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I'm preparing to replace T-111 siding on my unheated detached garage with vertical cedar shiplap siding to match our house. I'm pretty sure the siding on the house (now 35 years old and showing it) is unpainted on the back, but a contractor who recently replaced some of the siding while replacing windows primed the back side (as well as the front). Should I do the same on the garage install?

Would the answer be any different for any future siding replaced on the house?

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I discovered the lumberyard calls this "vertical channel cut cedar" –  TomG Jul 10 at 1:40

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Advice I've generally heard is that to prevent warping, you should treat the back the same way you treat the front (so they absorb and release moisture in the same ways). If you're going to paint the outside, priming the back seems a Good Idea. (Of course cedar doesn't necessarily need to be painted; cedar shakes have often been allowed to weather to a natural grey.)

I'm not sure whether exterior stains are more like paint or no-paint.

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It is definitely better to prime the back of the siding before it is installed. It will keep moisture from being absorbed by the back of the siding, which could lead to warping.

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