How to Repaint Wooden Clapboard Siding

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What You'll Need
Sandpaper or orbital sander
Hand scraper
Power washer
Cleaning solution
4-5 inch wide paint brushes

Whether you're tired of looking at peeling paint or you're ready to spruce up your home with new color, reviving your wooden clapboard siding could be a great project for you to take on.

This type of exterior covering, also known as bevel siding, lap siding or weatherboard, is made from wedge-shaped boards that overlap each other. This overlapping design allows the natural material to expand and contract with changes in weather. It also encourages rain and snow to run off the side of the structure, preventing water damage.

Most experts agree that an exterior paint job usually lasts five to seven years, so if you know you've not touched up your home in more than five years, now may be the right time to do so.

Step 1 - Choose Your Products

With so many colors and types of finish available for sprucing up your weatherboard, one of the most difficult parts of this process is understanding which paint is best for your needs and preferences.

Oil-based vs. Water-based Paints and Primers

Many industry professionals and DIY veterans debate about whether oil-based or water-based products are better for exterior jobs. The truth is, the choice comes down to your structural needs and taste preferences.

Research done at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Products Laboratory, showed that water-based options expand and contract with the wooden clapboard siding, while oil-based products do not. Additionally, oil-based products must be cleaned with mineral spirits, while water-based colors can be cleaned with simple soap and water. Water-based products are also gentler on the environment because they are lower in volatile organic compounds.

However, it is important to note that if your siding has multiple layers of oil-based color from previous paint jobs, it's best to stick with oil-based products moving forward. Alternatively, if your home has water-based product or minimal layers of oil-based color, it is best to use a water-based option moving forward.

Cost and Quality

Many homeowners who choose to refinish their bevel siding decide to buy the best quality paint available on the market, as they are already saving money on labor costs by doing the job themselves. The premium line from any manufacturer will almost always cover existing color better and last longer than less-expensive products.

Choosing a Color

Choosing paint colors for your wooden clapboard siding is one of the more exciting parts of home improvement. From traditional to contemporary options, most home improvement stores have a variety of paint books and brochures outlining available colors and finishes. Some will even show how certain colors work well together in order to provide insight for homeowners looking to update shudders, doors, and window frames as well. Take your time deciding which colors excite you most because this project is expected to last for the next five to seven years at minimum.

Step 2 – Prep Your Siding

The first step in repainting your wooden clapboard siding is preparing the surfa

The first step in repainting your wooden clapboard siding is preparing the surface by identifying any problem areas. To do so, you need to walk around the perimeter of your house and look for any damaged pieces or spots where color is peeling. In addition to peeling, damaged slats will feel soft when pressed, so be sure to feel around your home's exterior to find problem areas. These compromised timber pieces should be replaced immediately to ensure the damage or rot doesn't spread.

After replacing the damaged planks, any peeling paint will need to be gently scraped and lightly sanded, either by hand or by using an electric orbital sander. However, you should take care when sanding, as any soft or uneven spots will show through the finish when the job is completed.

After you've replaced the rotten timber and have sanded the areas with chips or bubbles, you will need to power wash the entire structure using a mild cleaning solution. There are solutions made specifically for power washing weatherboard, which will not only remove dirt, but also remove any mildew that may have accumulated. It is important not to skip this step, as sanding will often result in accumulated sawdust, which will need to be washed away before painting. Be sure to monitor the intensity of your washer as you complete this step because some power washers are strong enough to remove existing color from the structure.

Step 3 – Prime Your Exterior

Wait one or two days for the bevel siding of your home to dry out before applying primer. Be sure to prime any new pieces of lumber, bare areas, or sanded down areas. Make sure to follow the directions on the primer regarding outdoor temperature and humidity. Also, be sure that you have several days of clear weather forecast in order to give the primer a chance to fully dry.

To effectively apply primer, use a paint brush and apply in a left to right, right to left sweeping motion. Your brush size is dependent upon the size of your siding. However, a four to five inch wide brush usually works best.

Step 4 – Paint Your Wooden Clapboard Siding

When the primer has had a chance to dry, you can start adding your preferred col

When the primer has had a chance to dry, you can start adding your preferred color to the wooden clapboard siding. Again, be sure to follow the directions on your paint can regarding outdoor temperature and humidity. At this point, you may also want to lay out tarps to protect any vegetation or property surrounding your house.

When applying finish to lap siding, start at the top of your structure and work your way down in sections using a four to five inch brush based on the size of your planks. You'll want to use the same left to right, right to left sweeping motion as you did with the primer.

Most exterior paint manufacturers recommend two coats, so once the first coat has dried, apply a second coat. This could mean waiting overnight to ensure the first coat is completely dry.