How to Paint Cedar Shake Siding

Cedar shake siding can provide an attractive and durable look for a house. This low-density, lightweight softwood weathers and changes color naturally, and it can remain untreated. But homeowners who desire a less rustic look can paint or stain the siding. Priming the surface is required, because cedar tends to "bleed" moisture if not properly sealed.

Choose Primer and Paint or Stain

  1. Consult with a local hardware or paint store professional to determine the ideal paint or stains for your siding, and how much you'll need to complete the project.

  2. Determine what equipment you'll need to prepare the surface.

  3. Buy the products needed to paint or stain the siding.

Prepare and Paint

  1. Clean the cedar shake siding with a stiff bristle brush and mild detergent. If the siding is severely stained, use a pressure washer.

  2. Let the siding dry thoroughly.

  3. Remove old caulk, if present, and caulk cracks and joints.

  4. Apply either oil- or water-based primer.

  5. Let the primer dry according to the application instructions.

  6. Apply paint or stain to the siding with a brush, roller or paint sprayer.


  • Thoroughly read the application instructions for paints and stains before opening the container.
  • Proper ventilation is required when applying most paints and stains.
  • The outside temperature and weather conditions can cause wide variations in drying time.
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