How to Prepare Old Cedar Shakes for Repainting

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Things You'll Need

  • Scraper

  • Ladder

  • Pressure washer or garden hose

  • Mild detergent (optional)

  • Caulk (optional)

Cedar shakes are cedar shingles that naturally weather and are resistant to decay. Like most wooden shingles, however, especially when painted, they require care and maintenance over the course of time. The paint will begin to peel and the shingles may become stained and they will need to be repainted. Thoroughly preparing your cedar shakes for a new paint job is important because they are thin and the new paint is more likely to peel if the shingle is not properly prepared. With the right knowledge you can do the job well and have the new paint last longer.


Step 1

Scrape any peeling paint chips off the shakes with a scraper. Remove as much of the old paint as possible, as the more prep work you do the better your home will look.

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Step 2

Powerwash the siding to remove any excess dirt or paint with a low pressure pressure washer. You must be careful not to damage the wood while doing so as the water pressure is strong. Start at the top of the house and work your way down, aiming the nozzle downward and keeping it moving constantly. If you do not feel comfortably using a pressure washer, use a hose, a mild detergent and a brush to scrub away any dirt.

Step 3

Allow the house to dry completely for one to two weeks. Inspect the shakes for any more loose paint and scrape it off. Look for any old caulk as well that may be cracking and in disrepair. Chip out the old caulk and replace it with new.

Step 4

Buy primer and paint to finish the job. You will need about one gallon of paint for every 350 square feet you plan to paint with one coat (and the same goes for the primer). Remember to take into account how many coats you will need.


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