Hello I know this is an old thread but I have a similar situation.
I just bought a house built in 1987 with cedar siding. It is a contemporary style home with a solid grey staning that is peeling.
1)What is the best way to prep this? I have been told I cant get the peeling stain off with a pressure washer on a very low setting? But I have also read this can damage the wood.
2)I want to apply semi solid or solid stain roughly the same color without it peeling in the future. I figured I will test a section with semi solid and see if it looks OK. If not I will go with a solid stain. WHat is my best bet (brand also Oil vs Acrylic)?
3)Should I use a mildew cleaner ahead of time?
The best way to remove the peeling is to sand it off. It is MUCH better than just pressure washing UNLESS the cedar wood is rough sawn, which means you can ONLY use a pressure washer. So, the steps taken to prep is:
1. Pressure Wash on LOW or use a regular hose to remove any dust, spider webs, dirt, ect. If the wood is smooth, and you're gonna sand, you still must pressure wash BEFORE you sand because you must clean the surface first. Do not sand then pressure wash, that is bad. Water raises the grain of the wood, so it's pointless to sand first than pressure wash. Pressure wash FIRST! And then wait at LEST TWO DAYS for the wood to dry before you stain! You will not need to bleach/clean the wood, because it's gonna be less work to go with a solid oil stain, which will hide that. And yes, OIL penetrates better into wood, than an acrylic, ESPECIALLY WOODS THAT PRODUCE TANNIN ACIDS such as Redwood or Cedar (because oil seals that back, not acrylic). IF YOU SAND, be VERY CAREFUL, where a dust mask. Cedar will stay in your lungs forever, and be sure to shower before you handle any reptiles (if you own any, I own a snake, cedar is poison to reptiles)
2. If the wood is rough sawn, then pressure wash on a little higher setting to remove flakes, BUT be careful not to mess up the wood. You can carve it real good. IF THE WOOD is smooth, then the best way to get rid of peeling is to sand with a palm sander (be careful, cedar wood is soft, do not use a grinder, unless you have a LOT of experience). IF you go with a semi solid, you will have to do A LOT OF SANDING!!!! I would stick with a SOLID OIL STAIN by Benjamin Moore. Plus, by using a solid oil stain, you only need to lightly sand everywhere if possible, and be sure to sand the areas that are peeling, feather those out.When you apply it, BE SURE to either spray AND back brush WITH A DECENT CHINA BRISTLE brush, OR JUST BRUSH it with the same brush. Be sure to NOT APPLY when it's hot and the sun is beating directly on the siding, cooking it. Wait until it's shady on the side you're gonna stain. Corona and Purdy make good brushes, and you may want a three or four inch brush, if you're gonna brush siding. VERY IMPORTANT AS WELL, APPLY ONLY ONE COAT for a solid oil stain. One coat is enough. Less is more with stain, do not over apply, or it WILL peel, which defeats the purpose of a stain. So spray and back brush with a china bristle brush, one coat only in the shade. Oh, and one last thing, before you apply your first coat, take your brush and brush in any areas that are raw wood ONLY first, before you apply the first coat. That way you do not get highs and lows, everything will look uniform. Good luck, here's what I would use:
Use paint thinner or oderless paint thinner to clean up and use a roller ONLY IF THE WOOD IS ROUGH SAWN (try to use a lambswool roller). If the wood is smooth, then you must use a brush. If you're gonna spray, back roll if wood is rough sawn, back brush if wood is smooth.
If this is confusing to you, PM me and I'll give you my number. You can call me, and I'll go over it with you on the phone. Or give me your number, I have magic jack, so i can call free anywhere in the US.