How to Handle Prefinished Siding Before and During Installation

When buying prefinished siding and trim there are some instructions for receiving, storing and handling the material so that your final project will look sharp and will need minimal touch up (if any at all).

Before the material is shipped from our factory we make sure that every board is protected to make sure the finish does not get damaged during transit. The siding is mini-bundled in packs of 4 boards which will make it easier to stack and unpack, which also makes it easier for the installer to carry from the pallet to the work area to be cut size and installed.

Before Unloading Your Material Off of the Truck

  • Make sure that the exterior wrap is intact and is not torn in any place.
  • If there is a tear in the outer wrap or any visible signs of damage, please note on drivers waybill before signing. Failure to document damage to material on waybill means that you assume responsibility for the material as is.
  • If there is noticeable damage from the outside of each unit, please document with a camera or cell phone and contact us immediately. Again, please write damaged on waybill before signing.
  • Each unit should be removed with a forklift and picked up from the middle of the pallet with forks spread as far as possible to prevent damage to material. Any damage done by the forklift will be the responsibility of the forklift driver/operator.

How To Properly Store Siding On The Job Site

First of all you will need to find a clean, dry, flat location to store the siding while it’s waiting to be installed. Do not store in a location that is prone to flooding, on a hill or any other location where it can be hit by other equipment on the job site.

When storing material outdoors, place a plastic cover over the soil to prevent moisture absorption. Place pallet on 6” blocks that provide level support. By keeping the pallet up on blocks, this will prevent the material from getting wet if you do have a storm that moves through the area.

Keep siding covered but you will need air circulation to keep moisture from building up inside the original protective wrap. Take the outer Legacy Prefinishing branded protective wrap off of each bundle at the bottom and sides to allow fresh air to circulate. Keep the material covered at all times to keep rain, snow and moisture off of the material while waiting for installation.

Do NOT install siding if the material has become saturated.

Do NOT install siding until it has fully dried out (if saturated).

How to Handle Prefinished Siding

Fiber Cement or Engineered Wood (LP SmartSide) Lap Siding will be packed in mini bundles of 4 boards making it easier to transport from the pallet to the installation site. 

Plastic Bands need to be cut with a safety razor knife or sharp tool but be careful not to scratch the finish on the boards.

Foam slip sheeting is used between each board to prevent blocking (paint sticking), marring and scratching of the finish.

Do NOT unpack all of the material from the mini-bundles and place boards back on top of each other without slip sheeting.

If any of the material does not look consistent with the rest of the unit, please contact us immediately and take pictures if possible. 

Do NOT install questionable product!

Do NOT carry product in a flat position. Always carry on edge in mini-bundles or with the material back to back (finish face out).

Do NOT slide prefinished siding material across each other or across any rough surface or you will damage the finish.

How to Cut Prefinished Siding

All Legacy Prefinished Products should be cut so you do not damage the finished face. 

We recommend cutting the material face up with a compound miter saw. Fiber cement products will require a special diamond tipped blade. You will need to follow the manufacturers recommendations for cutting and personal protection and follow the OSHA Safety Management site to prevent silica dust exposure in fiber cement siding installation.

Always support the product when cutting large pieces. Don’t let the long end just fall off of the table end as this is a good way to damage any drop lengths that may be usable somewhere else on the job.

LP SmartSide siding products can be cut with a traditional wood saw blade.

Note: To Maintain the warranty on your siding products, all field cuts must be sealed with a 100% latex primer or latex paint. Your order comes with touch up paint made for sealing all field cuts.  

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at 704-528-7136 or by e-mail to

What Is Prefinished Siding?

Factory pre-finishing is a value added process for Architects, home Designers, Interior Designers, Custom Home Builders, Contractors and Home Owners where paintable or stainable materials are coated in a factory controlled environment prior to installation. The finish is factory finished to provide a more consistent and higher quality job.

When did prefinishing start?

Prefinishing (factory finishing) has been around for more than 40 years and was originally designed to apply stains, primers and paint on Natural wood products. This process sped up the labor intensive process of staining the siding on site. By factory finishing the siding it was the best way to cover all six sides (also known as back priming) sealing out moisture which would help the wood siding last longer. With the advancements in siding products, including Fiber Cement and Engineered wood, this process works very well and allow us to custom paint siding in any color you can imagine.

