The look and durability of your exterior siding is not only important for curb appeal, but it also plays an essential role in the home's total value. Fiber cement is one of the most durable options for your home's exterior, but you may not be familiar with this type of siding. Manufactured out of a mixture of fiber pulp and cement, the siding creates a strong protective layer for your home. While most companies offer a warranty up to 50 years, fiber cement does require maintenance to ensure it remains attractive and durable. In most cases, the color of your fiber cement will fade over time, so painting will be necessary. With this guide, you can avoid a few common mistakes homeowners make when painting their fiber cement siding.

Painting Over Damage

One of the most common mistakes made when painting fiber cement is applying the paint over damaged areas of siding. Without repairing warped or decaying pieces of the siding, water and pests can penetrate the siding, increasing the risk of severe water damage, mold, and pest infestations.

Before applying paint, inspect each area of your home's exterior siding. Remove pieces of fiber cement that have decayed and continue inspecting boards for smaller imperfections. Even the smallest cracks and holes should be repaired to prevent further damage.

Apply a small amount of cement-patching product to small cracks and holes. Avoid using products designed for patching wood. Even though the siding may have a wood-grain finish, it is primarily cement.

Apply the patching product to the damaged area using a putty knife. Make sure it is applied in an even manner that is consistent with the finish of your siding. Allow it to dry before painting.

Painting Over Dirt or Mold

Applying a fresh coat of paint over dirty or moldy siding is also a common mistakes many homeowners make. Before painting, make sure to clean the exterior of your home thoroughly. This will ensure the paint adheres properly to the fiber cement siding.

Using a pressure washer is the most effective option for cleaning the large area of siding on your home. Opt for a medium-duty pressure washer, which offers a sufficient amount of water pressure for removing dirt, dust, mud, and mildew. For stubborn areas of mildew, mold, or algae, spray the siding with an antibacterial cleaner such as bleach or vinegar.

Applying One Coat

After making repairs, patching cracks and holes, and cleaning your siding, you may not feel like spending much time on the painting process. However, you should put in a good amount of effort when applying paint to ensure it looks great and is acting as a protective coating for your home.

Most professionals recommend applying two coats of paint to the siding. This second coat may seem time-consuming and unnecessary, but it will protect the underlying fiber cement material from serious distress, damage, and fading due to the weather and other environmental elements such as the harmful rays of the sun.

You should also make sure to use 100-percent acrylic paint that is specifically designed for use on the exterior parts of your home.

Do not allow an excess amount of paint to sit on the brush bristles, since this could prevent even paint strokes. Begin at the bottom of your siding and work your way up, painting with the grain of your fiber cement. This allows the paint color to look natural against the fiber cement siding.

Painting your siding will be a necessity at one point in time, but proper preparation of the surface is important. This guide will help you avoid common mistakes made during the painting of your fiber cement siding.