Making Dingy Siding Look New with Paint

Maintaining the exterior of your home is not just important; it’s also crucial. If your siding looks dingy, start your regular maintenance! Well-painted siding provides protection from the elements and enhanced curb appeal. It’s also a relatively easy, economical, but effective way to avoid costly repairs.

Painting your home’s siding can dramatically transform your home’s look, offering a fresh, updated appearance. It allows color customization, boosts curb appeal, and potentially increases the property’s value.

Assessing your siding

Assessing your siding

1. What are the types of siding commonly found in homes? 

  • Vinyl siding – Economical but durable, but it also requires maintenance. Vinyl siding comes in various colors and styles.
  • Wood siding – Offers a classic and natural look. Wood siding is available in cedar, pine, and redwood varieties. It needs regular maintenance to prevent insects and rot.
  • Aluminum siding – Durable, lightweight, and resistant to fire and insects. But it can dent easily and may require periodic painting.
  • Fiber cement siding – This siding is made from a mix of cement, sand, and cellulose fibers. It’s durable, fire-resistant, and low-maintenance. It also mimics the appearance of genuine wood.
  • Brick siding – It is durable and low in maintenance. Brick siding provides excellent insulation and a timeless appearance.
  • Stucco siding – This siding is made from cement, sand, and lime. It offers a seamless look and good durability, especially in dry climates.

2. Signs your siding needs a makeover

  • Fading color – It indicates aging and sun damage, reducing the aesthetic appeal of your home.
  • Mildew and mold – These signs suggest moisture issues, leading to structural damage if not addressed.
  • Stains and discoloration – These flaws occur due to water damage, dirt, or environmental pollutants. They also indicate the need for cleaning or replacement.
  • Cracks and gaps — They allow water infiltration, leading to severe damage.
  • Warping or buckling – It indicates potential water damage or poor installation.
  • Peeling paint or wallpaper inside – It suggests moisture penetration through the siding.

3. Tips on Inspecting your siding for damage before painting

  • Conduct a visual inspection – Walk around your home and look for noticeable signs of damage. They include cracks, holes, warping, or discoloration.
  • Check for moisture damage – Look for soft spots or signs of rot. Check near seams and corners where water might accumulate.
  • Inspect seams and joints – Ensure all seams and joints are properly sealed to prevent water infiltration.
  • Do a stability test – Gently press on the siding to check for any loose or unstable sections.
  • Look for pest damage – Check for signs of insect infestation. Termites, ants, or other pests might have compromised the integrity of the siding.
  • Assess caulking and trim – Ensure the caulking around windows, doors, and trim is intact and not cracked or missing.

Choosing the right paint and tools

Choosing the right paint and tools

1. Paint types suitable for different siding materials

  • Wood siding – Acrylic latex paint is ideal for its durability and flexibility. You can use oil-based paint, but it requires more maintenance.
  • Vinyl siding – Acrylic paint formulated for vinyl is recommended. It adheres well and expands and contracts with the material.
  • Metal siding – Use acrylic or oil-based paint specifically designed for metal to prevent rust and ensure good adhesion.
  • Brick or masonry siding – Masonry or elastomeric paint works best as it can fill cracks and provide a moisture barrier.
  • Fiber cement siding – Use acrylic latex paint for its durability and breathability.

2. Recommendations for primers and sealers

  • Wood siding – Use a high-quality oil-based or latex primer to prevent tannin bleeding and provide a smooth surface for paint.
  • Vinyl siding – If the surface is clean, you don’t need a primer. But if needed, use a bonding primer for better adhesion.
  • Metal siding – Apply a rust-inhibiting primer to prevent corrosion.
  • Brick or masonry siding – Use a masonry primer to seal porous surfaces and improve paint adhesion.
  • Fiber cement siding – An acrylic latex primer can enhance paint adhesion and durability.

3. List of necessary tools and equipment

  • Brushes – Synthetic brushes for latex paints and natural bristle brushes for oil-based paints.
  • Rollers – High-density foam or microfiber rollers for smooth finishes and thick nap rollers for textured surfaces.
  • Sprayers – Airless paint sprayers for large areas to ensure even and quick application.
  • Miscellaneous tools:
      • Painter’s tape for clean edges
      • Drop cloths to protect surfaces
      • Sandpaper and scrapers for surface preparation
      • Paint trays and liners
      • Extension poles for high areas
  • Ladders or scaffolding for safety and access.

