These tips will help you successfully clean and paint your worn siding to make it look like new. Learn how to tackle all kinds of siding surfaces, including wood, vinyl, and aluminum.
Exterior White House

Like any surface that's exposed to the harsh outdoor environment, siding will eventually show wear. 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 house siding color. Learn how to paint siding to give your home 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. 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 aluminum siding has oxidized, you will need to remove the white residue carefully with steel wool or sandpaper, then give the surface a thorough cleaning. Make sure you know what type of siding you have before you begin. Do not 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 at the same time. If you are planning 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 a top-quality acrylic latex paint. It's designed to adhere steadfastly to any factory-finished siding, preventing common paint problems such as peeling, blistering, and flaking. 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 may cost as much as $25 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 metal-paint primer to paint aluminum siding. For steel siding, look for a latex-bonding primer instead. If 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 is no need to prime before you paint cement siding; it often comes preprimed. Many experts recommend using 100% acrylic paint on cement for best results.

Comments (1)

Better Homes & Gardens Member
March 1, 2021
Painting the whole house is no small job to take on. It takes experienced painters more whole days to paint an entire house exterior (so likely at least double that if you’re an amateur), and costs an average $2,000 to get done said Painters Hornsby guys.