How to Paint Over Stained Siding

Stained wood siding can be painted over either with exterior water-based 100 percent acrylic paint, or latex or oil-based solid stain, or some oil-based paints. Your choice will depend on the type of siding and the condition of the wood, and regardless of what you use,it will require some diligent preparation and priming. Cracks and gaps in your siding may not be obvious with darker stained wood, but they become much more apparent if you paint your house a lighter color. On the bright side, this can force your hand into doing repairs and caulking that should have been done years ago.

Wash the siding thoroughly, using a detergent containing mildewcide and formulated for exterior wood. A power washer will make this job easy, but follow equipment instructions carefully because you can damage wood or force water under the siding with improper use.

Repair or replace loose and cracked or rotting joints and boards. Set loose nails and screws, and remove house numerals, awnings, shutters, and other things you don't plan to prime and paint.

Prime the siding and trim with a good quality exterior primer. If you use an airless sprayer, you will get much better adhesion and penetration by rolling or brushing the primer after it's sprayed, working in sections while the primer is still wet.

Caulk gaps, cracks and nail holes, using paintable silicone caulk.

Paint the siding with two coats of 100 percent acrylic or acrylic-urethane paint, using either an airless paint sprayer, brush, or roller and brush. Follow directions for drying time between coats--this is usually a minimum of four hours.

Paint the trim last with a brush and 6 inch roller, using two coats of your chosen trim paint.

Things You Will Need

  • Power washer
  • Scrub brush
  • Buckets
  • Exterior siding detergent
  • Primer
  • Mineral spirits
  • Caulking gun
  • Silicone caulking
  • Exterior house paint
  • Airless sprayer
  • Masking tape and paper
  • Drop cloths
  • Brushes
  • Roller


  • Allow the siding to dry for a minimum of two days before priming. Three or four consecutive dry days is advisable if you live in a humid area.
  • If the siding is redwood or cedar, you must use an oil-based primer before painting to stop water soluble tannin stains from bleeding through the paint. It's perfectly acceptable to use a water-based paint over oil primer.
  • If you are planning to use a solid oil or latex stain, you don't have to prime the siding first.
  • Caulking after the primer has been applied and allowed to dry not only makes it easier to see what areas need caulking, but the caulk will adhere better to primed wood.


  • Solid stain may not last quite as long as paint, and it may be more difficult to get a uniform coat if you choose a light color.

About the Author

Stevie Donald has been an online writer since 2004, producing articles for numerous websites and magazines. Her writing chops include three books on dog care and training, one of which won a prestigious national award in 2003. Donald has also been a painting contractor since 1979, painting interiors and exteriors.