Prefinishing Siding

Prepainting T-111 plywood siding

T-111 siding

Today we pre-finished siding for the Yoga Studio project. The siding is T-111, which is a plywood siding with a rough exposed face. T-111 is inexpensive, and if not sealed and taken care of properly can warp, delaminate or otherwise fail. This is particularly true of thinner grades, and projects with clear or transparent finishes that don’t get a maintenance coat every couple of years.

Our particular siding is paint-grade 5/8″ thick with grooves in it. Other options include 3/8″ thick, so this is better quality from my perspective. You can also get it without grooves, which are called blanks. Paint-grade material is puttied and patched at the factory, so you can’t use a transparent stain or a clear finish on it, but I was planning on painting anyway. It was also $10 less expensive per sheet than the 3/8″ stain grade available locally. Whoo-hoo!

T-111 siding

T-111 siding

The weather was freezing, but since we have the wrap on the building, we were able to put a heater inside and paint in there. Most latex paints and solid stains require at least 50 degree temperature to dry. I had two heaters going, but in that small 10 x 12 foot space it was too much – one heater was plenty.

One small heater and a blanket over the doorway

One small heater and a blanket over the doorway

It was cozy. It took some thought to figure out how to get the work done and the wet plywood stacked so it could dry. I wouldn’t recommend prefinishing plywood in any space smaller than 10×12! 

Prefinishing plywood siding on sawhorses

Prefinishing plywood siding on sawhorses

For T-111, at least a 3/4″ nap roller cover and a 1 1/2″ semi-cheap synthetic paint brush to get in the grooves. Two gallons of good quality primer will do about 10 4×8 sheets of siding. By the way, when painting with more than a quart or so of paint, don’t mess around with a paint pan. This is the setup you want.

Bucket, grid and brush - don't mess around with a stupid paint pan

Bucket, grid and brush – don’t mess around with a stupid paint pan

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I said it was cozy! Of course I backed into the wet paint.

After the sheets were all painted we stacked them, stickering (separating them) with screws put into the backs of the sheets so they wouldn’t stick together.

Put screws into the backs of the plywood to keep wet paint from sticking

Put screws into the backs of the plywood to keep wet paint from sticking

All primed!

Finished painting - these are the backs showing

Finished priming – these are the backs showing

We’re going to go through this one more time with the first coat of paint. After the siding is up we’ll do the second coat. Time to start looking at paint colors!