#Ask Angie: How Often Should I Paint My Fiber Cement Siding?
Fiber cement siding needs to be properly prepped so the exterior paint will last a decade or more. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Jeff D. of Garner, North Carolina)
Dear Angie: How often should fiber cement siding be painted? – Kate B., Renton, Washington
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 five to 15 years on fiber cement that's properly primed at the factory, as long as the paint was 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 affect the wear of exterior paint. Weather conditions can sometimes affect only one side of the house because of its exposure, prematurely aging the paint compared to the opposite side.
Other things, like how well the manufacturer and painter prepped the siding before applying paint, the quality of the paint used, the number of coats the siding receives, the quality of the paint job and the amount of maintenance it receives after being painted will also affect how long the exterior paint lasts on your cement siding.
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.
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If you decide it's 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 is to periodically wash your siding. This keeps contaminants from building up on the surface, which break the paint down prematurely. You can easily do this 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 an exterior painter to do the job, be sure to talk to him or her about the products they use and any guarantees 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.
Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article originally posted on July 26, 2012.