exterior painting

How to Apply Exterior Wood Stain to Wood Siding

How to Apply Exterior Wood Stain to Wood Siding

Wood siding can be a beautiful addition to your home, but it requires some maintenance, such as applying an exterior wood stain. Unlike kitchen cabinets or doors, you can’t take the siding down for staining then return it, this makes the project even more challenging. This article will explain how to properly prepare your siding and apply a stain of your choice.

1. Clean the Siding
Staining a wooden surface only to realize that it had dirt or the stain can’t adhere correctly can be very frustrating. Dirt and debris can cause uneven staining, with patches and unpleasant streaks. Weather elements can create all kinds of residue on your wood. Use an oil-free soap and a power washer to clean the wood siding from the top down. Be careful not to use too much pressure, and allow the wood to dry completely before moving to the next step.

2. Strip Wood of Paint
If you’re staining new siding, you can skip this step. However, when working on existing painted siding, this step is necessary. The easiest way to strip paint from existing painted wood is to use a paint remover. It’s important to wear protective gear when handling paint removers. After applying and spreading around the remover and allowing it to sit for a half hour or as recommended on the label, start scraping using a bristle brush.

Once you’ve removed most of the paint, use a power washer with clean water to thoroughly wash the siding. This helps to remove any paint remover residue, as well as gives the wood a good cleaning. Let the wood dry completely before moving to the next step.

3. Sand your siding
Whether you have a new siding or just finished stripping your old siding, it’s important to go over your exterior with an orbital electrical sander. Medium grit sandpaper can work as well, but it will take ages to sand your entire exterior using just your hand. Sanding you remove any remaining paint, rough edges or splinters. Pay special attention to edges, corners, and curved areas.

4. Choosing the stain

Before you decide on which stain to use on your exterior, it’s probably important to take some time and understand different types of stains available out there as far as staining intensity is concerned.

• Semisolid stains: This one has less pigment than a solid-color stain, so it only partially obscures the wood’s grain. It doesn’t leave any surface film and doesn’t peel. It will, however, require re-application after 2 to 4 years.
• Clear Toner: Made of finely ground iron pigments called trans-oxides and blocks the sun without obscuring the wood’s grain, giving your wood a warm tint. This too doesn’t leave any surface residue and requires re-application each year.
• Semitransparent stain: this type has enough pigments to change the color of the wood on your siding without blocking the grain. This type needs to be re-applied after 2-3 years.
• Solid Color: Solid color stain is probably the most durable –it can last for 5-7 years. It looks like a flat paint; hides the wood’s grain but allows the texture to show through. This, however, forms a film on the wood surface and may peel if not applied correctly.

Factors to consider when choosing your stain

• Current finish: if you’re painting a new bare wooden siding, you can choose pretty much any type of stain. However, if it has a film finish, you should probably stick to film because penetrating stain won’t go over a film. Additionally, water-based stains will cover oil-based ones, but not the other way around.
Type of wood: softwoods like cedar and pine can easily accept most penetrating stains, but hardwoods such as mahogany or ipe will require some type of seed oils such as linseed or Tung. It’s a good idea to test the woods first and see if the finish will penetrate before going full scale.
• The condition of your siding: if you’re doing siding staining on an older house, you will have to thoroughly sand the surface before applying a penetrating finish such as a clear toner, a semitransparent, or a semisolid. The Solid-color stains are suitable on new wood.

Apply the stain

After choosing the stain that works for your type of wooden siding, pour it into the low-pressure paint sprayer. Fill the reservoir about halfway up. Choose a side to begin at and start spraying the exterior wood stain onto the wood siding. Have your partner follow closely behind you with a paintbrush as they spread out the stain so that it is one even coat.

Applying using a roller and paintbrush is an option too, but it will probably take you a little while longer. You may also need to apply two coats of the stain and then finalize with a sealant. But as you can see, the staining process can be quite technical, and only an experienced painting contractor can produce the best results that you desire.