How to paint hardboard siding

Written by ryan lawrence
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How to paint hardboard siding
Do not use plastic drop cloths in place of fabric ones. (grunge cloth background image by from

Hardboard siding is an engineered wood product similar to particle board in that it is comprised of highly compressed wood fibres. Hardboard siding is not ideal for paint adhesion and requires multiple coats of primer to help prevent future paint failure. In addition, because hardboard siding is smooth, you will need to employ a specific application strategy to help prevent unattractive roller marks in the final finish coat.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Pressure washer
  • Blue painter's tape
  • Heavy-duty fabric drop cloths
  • Nap roller cover
  • Roller frame
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • 3- to 4-inch latex paintbrush
  • Acrylic latex primer
  • Acrylic latex paint

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  1. 1

    Wash dirt and dust from the hardboard siding using a pressure washer. Begin the washer on a low setting and gradually increase pressure, or you may damage the hardboard. Allow the siding to dry out completely before beginning the application process.

  2. 2

    Cover areas you do not want painted with painter's tape. Protect porches, walkways and other larger items below the hardboard siding with fabric drop cloths.

  3. 3

    Promote paint adhesion by applying a coat of acrylic latex primer to the hardboard siding using a roller. Apply to one 3-foot-wide section at a time, then smooth the wet primer using a 3- to 4-inch latex paintbrush. Work quickly before the primer has a chance to dry.

  4. 4

    Allow the primer to dry for two hours, then apply an additional coat in the same manner as you did the first. Allow the final coat of primer to dry for two hours before painting over it.

  5. 5

    Wash all painting instruments with plain water.

  6. 6

    Apply a coat of acrylic latex paint in the same way you did the primer.

Tips and warnings

  • You need to apply only one coat of paint unless you can see the primer showing through.
  • Use a tinted primer if you will be applying a dark colour of paint. Use a white primer if you will be applying a light colour.
  • Do not use plastic drop cloths in place of fabric ones, as plastic tends to blow free in the wind.

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