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tommyg44 08-15-2013 08:36 AM

staining siding question
I just purchased a new home that has cedar siding. It is due for a new coat of stain, some areas are still good, but others that got more sun need attention sooner. My questions are what is the easiest and fastest way to prep the wood for a new coat, I have a power washer and have a fair amount of experience painting, when I was younger I made a extra money doing it on the side. My goal is to do 2 sides before winter and do the other 10 sides next year. Its all single story with some valted ceilings so nothing over 15ft,but house is 3000sq ft so I have a lot of work ahead of me. I will also re-caulk all seams. Another question is how can I tell if it was water or oil based stain? thanks for any input, tom

user1007 08-15-2013 09:04 AM

Is it semi-transparent, semi-solid, or solid stain on it now? This may determine what cleaning and conditioning product you should use. Does it just need cleaning or is there power shaving, scraping and sanding really called for in this situation?

When you mention re-caulking, you mean vertical seams between boards right? You do not want to caulk the undersides of siding. As one member of this forum mentioned, think of the siding like fish gills that need to breathe.

I have mentioned before I think we jump to using pressure washers too often but it will probably work in this instance. Just remember cedar is fairly soft and you can carve it up badly with too much pressure and too concentrated a tip. You also want to be careful atomizing some cleaners through a washer. Make sure you do not force water up under the siding too.

For no particular reason justifiable anymore I suppose, I always liked solvent based semi-transparent stains and even semi-solid stains because I thought they penetrated better. With the modern acrylics, I am not so sure and my first choice for a solid stain would be Sherwin Williams Waterbased Acrylic Woodscapes without question.

Can you still get solvent based stains where you are? You might update your profile with basic geographic information so we know where you are. It sometimes effects recommendations.

tommyg44 08-15-2013 10:07 AM

thanks for reply, Iam pretty sure its a semi transparent, Iam thinking it might be a water based, by the way its peeking, and flaking in some areas. I would only re caulk along horizontial seems, not all of the siding boards. I live in boyne city Michigan, hot summers(not this year) and cold winters. I do prefer oil based stains, seems to soak in better not sit on the surface. Would bleach and water be a good cleaner? I need to be careful cleaning I have 1500sq ft of freshly stained deck to be careful of. Previsious owner had it done before he put it up for sale He used thompsons water seal oil based.

user1007 08-15-2013 10:26 AM

Thompson's water seal is evil so I am suspect of the stain. Good news is it seldom hold out for more than a season.

In any event, you never want to atomize things like ammonia or chlorine through a power washer anyhow. Doing so is a good way to burn lung or cornea tissue just to start. You may need to invest in a pump type garden sprayer.

As for what to use? I would go to the paint store and get the cedar cleaning and conditioning series recommended. Or use the search engine on this site for recommendations. Usually the best are two part. One to do the work the other to stop and neutralize the chemical reaction.

A semi-transparent should have soaked into the wood grain so I wonder if you have a semi-solid stain if you are seeing flaking. No matter. What do you think it will take to cover and blend what discoloration you might have and what is still sticking/showing with what is not? You may have to step up to a semi-solid for this purpose alone? As you step up from semi-transparent to semi-solid you leave more pigment on the surface.

I think there is a lot to be said for acrylic products as you start leaving pigment on the surface. I still prefer penetrating oil stains for truly semi-transparent applications.

Obviously you are planning on quality products for this. Behr gets ripped to shreds for its stain products faster than for its paint.

tommyg44 08-15-2013 02:06 PM

I think your right about going with a semi solid. Would it hide more of the inconsistencies that its going to have without stripping it to bare wood. I just power washed a section with just water and it removed mildew and cleaned it pretty good. So you think it would be best to go with an water based stain and maybe a shade darker, to keep a uniformed color? Oil based would hide less and wouldn't soak in with at least 70% of stain still on the wood? I did notice a lot of boards are loose so I need to re nail them. Also should I caulk the boards where it meets the trim? There not and most are a tight fit. Thanks for your help.

user1007 08-15-2013 02:15 PM

Picking the color to blend is up to you and depends on how dark you want to go. If you like what you have in general, I would tend to stay lighter if it works for you and if the lighter pick will blend.

Remember, as you add pigment to sit on the surface, you do start to lose the look of the original grain. You will still retain texture.

As for caulking between trim and siding. Always tricky but both expand and contract at different rates so if they windows are properly flashed, water is not getting to and rotting the trim, I would be tempted not to caulk and especially so if the siding fits reasonably tight.

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