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experience with exterior stain

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Joined: Mar 25 2003

I'm going to be in the unique experience of having all new siding and the choice of painting or staining it. I'd prefer staining it to get the original Eichler sharp angles and all, but am concerned with the quality of stain, especially how long it lasts and how easy it is to keep up. Can anyone share their experience?

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Joined: Mar 26 2003

Well, as it happens I too have been replacing all of my exterior siding with brand-new. I would recommend Cabot semi-solid because it is high-quality and a lot of the current stock colors are still very Eichler-appropriate. On the semi-solid, you get good color depth, but you can still make out the grain in the wood. It is very attractive, and of course the grooves are super-sharp.

Once you decide on Cabot, you next need to decide alkyd (oil-based) vs. water-based. IIRC, all colors are available in either formulation. I went with alkyd, and if I chose all over again, I might go with water-based, solely because of the cleanup issues. Per the local Cabot dealer, with alkyd, you need to wait a year to put a second coat on, and you really must put that second coat on (so there's some extra maintenance for you). But, the alkyd *should* last longer than the water-based. Neither one will last more than 10 years, and I'm planning on 5 years, at least for the southern-exposed walls. The good news is that the stuff is a fraction of the cost of paint.

When you apply it, use a *good* airless or HVLP sprayer --- not that Wagner junk they sell for $100. You simply can not paint the grooved siding with a brush or roller. The best thing is to have two people - one with a sprayer and one with a brush to even out the coverage.

Eichler siding is not easy to paint, but it is great to have it crisp and new. Good luck.

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Joined: Jan 4 2004

We provided and installed new siding to BBRISCO (you can look for his posts here on his site) and he applied a semi-transparent Cabot stain to his entire exterior. It looks fine (I happen to know that you purchased the same veneer as was used on his house); we used finish nails (I would suggest hand nailing, we had a couple of problems with shooting nails). Also, make sure that you do back prime every sheet (water-based is fine), and if you do not stain, I would suggest coating at least the bottom 1' of all the siding with a wood preservative known as copper clear. It can be primed over and painted, and will help prevent reinfestation of wood destroying pests and/ or organisms (dryrot fungus or termites).

renman

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Joined: Aug 28 2003

Renman,
I was under the impression that the mdf siding sold by the company that advertises on this site cannot be stained; but has to be painted. Is that true?
What type of wood did you use for your siding? Thanks.

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Joined: Mar 26 2003

Well, since RenMan mentioned it.... There are some very wise things to do when siding is off. # 1, you can treat your sill and the bottoms of the wall studs with an anti-termite/anti-fungal (I use Bora-Care). # 2, you can improve your seismic characteristics with new foundation hold-downs. My 1964 Jones & Emmons has 3/8 bolts with round washers about 6-8 feet apart. You can put new 5/8 inch with square washers without too much difficulty. Check local code for proper spacing & inspection.

Re: back-priming - I've always understood this to be a good idea, however none of my siding was back-primed originally, and all of the well-maintained Eichlers here in T.O. have evidenced no paint-related problems.

Re: Nailing -- I've used a finish nailer without problem, although I am committed to puttying the holes, so if you're not a puttying person, then hand nailing could be better.

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Joined: Apr 2 2003

Leslie,

I believe that Eichler Siding (the company you mentioned on this site) provides both paint-ready and stain-ready. You have to specify which you want. I didn't know I had a choice when I ordered from them 4 years ago but it might be there wasn't the choice back then... or maybe they thought I knew what I was doing ;-)

I thought maybe I'd comment on the nailing, though. Obviously, I have to bow to the construction experts. However, I will mention that I installed the new siding I mention on a north facing wall in the atrium which receives a lot of direct sun in the afternnon. I hand-nailed using finish nails and would not do it that way again. If the siding decides to warp at all, the nails pull right through.

When I looked at the method they used on the original panelling, they used standard 1-1/2" or 2" flat-headed galvanized nails. They didn't bother to countersink and fill, but I would definitely do that.

Now, it might be that there is something different about the application method (air-gun) or nails used in the airgun that pull-through is not a problem. Or there I might have done something wrong in the installation (yes, I did prime all sides and up several inches on the backside bottom though not the entire backside of the sheets).

