What Kind of Paint and Primer Is Best for Wood Siding?

Wood siding is a classic option for homes and buildings, but it requires regular maintenance to keep it looking great. If you will be doing some upkeep, you might be wondering what is the best type of paint and primer to use on your wood siding.

Acrylic-latex paint is the preferred choice for wooden siding, as it offers superior protection. It’s easy to clean and resists fading caused by UV light exposure. The best primer to use is a shellac primer. Shellac primers are a great choice as they provide good adhesion and have excellent stain-blocking properties. 

In this article, you will learn:

  • The 4 factors to consider when choosing paint for wood siding
  • What type of paint to use
  • What finish is best
  • My top picks for the best paint and primer for wood siding

The 4 Factors to Consider When Choosing Paint for Wood Siding

1. Siding Material

The type of wood you are painting is one of the most critical factors to consider when choosing paint. Certain species of wood have different properties, making some more difficult to paint than others.

For example, cedarwood needs a specific primer to bond adequately with the paint and prevent bleeding. Pine and spruce are softer woods and more porous, requiring a primer that can seal the wood’s pores effectively.

2. Paint Type

Your paint choice may depend on the climate where you live. For instance, paint with mold inhibitors is ideal in areas with high humidity levels.

In dry regions with hot summers, selecting a paint that resists fading and chalking due to constant UV exposure is essential. Additionally, choosing paint that is easy to clean and maintain can prolong its life and appearance.

3. Location

The location of your home is another factor that affects the type of paint you should select for your wood siding.

If your home is near the ocean, it is exposed to salty air and moisture, which can cause damage to the wood siding. In this case, you may need paint with a higher level of adhesion and anti-corrosive properties to protect your siding adequately.

4. Quality of Paint

Lastly, consider the quality of the paint before making a decision. Investing in high-quality paints may be costly, but it saves you money in the long run by lasting longer and requiring less maintenance.

You should select paint with better durability, stronger adhesion, and resistance to fading and chalking.

What Type of Paint Is Best?

Acrylic-Latex Paint

Acrylic-latex paint, also called water-based acrylic paint, is a kind of paint that utilizes water as its main solvent and includes acrylic resins as binders.

Due to its exceptional performance and positive environmental impact, it has gained popularity in painting different surfaces, such as wood siding.


  • Dries quickly
  • Easy cleanup using just soap and water
  • Lower odor than oil-based paint
  • Has lower levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Has a flexible finish that expands and contracts with the wood, reducing the chances of cracking, peeling, or blistering
  • Resistant to UV damage and fading
  • Provides excellent durability and protection for wood siding


  • Less effective on heavily stained wood
  • Needs proper surface preparation
  • Sensitive to temperature fluctuations during the application, so it’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the optimal temperature range

Oil-based Paint

Oil-based paint is a type of paint that uses oil as its primary binder. It is known for its durability and resistance to moisture, making it an ideal choice for painting wood siding.


  • Long-lasting and durable
  • Resistant to moisture
  • Easy to clean
  • Can be used on multiple surfaces


  • Takes longer to dry than water-based paints
  • More difficult to apply
  • Can be more expensive

What Paint Finish Is Best?

When it comes to wood siding, the most suitable paint finish is a semi-gloss or glossy finish. This type of finish offers excellent durability and is highly resistant to water, making it ideal for outdoor use.

Wood siding is often exposed to harsh weather elements such as rain, wind, and the sun’s UV rays, making it crucial to use a finish that can withstand such conditions.

Semi-gloss and glossy paints are highly reflective, giving wood siding a bold and vibrant appearance that can enhance the aesthetic appeal of a property.

Furthermore, the reflective properties of these finishes help bounce light off the wood surfaces, making them appear brighter and more visually appealing.

Another reason why semi-gloss and glossy finish paints are ideal for wood siding is that they are easy to clean. This is particularly important for wood siding prone to dust, dirt, and other debris.

The glossy finish makes removing any stains or dirty marks simple, ensuring that your siding stays in pristine condition for longer periods.

The Best Paint and Primer for Wood Siding

Best Paint

Sherwin-Williams Duration Exterior Acrylic Latex is the best option when painting wood siding. With its PermaLast Technology, this paint offers superior durability and a thicker coat than ordinary latex paint, ensuring a long-lasting finish that can withstand the elements.

It protects your wood siding from cracking, peeling, and blistering. Additionally, this paint offers better tannin bleed resistance than conventional latex paints, making it an excellent choice for wood that’s prone to bleeding.

Thanks to its low-temperature application down to 35°F (2°C), this paint can be applied even in cooler weather. It is also available in Sherwin-Williams VinylSafe colors, meaning you can choose from a wide range of hues.

And with a lifetime limited warranty, you can rest easy knowing that this paint will protect your wood siding for years.

Best Primer

Zinsser B-I-N Shellac-Based Primer has superior bonding capabilities making it the ideal primer for wood. The shellac creates an impenetrable layer that seals the surface of the wood siding, blocking out any stains and preventing tannins from bleeding through the paint layer.

The strength of this primer is especially important for old wood siding that may have numerous knots, which could leak tannins and cause the paint to peel and deteriorate over time. Zinsser B-I-N Shellac-Based Primer is designed to stop these issues from occurring.

Despite being thin in consistency, which may make it a bit messy to apply, this primer is easy to use. The thinness of the primer allows it to seep into small cracks and crevices, ensuring that every inch of the wood siding is properly coated and sealed. After application, the primer dries into a solid layer much tougher to sand than a regular primer.

Joshua Milton

Joshua Milton is a passionate DIY and home improvement enthusiast. With his expertise in various projects, he provides practical tips, step-by-step guides, and creative ideas for transforming your living space.

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