Home Siding - Clean, Paint or Replace?

Regardless of the type and quality of the material that was used for your home siding, age, environmental conditions and bad weather will lead to normal wear and tear that will eventually require some attention. While attentive, routine maintenance can be very beneficial in keeping things in good shape, it is inevitable that more intensive repairs will eventually need to be done. Whenever you reach this situation, you are faced with a basic question, which hinges on the type of siding and the extent of the damage. Should you clean, paint or replace your home siding?


A thorough cleaning can go a long way whenever you have wood, vinyl or aluminum siding. It is actually recommended that you clean this type of siding at least once each year. One of the most common ways to do this is to clean with a pressure washer, which you can either buy or rent. When cleaning, always keep the following in mind:

  • Wood – Always check wood siding very carefully for any gaps or holes before cleaning with a pressure washer. This will help you prevent extra moisture from getting under the wood, which can lead to bigger problems. Furthermore, you should be watchful of any gouging and splintering of your wood siding, due to the fact that it is a softer material.
  • Aluminum – Cleaning aluminum siding can be somewhat easy with a mild soap solution. Most experts recommend that you clean your aluminum siding more often than wood siding to help prevent any corrosion and oxidation that could occur over time.
  • Vinyl – Vinyl siding, like wood siding, can be cleaned with a pressure washer. Keep in mind that textured vinyl siding may need more cleaning than non-textured, because the dirt can get stuck in all of the nooks and crannies.


Painting your siding is something that definitely takes more time and money than a simple cleaning. In some cases, however, it just cannot be avoided. When done properly, a high quality paint job can keep your home looking great for many years to come.

  • Wood – Whenever you have cracked or peeling paint on your wood siding, you should probably consider a fresh coat of paint. In order to do the job properly, you need to strip, grind or sand the existing layers of paint smooth and apply a primer coat to the bare spots. Then you can apply your coat of paint in the color that appeals to you. If you put in the work up front, you can end up with a paint job that lasts between 4 and 10 years.
  • Aluminum – Although aluminum siding is designed to last 30-40 years, the baked-enamel finish on some can fade over time, leading to a dull, chalky look. This is what we mean when we talk about oxidation. Whenever this reaches a certain point, it cannot always be remedied with a simple peeling. For many homeowners, painting your aluminum siding can solve this problem. Because aluminum doesn’t expand and contract in the same way that wood siding does, a high quality paint job on your aluminum siding could last up to 12 years.
  • Vinyl – For a long time, most people did not recommend painting vinyl siding. Over the years, however, many paint manufacturers have designed paint products that are geared specifically to this type of paint job. Because of this, you can also paint your vinyl siding without any of the negative effects of the past.

In all cases, I recommend hiring a quality painting contractor to do the job. It may cost a bit more, but will last a lot longer.


Unfortunately, paint can’t fix some of the bigger issues, such as large cracks, wood rot and splits. Aluminum can get dents and punctures, and vinyl can crack, especially in areas with frequent cold weather.

  • Wood – Wood siding, in particular, is known to deteriorate rather quickly if it is left exposed to the elements and excess moisture. It can also be an ideal home to many insects, unlike aluminum and vinyl. That being said, it is very easy to replace only certain portions of wood siding before painting. This can lead to significant cost savings, when you don’t have to replace the siding on your entire home.
  • Aluminum – Damaged aluminum siding typically cannot be fixed with a simple coat of paint. Aluminum siding is known to be dented and twisted during hail and high winds. Whenever this happens, your only true option is replacement.
  • Vinyl – Vinyl siding can also be replaced in sections, whenever it becomes cracked, warped or damaged. This is fairly simple to do, but you must be careful to ensure that your colors match.

Whether you end up cleaning, painting or replacing the siding on your home, keeping up with basic maintenance tasks such as this can have a very positive effect on your home as a hole. By cleaning your siding frequently, you can identify problem areas such as cracks and holes that could otherwise become an entryway for moisture, insects and other pests into your home. By maintaining your siding, you not only keep your home looking great, but also protect it from the elements.

What type of home siding do you have and how do you maintain the beauty of your home?