Can You Paint Cedar Siding?

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can you paint cedar siding

Many people love the look of cedar siding because of its natural and unique look. For decades whenever cedar siding was used, home builders often stained it to give homes an even more rustic feel. The stain had a look that was similar to paint, but it weathered differently.

The popularity of cedar siding has decreased over the years, however. Today, home builders tend to use cedar siding sparingly. That means most of the cedar wood you see on exteriors probably belongs to older homes and has aged to the point that it likely needs some TLC.

So how do you improve the appearance of a house with old cedar siding? Can you paint cedar siding? The answer is yes, and depending on the age and condition of your cedar, you probably should. Applying paint to cedar siding still allows it to have the rough-cut cedar texture, but the paint will last twice as long as a stain. While paint and stain both look similar on cedar wood, the paint will be more durable and last longer.

Here are a few things to consider if you’re thinking about painting cedar siding.

Existing Look

Before you start any kind of painting project for cedar siding, ask and answer this question: What kind of paint or stain is my home currently? If you don’t know the answer, talk to your painting professionals, who should be able to help you figure it out.

This step is important for a few reasons. First, if the stain is a semi-transparent style and you want to keep that natural look, you must stay with semi-transparent. You can move to a semi-opaque stain that will give you more color and depth while still letting the natural cedar wood graining show through. Semi-opaque is trendy on older cedar because it gives a richer stained look than semi-transparent.

But if the stain is currently solid stain, you can stick with solid stain or move to paint. Solid stain fades away and flakes as it weathers with time. Usually, a solid stain lasts 4 to 8 years depending on exposure of the cedar surface. But paint will last 8 to 10 years in most areas.


Excess moisture brought on by winter snow or rainy seasons can deteriorate your cedar siding over time. It’s the perfect formula for wood rot and other damage. During harsh weather, your cedar wood siding is exposed to the elements, and this takes a toll over time. This is especially true if you live in an area that gets tough weather conditions like strong winds, huge snowfall, or torrential downpours.

Termites and Pests

When old paint or stain has chipped or cracked, insects can more easily find access points to the cedar wood underneath. But when professionals apply a thick coat of paint to your home’s exterior, pests such as termites are deterred from chowing down on the wood.

Age of Wood

Rough-cut cedar is a beautiful product, but it does need maintenance. When cedar siding is maintained properly, it should last a long time, retain its color (no matter what color it is) and hold the real natural wood grain look on the outside of your home. But the key is proper maintenance. If your cedar siding is old and hasn’t been taken care of, it definitely needs some love in the form of exterior paint.


Seeing exposed wood means it’s time to protect it with a fresh coat of paint. You may see heavy wood graining or see fibers in the wood, but they both require the same maintenance.

You may also notice a bowing effect to your cedar trim or siding as it starts showing its age from weathering, sunlight, wind and rain. The bowing sometimes leads to cracks or loose boards. Luckily, professional painters know how to apply nails to get the boards back to flush before applying paint. This prep work is an important part of improving the condition of your cedar siding.


If you don’t know what you’re doing when it comes to home repairs of any sort, a quick fix can easily turn into a much larger or even more dangerous problem. Luckily, Sharper Impressions takes care of all this, giving you peace of mind that your home is being repaired the right way.

Rough-cut cedar should usually receive two coats of high-quality paint or stain in order to protect it. You can trust that your cedar stain will last about eight years when properly prepared and applied by the Sharper Impressions team.

Do you want to see what it looks like when you transform cedar siding with paint? Our customer in Nashville, TN didn’t like how the brown-stained cedar home got lost in the trees. They wanted to brighten up the entire home and make it more welcoming. Take a look!

Professional Cedar Staining & Painting Services

Our expert painters are ready to help you tackle your cedar painting or staining project. Contact us today for your free quote and an expert paint color consultation.