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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