New Paint vs. New Siding as a Home Improvement Project

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in Frugality

home improvement sidingMany homes in the United States are covered with aluminum or vinyl siding. If you do have this siding on your home, you probably already know that your siding is not going to last forever. Generally speaking, you can expect your siding to stay in good condition for approximately 20 – 25 years. Of course, this can vary greatly based on where you live and how much home repair and maintenance you perform on your house. Homes in coastal areas and houses located in especially sunny or humid climes can expect earlier signs of wear and tear. Maintenance for the siding on your home might include pressuring washing, repairing loose sections and repairing damage as it occurs.

New Paint or New Siding?

When your siding eventually begins to wear down and look old, you have two options:

  1. Paint your existing siding.
  2. Install new siding.

What’s the better option? There’s no easy answer, but here are five points to consider to help you make your decision:

1. The overall condition of your siding should be taken into account.
There is a big difference between siding that looks bad because the color is fading, and siding that has been beaten down and damaged over the years.

If your siding is still in good condition but the color has begun to fade, painting may be the best option. You can paint your siding for a fraction of the cost of replacing your old siding. Last summer, I faced this exact situation. My siding was in good condition but slightly faded, so I decided to price both options. Brand new siding was going to cost approximately $10,000. The price of painting was half the cost, coming in at $5,000. I decided to have the existing siding painted and I was thrilled with the end result.

2. Paint is an option, but it will not last as long as replacing your siding.
There is nothing wrong with painting your siding, but keep in mind that this is not a long-term home improvement and will require more of your attention in a few years. The painting company that I hired specialized in vinyl siding. The owner told me to expect the paint to last anywhere from five to seven years. At that point, I will have another decision to make: paint again or finally get new siding.

3. Painting can be a do-it-yourself job, but with several caveats.
If you have some experience and the desire to save money, you may be able to paint your own siding. But remember, this is a big job no matter how much siding you have to paint.

In most cases, you are going to need to rent or buy a scaffold system to gain easy access to all areas of your home. You will also need a professional paint sprayer, a pressure washer and an assortment of other tools to paint your siding.

Are you willing to rent the equipment that you need? Are you willing to climb up on a scaffolding and risk injury? Do you have the time to dedicate to the project? I toyed with the idea of painting my own siding, but in the end realized that the job was entirely too big for me to handle.

4. New siding is the best long-term choice.
Although painting is less expensive than replacing the siding, over the long haul you may end up spending more money if you paint the siding on your home.

For example, let’s say you decide to have your siding repainted once every five years at a cost of $5,000 each time. After 20 years, you will have paid $20,000. On the other hand, new siding would only cost $10,000 and you could expect at least a 20-year life span. While saving money upfront is important, it is a good idea to consider the long-term financial implications.

Tip: It may make more sense to paint and save money if you plan on moving in the near future. This will give your home a fresh look without paying for the cost of new siding. Conversely, if you plan to stay in your house for a long time, replacing the siding will ensure that the siding is more durable for many years into the future.

5. If you aren’t doing the job yourself, make sure that you hire the best company for the project.
Whether you are looking to hire a professional painter or a company that specializes in installing siding, it is essential that you compare your options and choose the right company for the job. There are a myriad of ways to learn more about a prospective contractor and their completed projects:

  • Word-of-mouth references from friends or coworkers are ideal because these are generally unbiased opinions. In addition, these people will probably let you visit their homes to see the quality of the work.
  • Check the Better Business Bureau website  to see whether there have been complaints lodged against your contractor. Sometimes there will be an unhappy customer, but the key is to determine whether the complaint was resolved.
  • Search the Construction Contractors Board website for your state to verify that the contractor’s license is up to date.
  • Use the Internet to learn more about your contractor. Experian’s ContractorCheck is a paid service that conducts background checks on contractors. Angie’s List is a fee-based website that compiles user ratings and reviews of contractors. Finally, Google the contractor name + location to see what other information is available online.