What types of material can be prefinished?

A wide variety of materials can be prefinished from Fiber Cement products including those from Allura, James Hardie and Nichiha. Engineered wood products such as LP SmartSide benefit very well from prefinishing as does many composite materials such as Boral siding and trim products. Of course natural wood products such as Cedar, Cypress and Pine benefit greatly from prefinishing and is the best way to apply a primer, stain or paint to the wood ensuring six sided coverage.

What are the benefits of prefinishing?

  • Instant Curb Appeal – because the material is finished before installing, the project comes to life as the product is installed.
  • No Weather Delays – All products are finished indoors in a controlled environment and allows us to paint when it is snowing or raining.
  • Available Year Round – Extends the building season
  • Instant UV and Moisture Protection
  • No Lap Marks – Also known as brush marks or overspray when using an airless sprayer.
  • No Streaking – Consistent coverage on every board
  • No Shrink Lines – which can show when boards shrink during cold weather
  • No Overspray or Drips – No runs, inconsistent finish or drips
  • Five or Six Sided Protection – Natural wood is finished on all sides while Fiber Cement and Engineered wood are finished on five sides.
  • Factory Controlled Quality
  • Warranties Available


Prefinishing (factory finishing) is a great way to get a high quality finish applied to exterior siding products and interior wood products for all types of homes. Architects, Home Designers and Home Owners can select colors and textures to match the overall home design before construction ever starts. The home builder or contractor orders the materials prefinished to their customers requirements and the material is installed completely finished with only minor touch up needed. Both the home owner and the contractor now have a finished product that has been finished in a controlled environment for the best quality job and finished for that job specifically.

Prefinishing Is The Best Way To Paint When Weather Is Bad!

When building a new home or commercial building, painting it on site has quite a number of factors that are out of your control which can cause some significant delays especially if you live in a climate that has cold winters or quite a bit of rain. Pre-finishing the exterior siding, trim and soffit before it is installed, will make that task much easier and can save money in the long run.

How Cold is Too Cold To Paint?

Most if not all paint manufacturers recommend a minimum temperature of 50 degrees when applying paint to any product including oil based and water based paints/stains. Even though many of today’s latex paints are formulated to dry at temperatures as low as 35 degrees, these lower temperatures can cause the paint to dry slower.

Minimum Overnight Temperatures

The minimum overnight temperature should be 35 degrees and should be above this mark for 24 to 48 hours to ensure proper adhesion to the siding. Other issues such as applying the paint when it is above 50 degrees but nighttime temperatures fall quickly, the dew can stop the paint from properly drying which again can cause staining and adhesion problems. 

How soon should you paint after it rains or snows?

Rain and snow can cause further delays in getting a home painted on site. After a rain or snow event, the house still needs to dry out before the paint can be applied. Some southern facing walls will dry quickly while others (Northern or shaded sides) will need more time to dry. When the exterior is properly dry, the home will need 48 hours after the paint is applied to dry properly before the next weather event. 

Solution To Cold Weather Painting

Here at Legacy Pre-Finishing, we work hard to solve these problems by pre-finishing (factory machine finishing) all types of exterior siding, trim, soffit and fascia products as well as interior wall and ceiling boards. Our 42,000 square foot facility is a temperature controlled environment where we are always above 50 degrees. We do our best to make sure all incoming material is dry but there are occasions that are out of our control that require us to dry materials on racks inside our facility. Once the material reaches the proper moisture level, only then will it be approved for production. We machine apply the finish whether it is a solid color paint or stain and then we place the products on racks where it is allowed to air dry per the manufacturer’s specifications to ensure the best adhesion possible. Once the finish has dried properly, the material is stacked down on pallets and prepared to ship to the desired location.

When pre-finishing, what colors are available?

Almost any color can be applied to the exterior siding for your new home. We have samples on our website of the most popular solid colors and stains, but if you have a color you absolutely love, let us know and we will create a sample for you to review. All products are made to order to your color specifications using only the highest quality stains and/or paints. Touch up paint is included with each order to repair small nicks and seal all end cuts.