staining old siding

I need to stain my house, built 30 years ago and sided with what appears to be a cedar laminate. Looking for general advice on any and all aspects. the previous owner appears to have used a solid stain, nearly black, which is ugly as can be. So I will have to go with a solid oil stain, but I want to end with a much lighter brown, closer to natural wood color. I presume I will need 2 good coats. I would like to pressure wash for prep, though I'm not married to the idea. The siding is weathered in a few spots where I know I will have to be very careful with the PW, I will probably avoid those areas completely. A bigger concern is that water will get behind the siding and wet the insulation. I dont know if this is a valid concern or not.
I have an odd, "staggered" (for lack of a better word) A-frame where (on one side only) the rear half of the house has a 1-2 foot tall section of siding that extends all the way to the peak. How can I safely paint this section from the very steep roof?
My house has much sun (and wind, and snow..) exposure on 3 sides. I will only be living here for 2-4 more years and I dont want to stain again. Nor do I want to spend more than I have to. Is Pittsburg Ultra a good choice for stain, or is there something better in the $20/gal range?
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Hi Joe, When I painted with a crew what we would have done is bleach the siding first and allow it to dry completely. This kills any mildew which is your biggest enemy. After bleaching you get to see the actual color of the stain that was used. I am not a fan of pressure washing. A saturation coat of stain can be acheived rolling 'up' with a heavy roller knapp, working out of a half full 5 gallon bucket with a wire ramp . A bucket and a brush helps with the cracks and cutting in. A man on the brush and another on the roller with a long pole helps. It's a messy job. Spraying is always a temptation and guarantee's that it will get wet and rot. It just can't fill the holes. Blessings, Mark

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Oil stain? Have fun with *that*.
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Hopkins wrote:

Yeah, I've already been rethinking that because I absolutely hate using oil based anything. Gives me a headache just thinking about it. BUt thats what someone at the paint shop said I should use, because the old stain is pretty weathered in spots with subsequent exposure of patches of bare siding, and the wood is very "thirsty" ( I brought a sample in with me). He said the oil will give me much better protection. he said I should at least use a base coat of oil in those weathered areas, but that would still be a lot of oil.
Any thoughts on his reasoning? I'd MUCH prefer to use latex all the way, but I dont want to be staining again in 2 years either.
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I dunno, I tend to stay away from solid stains altogether* but with really dry wood it may be best for you.
I recently used an Olympic solid color latex and a Porter solid color latex -- both were new formulations [not the run-of-the-mill latex solid stains] -- application went fine but this was in the last few weeks, so I can't say anything about how it stands up.
I'd take a look at that Olympic product. I used it on some rather dry PT wood and it soaked in well. I had to do 2 coats.
At any rate, I think you're looking at 2 coats [at least on the dry stuff... maybe you get away with 1 coat on the unexposed side].
As for the tall, hard to get part -- you're looking at either a) a tall extension ladder laid flat on the roof [from the ground], or b) ladder hooks that attach to the top of an extension and hook over the peak of the roof [again, the ladder is laying flat on the roof].
*I was hammered for this by a couple of people whose experience is questionable, but for years I've been using latex paint on rough-sawn cedar instead of solid stain. It's pretty common around here -- customers had been complaining about the frequency of having to do their house. The paint doesn't ruin the character of the rough-sawn, and I haven't had the problem of peeling that's found on smooth siding.
The problem is that your wood is dry. If you consider this approach, I'd recommend staining now and in a couple years make the switch to paint. It'll be a bit of a hassle in the beginning, but typically a paint job job will laster longer than a stain job.
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I pretty much have to use a solid, because the siding is stained almost black now. No other way to cover that ugly crap up, because I want a lighter color. Hopefully the lighter color will also weather better, because its obvious that my worst spots are in sun exposure areas. The old stain is in nearly perfect condition in shaded spots.
I'm not terribly concerned about the long-long-term durability of the stain because I will probably only be here for 2-4 years. But I definitely want whatever I do to hold up that long.
Oh yeah, stain-blocking is the other reason the paint store guy recommended an oil coat.
I am considering Olympic stains, as my Menards carries both that and Pittsburgh.
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Understandable.
At the least I'd talk a couple other people at different stores, and get their input on the oil vs. latex stain thing.
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Hopkins wrote:

I've called just about every one already, and got conflicting answers. Today I had only one paint store left in the phone book to call, and I decided I was just going to do what they recommend unless it was obviously outrageous. Fortunately I got someone who seemed to be at least as knowledgeable as anyone else I've talked to, if not more. he thought I could probably get by with a latex (stain) blocking primer. But going beyond my wildest expectations, the manager is going to come to my house (a 30 minute drive!) and inspect it personally, so he can better decide what I need! And for that you might think I will pay through the nose for stain, but they actually have premium Devoe acrylic stains for the same or less than I can buy run of the mill paints for at the high-volume places. So I'm going to let them make the decision for me, now all I have to do is decide on the color...no easy feat.
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Good! We've had reps from paint stores come out to a job site. I always thought it was a good thing because describing some problems is impossible over the phone.
Well, you know how I feel about oil stain. Be sure to ask him all your questions while he's out there, and good luck.
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