How to paint siding. The age old question for painters is which technique (spraying, brushing and rolling or just brushing) works best for getting your exterior siding coated.

Below I discus both the advantages and disadvantages for each process.


Using an airless paint sprayer can be the quickest way to get the job done of course. A good paint sprayer will also get into all those kooks, cracks and crannies that might be more difficult to accomplish with other techniques.

Even so, for the best results you do have to have a certain amount of paint sprayer skill along with the correct sized spray tip and a quality piece of equipment to work with.

Other issues would be the amount of masking off or shielding you would need to do (windows, doors, trees, roofing etc.) as a mishap or the slightest amount of wind can cause you a world of grief.

A final argument regarding spraying is that it doesn't tend to stick to the surface as well as when using a brush or roller. There are those who would disagree with that statement but I myself have found it to be the case in certain situations.

You could of course spray then have someone follow right behind you with a paint roller (back rolling). Doing so will press the coating into the surface and at the same time eliminate any runs or sags that the spraying may leave behind.


Using a brush to cut in (or edge) around windows and doors or where the siding laps or joins together followed by rolling with a roller would be the next fastest siding coating process.

There are those who would say that a roller doesn't cause the paint to adhere to the siding properly but I have not found this to be the case.

When doing the brush and roller technique you do want to only cut in (brush) then roll in small sections. I like to use a 2.5" sash brush and a roller that's the same width as the siding.

I then cut in at the top of the board (for vertical siding) and in between where each individual piece of siding joins or laps the other (for both horizontal and vertical siding).

You can now roll top to bottom or from side to side. I also only do one individual section of board at a time (if at all possible) so that I'm not leaving brush marks.

If your siding has a joint in the middle of a board stop at the joint then roll onwards from the joint. By painting from joint to joint and each individual board at a time you will cut down or eliminate any brush/roller marks that may occur.

Some painters like to use a small speed or Whizz roller as it can cut down on the amount of brushing one needs to do. A speed roller can also be rolled into a can of paint (one that has a roller grid in it) while standing on a ladder.

Speed rollers can be finicky to operate (keep them clean of dried paint). In fact, I suggest using new roller covers (sleeves) and disposing of the used ones as opposed to cleaning them.


Applying your clear-coat, stain or paint with a (4" or so) wide brush is the slowest way to coat your siding. With that said, it is considered by a large number of people in the industry as the best way to get the job done.

The advantages for using a wide brush are that the brush pushes the coating into microscopic surface grooves causing the paint or stain etc. to last longer than other application procedures.

A brush is also easier to use off a ladder especially when your cut can is attached to the ladder with some type of can hook.

The number one disadvantage is that brushing can leave visible marks on the surface being painted due to your coating drying to fast.

Products that extend the drying time can help but not always.

If you are going to use a brush do so while brushing as quickly as possible. You will also want to try to keep as wet of an edge as possible (easier said than done sometimes) but not so wet that your dripping paint every where or leaving huge brush marks behind.


I myself prefer to brush and roll siding (no matter what type of siding that it might be) as it tends to leave the best results.

Working from the top of a building (fascia) down towards the ground, along with having a helper push you around on wheeled scaffolding (if at all possible) are also a good ideas to implement.

Of course rounded siding such as that made from wood logs, I find paint (stain or clear-coat) better when brushed with a wide brush.

Others would disagree with me though so you yourself will need to decide (by testing different techniques) on the process that works best for your particular situation, product or the tools being used.

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