but generally any stain that is easily removed is best removed since it doesn't have a great bond with the wood or was a cheap stain to start with. In a perfect world you'd remove all the old stain and start fresh but generally it isn't worth that much effort. As long as you are satisfied that the new stain won't have adhesion issues due to the underlying stain - it's fine to apply the new stain over it.
 
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