Finishes for Tongue and Groove Pine Siding

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Furring strips
100 and 180-grit sandpaper
Tongue and groove pine siding
Wide and narrow paint brushes
Paint roller
Acrylic, water-based wood stain
Clear, acrylic, water-based finish
Dust mask

Nothing adds elegance like installing tongue and groove pine siding. The construction gives this type of siding its distinctive look and durability. It can be used both inside and outside, and it can be painted, stained, or clear coated for a beautiful natural-looking finish.


Prepare for your siding project by determining how much material will be needed. It's always a good idea to add five to 10 percent to account for miss-cuts.

You'll also need to make sure that the surface you will be attaching the pine paneling to is solid. Pine tongue and groove panels are normally installed vertically, which can create the need for installing horizontal furring strips to secure the siding. For the exterior of your home, install furring strips on top of the weatherproofing and vapor barriers. For paneling inside, remember to fur out for electrical outlets and around trim. Install furring strips horizontally, from floor to ceiling every 16 inches on center across the face of the wall.


Paint cans and paint pans

Sand the siding with 100-grit sandpaper and wipe clean. If you're painting the pine paneling, the first step is to prime it thoroughly. Spot prime any big knots with an oil-based stain killer, and then prime the entire surface, including the tongue, with a paintbrush and roller. For exterior use, be sure to prime the backside as well. This helps prevent moisture from warping the board later on. It's never a bad idea to spot prime any butt joints and the ends of each board as well.

Apply the first coat of paint after the primer has had a chance to dry. Then, after installation, you can apply your second coat to everything for a professional finish.

Having several sets of sawhorses ready can be handy. One set of sawhorses can keep the paneling at a comfortable height while priming, sanding, painting, or staining. Use several other sets to hold the paneling while drying.


Applying wood stain

Staining pine tongue and groove paneling can create a stunning effect as well. Pine is a natural softwood with a visible grain, so it takes stain very well. Be sure to first test your stain colors on scrap pieces of wood until you find the right shade. Then, apply your choice of stain with a short nap paint roller or paint pad and wipe with a rag. For a deeper, richer shade, apply two coats. Sand lightly and wipe the surface clean before adding your top coat. If you're planning to use stained paneling outside, seal the back edges, top, and bottom with a clear polyurethane sealer, often referred to as a staining sealer. Apply the stain to the front of the board before sealing the back and edges, and then let it dry.


Using an acrylic latex polyurethane, you can seal your tongue and groove pine paneling with a foam paint roller, brush, or paint pad. A paint pad cuts out bubbles and allows you to spread the polyurethane evenly and quickly, so it's the recommended tool. Most latex polyurethanes are thin and somewhat milky but will dry to a crystal-clear finish. Acrylic polyurethanes do not yellow over time, and their quick dry time will also allow you to apply two or three finishes the same day, for extreme durability and wash-ability.