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Ask Angie: How often should fiber cement siding be painted?

Fiber cement siding mimics wood and offers a more dimensional look than vinyl, but is virtually maintenance free. (Photo courtesy of Tulsa Renew)

Fiber cement siding mimics wood and offers a more dimensional look than vinyl, but is virtually maintenance free. (Photo courtesy of Tulsa Renew)

Dear Angie: How often should fiber cement siding be painted? – Kate B., Renton, Wash.

Dear Kate: This is a tough question to answer, as every house is going to tell a different story. On average, a high-quality, 100-percent acrylic exterior house paint should last anywhere from 5 to 15 years on fiber cement that has been properly primed at the factory if it has been applied correctly and there hasn’t been any unusual damage to the home.

Climate plays a part, too. Exposure to the sun, rain and wind, surrounding plant life, and a number of other factors will affect the wear of the paint. Weather conditions can affect just one side of the siding, depending on its exposure, prematurely aging the paint compared to the opposite side.

Other things, like how well the siding is prepared before paint is applied, the quality of the paint used, the number of coats the siding receives, the quality of the job done and the amount of maintenance it has received after being painted will also affect how long the paint lasts. Paint should always be applied over a sealant to ensure proper adhesion. When applied correctly, paint adheres very well to fiber cement and, in ideal conditions, could last for decades.

If you decide it is time to repaint your siding, plan to use two coats of paint, even if you’re repainting it the same color. Adding a second coat won’t cost you much more, but it could help extend the life of the paint job for 10 years or more.

One thing you can do to protect your paint finish after you’ve painted is to periodically wash your siding to keep contaminants from building up on the surface and breaking the paint down prematurely. You can do this easily with a garden hose or pressure washer. If you do pressure wash it, I recommend hiring an experienced professional unless you’re experienced with the various pressure settings. Too much pressure can cause chipping or cracking in the siding.

If you hire a painter to do the job, be sure to talk to him or her about the products they use and the guarantee they offer. Many exterior paint manufacturers provide warranties for up to 25 years. Get at least three estimates and thoroughly research the companies’ local reputations before you hire. And don’t skip on reading the contract – those details are important.

Angie’s List collects about 65,000 consumer reviews each month covering more than 550 home and health services. Angie Hicks compiles the best advice from the most highly rated service pros on Angie’s List to answer your questions. Ask Angie your question at askangie@angieslist.com


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