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Depends on the finish you select. A high-quality product won't be so dependent on a high-quality primer. The issue is mostly sealing, as the thin factory-applied primer bonds well, and facilitates a good bond with your topcoat, but doesn't necessarily seal well itself. Typically you'd plan on a re-coat after only a few years anyway to establish a hearty, ...


There really is no repair once hardboard starts to decay. You could paint it to prevent some future moisture intrusion, but it won't make the siding more solid. A good quality latex paint will add a bit of life to it. Whether that's worth the cost and effort is debatable. I'd replace any seriously rotten boards and ignore the rest until you re-side.

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