Tips for Painting Vinyl, Cement, Wood, and Aluminum Siding

Increase your curb appeal and remove oxidization and mildew with these tips on how to successfully clean and paint your worn siding to make it look like new.

Exterior White House

The siding on your house will eventually show wear like any surface exposed to the harsh outdoor environment. A thorough cleaning may be all that's needed to remove dirt and grime, but the color may still fade. When it does, you can bring back its original luster with a paint job, either in the same or a different siding house color.

Learn how to paint siding on your house to give it updated curb appeal. Make sure to take all the necessary steps for a quality paint job that will hold up to the test of time with our tips for painting siding.

How to Wash Siding

power washer hooked up to hose sprayer on deck

Before painting siding, you'll want a clean surface to work with. Washing siding by hand with warm water and car-washing detergent will do the job, but power washing is faster and more convenient. Power washers, much like the sprayers found at do-it-yourself car washes, can be rented from home centers or rental shops. In addition, high-pressure sprayers that can be connected to garden hoses are available at hardware stores and home centers.

How to Remove Oxide

modern exterior with solar panels

Painting aluminum siding may require some extra work. With aluminum, the coating can begin to erode and chalk; if the metal becomes exposed, it can oxidize. If you have residue that's white on aluminum siding, the siding has oxidized. You'll need to carefully remove the white residue with steel wool or sandpaper, then thoroughly clean the surface. Make sure you know what type of siding you have before you begin. Don't try this with vinyl siding because it will cause deep, irreparable scratches.

How to Kill Mildew

house with vertical paneling

Mildew is a common problem under porch ceilings, eaves, or soffits. To kill it, apply a diluted bleach solution, then rinse until it is clean. Always exercise caution when working with bleach; don't apply other cleaning chemicals to the siding simultaneously. If you plan to paint those areas, look for a mold-killing primer to prevent issues before they start.

Pick the Right Paint

light blue primer open can with stir stick

To get the best results when painting siding, spend a little extra money for superior paint. You'll get a durable and long-lasting finish from top-quality acrylic latex paint. It's designed to adhere to factory-finished siding, preventing common paint problems such as peeling, blistering, and flaking. In addition, the flexibility of acrylic latex allows it to expand or contract with the siding as it heats or cools during daily and seasonal temperature changes. Quality paint costs $20—$80 per gallon.

Different types of paint are recommended for various house siding options. Check with a representative at your local paint store for type and brand recommendations for your particular siding material.

Wood Siding: Many experts suggest priming before you paint wood siding to prevent flaking or chipping. Also, look into paints that contain additives that resist mildew and ensure uniform coats, allowing you to reproduce the appearance of the original siding.

Metal Siding: Use a metal-paint primer to paint aluminum siding. For steel siding, look for a latex-bonding primer instead. If the aluminum siding is dented, use a flat finish to help hide the damage.

Vinyl Siding: Don't choose a dark paint color to paint vinyl siding. Dark colors absorb more heat from the sun and can cause vinyl siding panels to buckle. Many paint brands offer a line of "vinyl safe" paints and siding colors.

Cement Siding: There's no need to prime before you paint cement siding; it often comes pre-primed. Many experts recommend using 100% acrylic paint on cement for the best results.

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