If the paint is peeling from your cedar siding, there are steps you can take to make it look as good as new.

Cedar is one of the best choices for siding because of its attractive appearance, easy maintenance, and longevity. Its natural oils and acids protect the wood from insects and weather. However, while you can use chemical strippers on cedar, it’s not recommended for removing the paint.

A common cause of peeling paint is dirt and debris that wasn’t properly removed before painting. You can use a power washing to clean cedar siding as long as you set the sprayer at low pressure to prevent damaging the soft surface of the wood. Once you’ve cleaned the siding and let it dry, you can paint it with a urethane-acrylic house paint.

When you look at peeling paint, you’re actually looking at long strands of paint that dried but instead of sticking to the wood, it adhered to the dirt in the wood’s grain. When the paint dries, it curls into long strands that eventually break from their own weight or loosened from strong wind.

While it may look unsightly, the cedar isn’t damaged. But paint that did adhere to the wood must be removed before painting.

If your with cedar siding has a smooth surface, scrape the paint and clean the wood before painting. If the cedar is rough-sawn, you might only need to remove the paint with a stiff wire brush but take care not to damage the cedar.

If these methods don’t work, you’ll need to bring in a professional to remove the paint by using either a dry ice blaster or soda blaster. Both systems follow the sandblasting method used to clean steel and other hard surfaces.

Sandblasting can remove the surface paint but it also removes some of the substrate. Soda or dry ice doesn’t cause as much damage as sandblasting. Because dry ice vaporizes on impact, the only cleanup necessary is the loose paint.