Can You Paint Cedar Siding? What You Need to Know

You want your home’s exterior to look clean and well-kept, so if your cedar siding is looking a bit worn, you may be wondering what your options are for giving it a facelift. Whether your once-glorious siding is looking a little worse for wear, or you just want to try something new, painting your cedar siding can be a great way to give your home a like-new appearance without reinstalling your entire exterior siding. We’ve put together a list of everything you need to know about the basics of cedar siding and how to paint it successfully.

Simon Berger/pexels

Why cedar siding is so popular

Cedar siding gives your home a timeless and classic appearance that won’t go out of style. With several different varieties to choose from, including red cedar and white cedar, your siding will match your style perfectly. Not only is it beautiful, but cedar siding also creates excellent heat and sound insulation, so your home is more energy-efficient and peaceful.

Environmentally friendly

If you’d love to keep your home as green as possible, cedar siding is an excellent choice for your exterior. It’s completely biodegradable, and cedar trees are among the fastest-growing trees, so you can be sure your siding hasn’t contributed to deforestation.

Natural resistance

Aside from its aesthetic appeal and environmental benefits, cedar siding also has qualities that will benefit you when it comes to maintaining your home’s exterior. Cedar has a natural ability to resist warping, swelling, rotting, and decay, so you will find that you need to replace it far less often than you would with other types of wood siding. It also naturally protects itself from insects like termites, and prevents infestations and attacks.

Wooden table painted light brown
Witthaya lOvE/Shutterstock

How to paint cedar siding

When painting cedar siding, the prepping process is vital. Cutting corners or skipping steps during your prepping could lead to the paint adhering poorly or even damaged cedar siding. It’s painstaking, but your paint job will last for years to come if you are diligent in your prep work.

Examine your cedar siding

Before diving in, you’ll want to take a close look at your cedar siding and check for some specific types of damage. Mold and mildew will need to be cleaned and removed before painting, and you’ll need to determine if there is any excessive peeling on the previous coat of paint.

If the existing paint on your cedar siding is peeling, it’s probably due to improper priming or paint, or improper preparation. It is possible to re-paint peeling siding, but be aware that the process for prepping cedar that has peeling paint is fairly labor-intensive. It is not as simple as just slapping a new coat of paint up.

Power wash, scrape, and sand

If the existing paint is especially old and peeling, you’ll need to remove all of the paint in its entirety before moving on in the process. You can use a power washer to get the majority of the old paint off, and in instances where mold or mildew is present, you can use a siding cleaner in conjunction with the power washer, which will remove mold and mildew easily.

Now, it’s time to scrape and sand. Using a paint scraper and sander, scrape off any paint that the power washer could not remove. This will be a lengthy process, and it will require a lot of exertion, but you’ll thank us when your new paint job is fit to last.


Natural woods like cedar must be primed before they are painted, or the paint will have trouble adhering. Cedar is notorious for its tannins — the sap that seeps through the paint — and this seeping can lead to ugly stains that expose themselves even through layers of paint. Use an oil primer that is ideal for cedar or a latex-based paint that contains stain-blocking properties. The primer will trap in the tannins and prevent such stains from appearing.

Choose the best paint for the job

The type of paint you use on your cedar siding needs to protect it from weathering and other damages. Acrylic-based paint is recommended when painting cedar siding as it looks great and offers the protection the natural wood needs. Acrylic paint also has strong adhesion abilities and is even mildew-resistant, making it a perfect fit.

Start with simple strokes

When it’s time to start painting, we recommend hand-brushing the paint onto the siding, rather than spraying or rolling the paint. Because cedar is so porous, it requires a larger amount of paint to ensure full coverage, and this is most often achieved by hand-brushing.

House with blue wooden siding
Josh Hartley/Pexels

If your once-gorgeous cedar siding is looking drab, weathered, or damaged, or you’re just looking to give your home a facelift, painting your cedar siding is a creative way to add beauty to your home’s exterior. While the prepping process for painting cedar is vigorous, it’s also necessary to ensure excellent adhesion and a pristine finish. Tackle your cedar-painting project today to restore your home’s classic exterior to its former glory, and enjoy the beauty and benefits of your cedar siding for years to come.

Editors’ Recommendations