We are buying an old house that has cedar shingles (I think they are cedar, they are some type of wood) and I was wondering if its completely crazy to think we can power wash or strip the maroon red paint off the shingles and restore them to a natural wood color or even a dark stain if needed?

Is is possible to do something like this or are we gonna have to decide on a colored paint?

  • do you know what type of paint it is? Knowing this will help get a better answer as some paints strip easier than others.
    – allindal
    Commented Mar 15, 2011 at 1:17
  • 1
    Yes, it is completely crazy. Either paint over, or replace the shingles completely. You don't want to get into stripping rough cut cedar. Commented Aug 5, 2012 at 14:17

2 Answers 2


I think this will be very, very difficult - I won't say impossible, because anything can be done with enough time & effort. But take a close look at the surface - unless you're willing to get in and scrape with dental tools, it will be hard to get all the paint out of all the cracks and crevices.

  • Agree, next to impossible to get paint out of a porous wood like cedar. Sometimes a pressure washer will do a good job, but more often than not will damage the wood as well. I might suggest a solid stain, but that is probably not the look your're after. Commented Mar 15, 2011 at 21:08

I had this experience on my residence about 20 years ago. In order to re-paint, I had to remove peeling paint and prep first. I wound up using a pressure washer, and was able to 'judge' the distance and pressure needed to get the optimum amount of removal without damaging the shakes. (If you do this, I recommend letting it dry out for 4-5 days before applying anything) I also used (at that time) a quality caulk to fill up splits due to shrinkage. Back then, I had to use a good quality latex primer, then two coats of hi-gloss latex paint resulted in another 10+ years. (In hind-sight, it would have been time and materials ahead to replace the shingles, as they were already 25 years old at the time and somewhat dry and on the brittle side). Note: When the time came to do this again, I opted to replace it with a shingle-like heavy gauge dimensional vinyl siding that has performed well and held up to UV, wind, driving rain, and hail storms. The only maintenance is occasional power washing and applying an optional protective silicone spray wax to keep its' luster. It's been up for 13 years now.

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