Stain vs. Exterior Paint


Old 03-04-04, 07:42 PM
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Stain vs. Exterior Paint

I have a hundred and fifty year old farmhouse that has painted cedar shake siding. The house hasn't been painted in about seventeen years. I'm not sure what is on the cedar shakes, oil or latex. Three sides of the house are actually in fairly decent shape, a little scraping washing and it'll be ready for covering. The south side of the house exposed to all the weather is really bad. Several of the shakes are curled, loose, and the paint is really bad. A good majority is down to bear wood. I've gone to several paint stores to ask about covering this house and with all the "expert" advise I'm totally confused and the web isn't really helping. First: I'm getting differing opinions about cleaning the house. Some say to pressure wash for best results, some say garden hose with good detergent and a scrub brush. I'm inclined to think pressure wash on the three good sides and hand scrub the south side. What are your thoughts?
Second: The cedar shakes are the splined kind and I haven't found a good way to remove the loose paint other than to use a hand wire brush which will take forever. Anyone have a better way? Third: How can I flatten out the curled shakes, can I just force them down and nail them with extra nails or is there a way to soften them so they don't split or should I just replace the curled shakes. Fourth: This is the big question... I was told by one expert that I shouldn't use oil based primer and then latex on the south side because the wood expands and contracts more than the paint can handle so it will just peel and crack in a couple of years. This person strongly suggested opaque stain because it will "feed" the wood. Other experts have told me that stain doesn't hold up in my part of the country, I live in upstate New York. Paint or Stain? I really could use some help here.
Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-04-04, 09:10 PM
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I'll try to answer these in order.

1. I would use a power washer. If its real grimy, you could use a bucket and sponge mop with TSP or Dirtex, mop it down then power wash it off. The only consideration is if the south side is real bad, be careful the powerwasher doesnt splinter or break off the damaged shingles.

2.I know of no better or quicker way than scraping or burning with a heat gun. There are chemicals too, but all of the above are slow, time consuming and painstaking.

3. I don't know of any way to flatten out the curled shakes. I'll ask some roofers I know, see if they can help.

4. This one's tricky. I think the stain would hold up, but not on previously painted wood. Unless ALL the paint was removed first.
If painting, I would probably go with a latex primer and finish coat, because latex will flex slightly more than oil, once again, only if all the previous paint is removed. The expert had one thing right for sure, no matter what you do, you will probably be doing ongoing maintenance on this particular wall every few years....forever.

Hope that helps.
Old 03-06-04, 08:34 AM
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Thanks so much for the info. This project seems like it is going to be a bear no matter how I do it.
Thanks Again
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