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SidingHell 05-18-2010 06:36 PM

Finish failure
My house was last painted 7 years ago using a Cabot solid stain. It has utterly failed on 3 of the 4 sides (flaking, peeling and cracking evident in at least 75% of the 3 failed sides). The house was built in 1972-1973 and the exterior is red cedar shingles (I believe #1 shingles). The shingles were originally stained after the house was built, but there have been several paint and stain jobs since then (5 or 6 I believe - the house has been in my family since it was built).

Several reputable painting contractors have looked at the job. I've also spoken with a very knowledgeable technical support representative from a major coating company, The Boston Globe's "Handyman on Call" Peter Hotton, a chemist at the US Forest Products lab, 2 cedar siding vendors and several knowledgeable paint store employees.

The coating company rep, Peter Hotton and chemist told me (job site as yet unseen) that the best method to correct the coating failure and prevent subsequent failure is to strip the house entirely, apply wood brightener and finish with 1 coat of semi-transparent stain. One of the painting contractors I called (one of the best ones in the Boston area) gave me a price on this scope of work of $15,000 to $20,000. However, he said that he'd use a solid stain because a semi-transparent stain will not look good on the wood after it's stripped. I agree 100% with him, but am hesitant because Peter Hotton, the coating company rep and the chemist warned me that anything beyond a semi-transparent stain will develop a film that could again be subject to flaking and peeling. We tested a green chemical stripper and it failed - nearly useless. I did a quick lead test on the siding and the result indicates that it's lead-free. Consequently, the painting contractor said that he and his crew would mechanically strip the paint. He also said that using methylene chloride or sodium hydroxide chemical stripper instead of mechanical stripping wouldn't reduce his price much.

I spoke with 2 other contractors who have no interest in entirely stripping the house. They said that they would scrape away any peeling or flaking paint, spot prime and apply two coats of finish paint. One of them quoted me approximately $10K and the other $7k. The first contractor I mentioned above quoted me $10k for this scope of work (vs. doing a 100% strip job). I have reservations about going this route also, because that was the scope of work the last time around and it led to finish failure. A few of the contractors and 1 of the paint store employees mentioned a product called Mad Dog Primer that is supposed to work well and prolong the life of a paint job.

The cedar siding company reps I spoke with (along with the chemist) told me (again, site unseen) that you can't even buy the quality of cedar shingles I have on my house anymore. A very good GC with a great reputation told me to go the painting route as well, but quoted me a price of $20,000 to $24,000 for extra grade, kiln-dried R&R one-coat oil-dipped white cedar shingles.

So that's where I am. Do I go the "conventional" painting route for $7k to $10k, do a 100% strip job with a solid or semi stain finish for $15k to $20k or reshingle the house with factory-stained shingles for $20k to $24k? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated (regarding possibility or probability of another failure if I go the conventional route or any of my other options).



Scuba_Dave 05-18-2010 06:39 PM

Moved to Off topic since not DIY topic

There is nothing in the post about DIY, only asking about hiring people to do the work

SidingHell 05-18-2010 06:44 PM

Well, Dave, it actually IS a possible DIY project if I can save enough dough by doing it on my own. Please move this posting back to where it belongs.

Itsdanf 05-19-2010 11:28 PM


Originally Posted by SidingHell (Post 443833)
Well, Dave, it actually IS a possible DIY project if I can save enough dough by doing it on my own. Please move this posting back to where it belongs.

Don't know why I'm sticking my nose here, but....

.....I read the original post, and saw NOTHING indicating that a DIY option was on the table. Looks like Dave was right to move the post. Your response to him was, IMO, disingenuous and rude.

Jus sayin.

Regarding the original question: Hard to recommend which option (paint, strip/stain, re-side) to recommend without seeing the house. Sight-unseen, I'd tend toward the re-side option, since paint probably would be a disappointment, and strip/stain might not turn out well either. With a re-side, you see what's going up first, and can better-judge the outcome.

SidingHell 05-20-2010 01:56 PM

Finish Failure
True, there was no mention of a DIY possibility in my original post, but that's an option that I have to consider when I'm staring at a possible $20k+ tab (I've painted the house on my own before and it took over 4 months). So please don't misconstrue my response to Dave as either disingenuous or rude.

In any case, I've spoken with at least a dozen extremely knowledgeable pros and don't have a consensus of opinion regarding the appropriate route to take.

tpolk 05-20-2010 02:00 PM

i say you reisde it yourself and let us know if the original charge was resonable

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