How to Paint Cedar Boards


If you would like to paint cedar boards, consider a pair of important points. First, because bare cedar is ill-suited for adhesion, it will ultimately reject new paint unless it is pretreated. You must coat the cedar boards with a base coat of primer prior to application. In addition, choose a particular type of paint based on the location of the boards. The wrong type of paint will eventually lead to chipping and peeling.

Things You'll Need

  • Pressure washer
  • Broom
  • Blue painter's tape
  • Heavy-duty fabric drop cloths
  • Latex primer
  • 3- to 4-inch latex paintbrush
  • Roller frame
  • Nap roller cover
  • Roller extension pole
  • Latex paint
  • Dust interior boards with a broom. Clean exterior cedar boards using a pressure washer. Wait 2 to 4 hours for the boards to dry.

  • Cover areas beneath the cedar with drop cloths. Protect surfaces running adjacent to the boards with painter's tape.

  • Coat interior cedar with latex primer using a roller. Use a 3- to 4-inch latex paintbrush to apply primer to areas inaccessible to the roller. Wait 2 hours for the primed cedar to dry.

  • Wash the brush with tap water.

  • Coat primed interior cedar with latex paint. Apply paint to the boards just as you did the primer. Wait 2 hours for the painted boards to dry. Add another coat if the primer shows through.

Tips & Warnings

  • A latex paintbrush is specifically manufactured for use with water-based latex paints.
  • Use an acrylic latex primer and paint if the cedar boards are located outdoors.
  • Freshly cut cedar contains large amounts of moisture. Be sure to wait 6 weeks before painting or you may have problems with adhesion.
  • Don't paint over bare cedar boards or the finish will fail.
  • Don't use plain latex primer and paint on exterior cedar boards as they do not provide adequate elasticity in fluctuating temperatures.

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  • Photo Credit Cedar fence planks image by K. Geijer from
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