Jake

eichfan at rawbw dot com

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Joined: Mar 26 2003

The issue of siding warping/coming away from the studs is an intersting one. Eichler seems to have used several different widths on the houses. The narrowest ones are 16 inches wide, and those seem to be pretty good about not warping. However, they also used 4 foot wide sections, and I found a few spots where previous owners had added both nails and screws on those wider panels to keep the siding flat. A couple of solutions, if you are replacing with the wider sections.

1. If you're buying the MDO stuff, that is no doubt more dimensionally stable than a veneered ply, such as fir ACX. So, if you simply follow Eichler Siding's installation instructions, you're probably fine.

2. If you are using a veneered plywood, you could do a couple of things. - You could countersink and putty/plug over screws at key points. You could also (although the owner 40 years from now may hate you) apply liquid nails to the studs prior to applyiing the new siding.

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Joined: Jan 4 2004

Leslie-
The the MDO product can not be stained. The stuff we use is a siding product by Roseberg lumber products that can be stained.
If you email me directly I can give you more info.
I've been researching all of Georgia Pacific's latest products, and they have some new exterior lap products that might work really well (I am still looking for a distributor around here that can get them).
As far a using a nail gun for installation, the problem is that it is very difficult to consistantly countersink finish nails to the same depth due to the fluctuations in air pressure, hardness of the framing, (knots, and such)
etc. , plus the fact that there is no head to secure the siding, so due to the nature of wood, sometimes it won't "bite" properly, and sometimes it will pop through (true for all type of material, even marine grade plywood).
As far as installation, you'll find that the framing layout (16" on center) was not often followed too consistanly, which creates the need to rip sheets to follow framing layout, and rabbet new lap joints to follow the framing (this can get tricky). good luck.

renman

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Joined: Aug 30 2003

Hi Tom,

3 years ago I had half the siding on my house replaced. I specified stain grade siding that had a nice grain. No way was I going to cover it up with paint. I wrote about staining siding in an Eichler House Doctor article a few years ago, see http://www.eichlernetwork.com/HDext_remod3.html. Go with stain, for a lot of reasons!

Barry

1959 A. Quincy Jones atrium model in The Highlands, San Mateo http://www.totheweb.com/eichler

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Joined: Mar 22 2003

I am going to state the obvious, just in case it is not so obvious to everyone.

If you install new siding and stain it, you still have the option down the road to change your mind and paint it, but you cannot go the other way. Once painted, siding cannot be stained. Staining can only be done over new siding or over previously stained siding.

Cathye

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Joined: Mar 25 2003

We're going to go with stain even though most painters seem to be dead set against it. They all seem to have the same story: that when VOC laws were changed the quality went way down. This was a long time ago and while I'm sure quality went down initially, companies have figured out how to address most of the original issues. I'm not sure what the real issue is now. Maybe they've had bad experiences with stain recently or maybe they just don't want to do the type of work that's required with a stain product that won't hide their shortcuts.

I'm writing to ask about experience with different brands of stain. Everyone knows Cabot, but Consumer Reports recently reported on a 9 year study of different stains that found Olympic Premium Latex and Sherwin Williams to be the best long-term performers. The painters I've talked to really don't like Olympic or Sherwin Williams. Again I suspect a lack of experience with the process is behind their derision since I'm sure they've primarily used Olympic deck products in deck applications.

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Joined: Mar 22 2003

To the original poster:

Another source of information on the subject of stain versus paint (in terms of advantages/disadvantages/tradeoffs/logngevity) would be Cabot itself. When doing the research for a prior article on this subject, I called the Cabot headquarters in MA and spoke to one of their engineers in the quality assurance area. His technical knowledge was impressive, all the way down to the actual chemical composition of each of the varous compounds they sell.

Cathye

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

I recently used Cabot on a rough-cut board and batten fence to match the paint on my house and lookd great. It went on great with one coat. I also used black Cabot on a redwood raised bed, but the cap rail is starting to fade after one year (it gets hit with occasional water for the bamboo).

Staining is the best way to go, if you can. It lasts much longer than paint (maybe that's why the contractors don't like it).

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