Once you’ve narrowed down your options, make sure to obtain at least three quotes before making a decision. The quote I chose for my painting job was for $5,000. The other quotes were for $4,500 and $6,000. As you can see, I did not make my decision based on price alone. Instead, I selected the company that had the most experience painting vinyl siding that also charged a reasonable price.

Final Thoughts

There are many factors to consider when deciding between painting your old siding or installing new siding. Perhaps most importantly, you need to weigh the costs against the lifespan of the solution you choose, to ensure satisfaction with the end results.

Have you repainted your siding? Do you think it’s worth replacing your siding so that you don’t need to worry about it for 20 years? Share your comments here!

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Jerry 2012/09/10 at 4:37 am

I have just never liked the look of siding. It’s just so ‘perfect’ looking that it looks unnatural. And, having it is not insurance you won’t have issues with your house because if there’s a leak it can lead to major problems. I prefer wood and paint. Good old-fashioned stuff.

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Daisy@Everything Finance 2012/09/30 at 10:52 am

I would hate to paint my siding only to have to replace it just a few years down the road. The work and the cost is too much. I’m one of those people who probably wouldn’t do anything to it until it needed replacing.

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Tony @ Intangible Investor 2012/10/08 at 5:01 pm

I’d rather do new paint. Although new siding is a great long term choice, I like to plow all the money I saved back into my businesses, which generate much higher returns than the money I’d save in the long term from new siding.

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Maggie@SquarePennies 2012/11/01 at 1:57 pm

Whatever you choose, get at least 3 estimates before picking someone to do the work. We just had a new roof put on & saved tons of money by getting estimates from 10 people. Yes, it’s a pain, but it pays off big time.

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Pam@Pennysaverblog 2013/03/21 at 3:22 pm

Definitely food for thought. We bought a house last year and we’ll likely have to start thinking about either residing or painting soon. Painting is so much less expensive, but like you mentioned, it’s not the longest lasting option for sure.

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Free Money Minute 2013/04/15 at 1:46 pm

For me, siding that is nearly maintenance free is much better than painting. I guess I am more into having an efficient and simply life is some ways. Other ways, not so much.

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TB at BLueCollarWorkman 2013/04/25 at 8:04 am

Awesome, dude! THis is my first time at this site, but I love a good DIY post! I’m always trying to get people to do their research and DIY stuff more often. It can usually be WAY cheaper than hiring someone. Great post!

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Ketan Gaikwad 2013/04/27 at 6:03 am

Great share. Sometimes,painting can be expensive as well but its certainly not the longest lasting option.

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Your Daily Finance 2013/06/06 at 10:41 pm

I guess it comes down with what you are comfortable and able to spend at that present time. if you dont have money to fix the siding it doesn’t really matter how long it will last. If you know you have it or will have it in the near future get it. Unless you are planning on selling the home then in that case paint it. Not a siding person myself though.

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Simon | Modest Money 2013/07/19 at 10:04 am

I think if your financial situation allows and your house really needs a rework, go for the siding. It might be expensive now but will last for some time. It also does depend on how long you plan on living in the house…if its not for long, paint it!

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Jimmy 2013/09/13 at 1:43 pm

I agree with Simon above – if it’s not for long, paint it!

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Elissa @ 20s Finances 2013/10/25 at 1:24 pm

I paint – I’m never in one place for too long anyway. But siding is a good long term investment. DIY home improvement projects are always a lot of fun for me.

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Amy 2014/01/19 at 7:59 am

You have to take your current cash flow situation and your future plans into consideration as well. If you don’t have the $10,000 for new siding you will go with the new paint or even try to do it yourself. This is especially true if you are planning on selling the home. It may not be that important that siding will last 10 years when you are not going to be there to see it.

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John 2014/06/21 at 11:15 pm

Sometimes, artwork can be costly as well but its certainly not the lengthiest enduring choice. I think if your economical predicament allows and your home really needs a remodel, go for the home siding.

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