Rob the Homeowner

by Rob
(Sacramento, CA)

test section (scraped and primered with oil-based primer

test section (scraped and primered with oil-based primer

I had a house built in the 1960's that has MDF siding, and some areas have blistered and allowed water to penetrate the siding. One painter scraped a small section and put oil-based primer on (see photos), and based on the appearance after drying said he couldn't take on the job. Does anyone have experience painting damaged MDF siding? I am hoping that I can repair/replace small sections and then painting, as opposed to replacing all the siding at a high cost. Thanks everyone!

Comments for Rob the Homeowner

Click here to add your own comments

Feb 28, 2016
Painting MDF siding
by: Shawn

Hi Rob,

I'm not sure why the painter didn't tell you the reason why he didn't want the job. Though I would guess it's likely because of the cost to you (or they just didn't want to attempt all of the work needed to do a proper job).

In a lot of cases, when it comes to siding, I will end up telling the customer that the cost for them, to have me paint it, will be close to, or even more than, replacing all of the siding in the first place. Of course, some customers prefer to keep their siding, rather than having vinyl siding etc. applied. It's usually due to the siding being a cedar or other natural wood product though.

When it comes to particle board siding (a poorly engineered product by the way) it can be repaired and painted, to last for a few more years anyways, but the process comes at a very high cost. Most especially, when a great deal of prep is required, prior to painting. Keeping in mind that if the prep isn't done properly then the paint most likely won't last more than a year or two. Though, even the highest quality of paint, with excellent prior prep, tends to start breaking down, on a pre-painted exterior surface, after about five to seven years or so. Costly brand new unpainted natural wood siding tends to last a long time too once properly coated. As the years go buy though each new coating doesn't usually last as long as the original first application (due to a number of reasons).

If your stuck on keeping the siding then get estimates from painters and tell them they don't have to guarantee the work. Just be sure to point out how you want the job done. Which includes replacing the worst sections with new siding, removing all old lifting paint dirt or any other types of debris from the others, sanding all of the sidings surface area, applying an oil based stain blocking primer over all of the siding, filling/caulking holes and cracks with a good quality exterior paintable caulk/filler, let it dry, sand the filled/caulked areas, prime them, caulk/fill again as needed, sand the dried caulk/filled areas once more, prime those caulked/filled spots again, sand them once more, then apply two or three coats of a top quality exterior paint being sure to sand between each dried coat of paint. All of the above mentioned may be over kill of course (or it may not). It all depends on how long you want the paint job to last and the risk you "might" be taking by leaving out one of the steps.

After pointing out the process to the painters you will likely be quite shocked by the price of the estimates. I'm not sure what a good painter goes for in your neck of the woods but it's about $70.00 per hour + costs (and up) where I live.

With all of that said, because there would be no guarantee of the work done, you shouldn't have an issue hiring a quality painter to do the job. Just be sure to keep a close eye making sure all or the steps mentioned above, or at least the ones that you want done, are followed.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask a painting or decorating question..