Every spring, homeowners emerge from their homes to check on their exterior features. They check for damage, they see what needs to be cleaned, and they see what needs to be touched up with a fresh coat of paint. And their siding is usually one of the first things they inspect.
Siding painting and cleaning is very common in the spring, but so is siding replacement, and it’s not always easy to tell which one you need. Does your wood siding just need a fresh coat of paint? Does your vinyl siding just need to be power washed? Can you just patch that hole in your siding, or is it time to tear it all down and completely update the look and feel of your home?
If you are looking at freshening up the siding on your home this spring, here is how you can tell if you need to clean, paint or replace your siding.
When to Clean Your Siding
For the best results, homeowners should look to clean their siding once per year, or as needed. All siding materials, from vinyl to aluminum, wood, and everything in between, will accumulate dirt over time. Pressure washing is usually the key to getting most of this off. There are companies that can be hired to do this, but if you are going it alone, remember to cover your windows and check for any holes or gaps in your siding. This will prevent water from leaking into your home or getting behind your siding, which can cause mold to grow and wood to rot.
You’ll know it’s time to clean your siding if there is excessive dirt, moss or mildew accumulated on the materials.
When to Paint Your Siding
This is a much more complicated question to answer as it highly depends on the type of siding you have, the type of paint you use, how severe the weather has been and some other factors. Keep in mind that higher quality paint will last longer, but if the winters have been especially harsh in your area, this can shorten the lifespan of even the most expensive paints.
If you have wood siding, it’s easy to tell when it needs to be painted or stained. Just look out for peeling, cracked or chipped paint. If you have metal siding, it’s not uncommon for the finish on it to loosen and fade over time (despite the siding material lasting longer than any other). The good news is that aluminum and many other metal siding materials can be painted again and again, so if you notice a bit of faded, cracked or peeling paint, feel free to paint away.
If you have vinyl siding, you may want to assess the situation before painting. For many years, siding experts didn’t recommend painting vinyl siding. However, manufacturers have developed paint that goes well with the material. Just make sure to check the manufacturer’s warranty and make sure you won’t void it by painting the material. Also, since vinyl siding has the shortest lifespan of all the types of siding materials, keep in mind that it may need to be replaced. No amount of paint will fix badly worn, loose and damaged siding.
When to Replace Your Siding
All siding materials have different lifespans that have variances based on how extreme the weather conditions are in your area. If you suspect that your siding needs to be replaced based on how badly it looks or how long it has been on your home, it’s worth it to contact a siding company to come out and inspect it. Their estimate will be free, and it will help you determine if replacing it is necessary this year.