Fiberboard cement siding was used to build homes for more than 100 years. Old homes were covered with an asbestos/cement siding, however, asbestos no longer is permitted in building materials. Today's cement siding is a combination of cement, sand and cellulose (wood) fibre and is durable, paintable and can be manufactured in a smooth finish or can mimic wood grain. Some new cement siding comes pre-primed (some are even pre-coloured), but it's costlier than unprimed material.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Paint gun
- Paint brush
- Patching compound
- Masking tape
- Newspapers or cardboard
- Soap & water
- Scrub brush
Repair any damage to the siding. Re-caulk any faulty seams and fill dents, chips or holes---including deep-set nails-- with an all-weather, paintable patching compound.
Clean the siding before painting if the siding already is installed. Use a hose to spray down the siding. Use a medium- to soft-bristle brush with a long handle and extension to clean. Dip the brush in a bucket of soap and water to apply and gently scrub the siding. You also could use a low-pressure nozzle or sprayer. Do not use a high-pressure device; it can damage the surface. If the siding already has been primed or painted, and there are stubborn mould and mildew, tree sap, or grease or oil stains, use a mixture of one part muriatic acid to five parts water to remove the stains. Rinse and allow the siding to dry thoroughly for at least two days.
Use masking tape in combination with cardboard or newspapers to cover any areas, such as windows, that you don't want to receive paint.
Prime the siding. You can use a roller and paint brushes, but a spray gun is your best bet, both as a time-saving measure and to ensure a smooth, even application of paint. Fill your spray gun with a 100 per cent, water-based acrylic primer. (Oil-based paints on unprimed cement board can cause loss of adhesion, cracking, chalking and increased surface roughness.) Spray the siding beginning at the top of your house and work your way toward the bottom. Use a steady, even motion to apply a smooth coat. Make sure to cover all edges. You can skip this step if the siding is pre-primed or already painted, except for priming bare or exposed areas, which you can do by touching up with a brush.
Paint the siding. Use an acrylic latex paint specified for cement surfaces, including masonry, concrete, stucco and cement. Fill your spray gun and apply the paint as you did the primer, making sure to cover all edges. Apply a second coat if needed. Allow the first coat to dry per the manufacturer's instructions before applying a second coat. Touch up any missed areas with a paint brush.
Tips and warnings
- New cement siding should be primed and painted within 90 days of installation.
- Water-based paint can be applied over oil-based paint, but oil-based paint shouldn't be applied over water-based.
- Warranties for wood siding usually range from 20 to 40 years while fibre-cement often is warranted for as long as 50 years.
- If you're installing the siding yourself, prime it, both front and back and all edges, before installation to achieve a thorough watertight seal.
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