(To paint or not to paint… that is the question.) There is no such thing as a maintenance free home, whether painted or sided.Any house, regardless of age or building material, requires routine maintenance. Homeowners frequently ask a painter's opinion about vinyl or aluminum siding. Siding covers areas that need attention and hides a problem, but siding sometimes aggravates a problem. The most debilitating aspect of the current siding epidemic is the false sense of security it gives the homeowners.
A siding cover-up gives us a false sense of security because it prevents a homeowner from monitoring the condition of the house. People are misled into thinking that if they can't see the problem, it isn't there. Wrong. Unsightly exterior damage, badly peeling paint, warped clapboards all reflect deeper problems that require more attention than a cosmetic fix-up. These problems are related to water or humidity condensing within the walls. It is important to deal with these moisture problems before making the home look good again with paint or with siding. Demand for insulated, airtight, climate controlled houses puts new strain on older homes. Peeling paint, mildew, musty odors and moisture damage are symptoms the wise homeowner will heed. Beyond the physical blemishes to vinyl or aluminum siding (dents, cuts, worn surfaces, and rust spots on older siding), siding detracts from the historic appearance. Decorative details like corner boards and cornices are removed thereby eliminating the qualities that give an old house its character and beauty. Aluminum and vinyl siding marketing strategies tout the rewards of never having to paint again. But, vinyl and aluminum siding both require an occasional face-lift, just as a wood-sided home does. Today, every major paint company sells paint specifically recommended for aluminum siding and if you are thinking of repainting your siding go ahead because if the job is done right by a qualified, licensed painting contractor it will last along time and be well worth the price you paid. Remember when the ad says, "vinyl is final," think again. American Painting Contractor magazine reports a high incidence of vinyl siding repaint work. Apparently the deteriorating effects of ultraviolet light cannot be underestimated.
Most homes that were aluminum sided 30 years or so ago have already been or need repainting today because the original coatings have broken down under the elements of the sun and weather. Granted most sidings last longer than paint, you have to weigh the difference in cost and decide what your preference is. While siding your house usually costs four to six times as much as painting it one could say that there are benefits to both. Painting your house every five years can offer a nice change in colors. Giving your house a fresh look every so often is a wonderful thing! When you're making your siding decision, search out homes sided five years ago. Look for amount of dents, faded colors, siding that sags. And if you have an older home, remember the decision to apply vinyl or aluminum siding is a serious one. It is a decision not to be made lightly. - Alex Boozenny President - Action Painting Company