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Question DetailsAsked on 7/10/2014

what is the best paint for cedar shingles?

My house has cedar shingles that bubble and peel every year. What is the best paint that lasts long?

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1 Answer


Reason they are blistering is paint over exterior porous wood is generally a bad idea. The problem is that there are always microcracks and pinholes in the paint, so water flows in through those openings and saturates the wood. With shingles it is much worse because water runs and wicks in under the shingles from each gap between shingles and from the exposed ends, too. However, when it tries to evaporate from the surface it reaches the paint layer, which is basically impervious to water vapor and water vapor cannot escape in significant quantities from the openings it came in through, so it condenses on the underside of the paint, causing blistering and peeling. In addition, redwood and cedar are among the worst for natural oils bleeding out of the wood and lifting the finish.

Unfortunately, the solution in your case is to strip the existing finishes totally off - and with cedar shingles that is real tough to do. With cedar boards you can chemically strip it, sand or surface plane the boards in place, remove the boards and run them through a planer, or sometimes flip them over and use the other side. However, with shingles you are stuck with replacement or chemical stripping, which does not work real well on oily woods like cedar and can cause additional splitting of shakes and shingles as it removes the natural oils which give them their long life.

The proper material to use on cedar is a penetrating oil-based sealer or stain-sealer - for used shingles being recoated a stain-sealer, because a clear finish will almost always come out looking streaky and spotty on old material. What you want is a sealer that penetrates the pores (two coats needed for initial application of stain/sealer) and block water from penetrating the wood, leaving the surface without a full covering coat so water can evaporate from the surface.

Go to the Home > Roofing and Home > Siding links in Browse Projects at lower left and check prior questions and answers regarding wood shingles and shakes and types of finishes people have recommended for use on them.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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