Vinyl Siding Or Paint – Which is For You?


Chipped, cracked, peeling paint is unsightly and increases a homes vulnerability to environmental factors. Updating the exterior is something that most homeowners will inevitably face and one that requires some consideration.

The most popular and economical choices for home exterior are paint and vinyl siding. Both offer a wide selection to choose from. Both options have distinct advantages and drawbacks. The individual needs of the homeowner and the home itself guide the decision on which will provide the most satisfactory result.

The first area of consideration is what you have to work with. What is the condition of your existing exterior? Is the paint chipping, cracked or peeling? Are there surface cracks, rotting wood or defects that need correction?

While preparation of the existing surface is crucial to successful application of the any product, paint adheres directly to the existing surface and therefore chipping, peeling or bubbling paint must be must be removed by scraping or power washing. Cracks must be filled, boards replaced, etc. Stained or moldy areas must be thoroughly cleaned and adequately primed.

While you may need to apply strips or framework to install vinyl siding, vinyl can be used to cover up a lot of the above-mentioned problems. This could be a smarter choice if the home requires extensive surface preparation before application of paint.

The second area of consideration is what you want to end up with. Are you looking for something totally unique, a simple change color or a long-term alteration of the exterior? Is extreme heat or cold a factor?

Of course paint offers the biggest selection of colors. Just check out the rows and rows of color cards in the paint department of your local hardware store. There are also an amazing variety of specialty paints available and even paint additives for extra texture or to create the look of stone, wood or metal. There are paints that provide an insulation factor, paints resist mold, paints that reflect or absorb sunlight. Most standard exterior paints have an expected lifetime of about 6 years, although there are higher quality paints that offer a much longer guarantee.

Vinyl siding has an average expected lifetime of 25 years, with some claims of a lifetime warranty. The color selection for vinyl siding is nowhere near that of paint, but there are dozens of color choices. Siding can offer a more dramatic effect in that there are vinyl styles that can turn your home into clapboard, brick, stone, log. If insulation is a consideration, vinyl siding is available with an insulation factor and vinyl also allows for insulation to be applied underneath.

The final consideration is cost. For those on a very tight budget paint may be the most economical choke. As mentioned, a wide selection of paint types are available from the very basic “contractor grade” to that with a 20-year warranty. Paint can often be purchased on sale or as a “mis-tint.” Also, painting is something that most homeowners can take on themselves, which saves the cost of hiring a contractor. One thing to remember when calculating the cost of paint is to include at least one coat of primer.

Vinyl siding will require a larger initial financial outlay and is not likely to be found on the clearance rack. However, vinyl siding has a much longer expected lifetime and usually outlasts even the best of paints. While installing vinyl siding is not a job every homeowner can tackle, it often comes in pre-cut sections and requires no more than “hanging and nailing.”

This post was written by

jasonjason – who has written posts on Home Tips Plus.
I'm a father of three, married and a home owner since 2006. I've worked in fixing up homes and rental properties.

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