a gouge in white painted clapboard siding
Photo: Webb Chappell
Q: Years ago, someone used a pressure washer to remove loose paint from the cedar clapboard on my house. How can I repair the gouges before painting my house again?
John Frenzel, Saginaw, MI



A: Norm Abram replies: How you tackle this problem depends on how deep the gouges are. Anything less than about 1/16 inch deep can be sanded down; ‚Ä®filler probably won't hold well anyway. Feather the edges of each gouge with 120-grit paper and a palm sander or sanding block-not a belt sander. Then, prime the bare wood and paint. I'll bet nobody will even notice the areas unless they inspect the surface carefully—or you point them out!
If the gouges are deeper, you'll have to fill them with exterior-grade spackling, such as Ready Patch. Here's how to fill those divots:

1. Spot-prime each gouge with high-quality exterior primer, which will adhere well to the wood and provide a good surface for the filler to adhere to.

2. When the primer is dry, fill the gouge with the spackling. Holes more than ¼ inch deep will need two applications. Ready Patch doesn't shrink, so you can smooth it with a putty knife flush with the siding surface.

3. When the spackling is dry, sand it smooth and wipe off the sanding dust. Then brush primer over the repair before you apply the top coats. Priming is necessary to hide spackling repairs.
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