Preparation steps

1. Cleaning the siding

Here are the techniques and solutions for cleaning siding include:

  • Pressure washing – It is effective for removing dirt, mold, and mildew. Use a low-pressure setting to avoid damage. You can also hire a professional to handle the job.
  • Soft brushing – Use a soft-bristle brush with a cleaning solution for gentle cleaning.
  • Cleaning solutions – Use a mix of water and mild detergent or a specialized siding cleaner. For tougher stains, use a solution with vinegar or bleach (diluted).

2. Repairing damage

Follow these tips for repairing siding damage:

  • Patching holes – Use a siding patch kit or apply a mixture of siding compounds to fill small holes. Sand it smooth once dry.
  • Replacing broken sections – Remove the damaged piece by undoing the nails or screws. Slide the new piece into place and secure it. Ensure it matches the existing siding in style and color.

3. Masking and protecting adjacent surfaces

Protect adjacent surfaces during siding work by considering these tips:

  • Use masking tape and plastic sheeting – Cover windows, doors, and other surfaces with plastic sheeting to prevent paint splatter and debris. Secure the plastic sheeting with masking tape to keep it in place.
  • Drop cloths – Lay drop cloths over plants, pathways, and other ground-level items to catch debris and protect them from spills.
  • Edge guards – Use edge guards or trim guards along the siding’s edges. They keep paint or cleaning solutions from seeping into unwanted areas. 

Painting techniques

painter with paintbrush painting house wood facade

Here are the best practices for applying primer and paint on siding:

  1. Surface preparation – Clean the surface thoroughly to remove dirt, mildew, and loose paint. Repair any damage and ensure the surface is dry.
  2. Priming – Use a high-quality primer suited to the siding material. Apply an even coat to ensure proper adhesion and coverage.
  3. Painting – Choose a durable exterior paint. Apply at least two coats, allowing adequate drying time between coats.

Consider these techniques specific to different siding materials:

  1. Wood siding – Sand the surface to smooth out rough areas. Use an oil-based primer for better penetration and sealing. Acrylic latex paint works best for the topcoat.
  2. Vinyl siding – Clean with a mild detergent. If the surface is chalky or has been sanded, use a primer specifically for vinyl. Acrylic paint with urethane resins is recommended.
  3. Metal siding – Remove rust and apply a rust-inhibitive primer. Use acrylic latex paint for the topcoat to ensure flexibility and durability.
  4. Fiber cement siding – Clean thoroughly. Use a latex primer, then follow it with 100% acrylic paint for the finish.

Check out these tips to achieve a smooth and even coat

  • Brush and roller quality – Use high-quality brushes and rollers to avoid streaks and roller marks.
  • Spraying – Use a paint sprayer for a more even application, especially on textured surfaces. Use it in stable weather conditions to avoid overspray.
  • Technique – Apply the paint in long, even strokes or overlapping passes with a roller. Avoid overloading the brush or roller with paint.
  • Sand between coats – Lightly sand between coats to remove imperfections and ensure a smooth finish.

Here are helpful tips for working in various weather conditions:

  • Hot weather – Work during cooler parts of the day, like early morning or late afternoon. Keep the paint and tools shaded.
  • Cold weather – Ensure the temperature is above 50°F (10°C) for both application and drying. Avoid painting if frost is expected.
  • Humid weather – Allow extra drying time between coats. Work when humidity levels are lower, if possible.
  • Windy conditions – Avoid painting on windy days to prevent dust and debris from sticking to the wet paint and causing imperfections.

Maintenance and care

Your siding is now newly painted! You should do regular maintenance to keep it looking good and prolong its lifespan. Here are some tips to do it:

  • Ensure proper preparation – Use high-quality paint and primers suitable for your siding material. Ensure the surface is clean and dry before painting.
  • Apply protective coatings – Add a clear protective coating to shield the paint from UV rays and moisture.
  • Maintain proper landscaping – Keep bushes and trees trimmed away from the siding. Doing so prevents moisture buildup and physical damage.

Follow these regular cleaning and inspection routines:

  • Clean annually – Wash the siding annually. Prepare a mixture of mild detergent and water to remove dirt, mildew, and pollutants. Use a soft brush or a low-pressure hose to avoid damaging the paint.
  • Inspect biannually – Check for signs of peeling, cracking, or blistering paint. Look for water damage, mold, or pest issues.

Consider repainting or additional touch-ups:

  • Repaint every 5-10 years – Repainting may be necessary every 5-10 years, depending on the paint quality and environmental factors.
  • Touch up as needed – Address minor chips, scratches, and fading as they occur. This prevents further deterioration and maintains the aesthetic appeal.


Painting your siding offers several benefits, including enhanced curb appeal and added value to your property. If you have the time and skills, this project can be rewarding and cost-effective. However, it requires an assessment of the siding, surface preparation, and painting. After painting, you must do regular maintenance to extend your siding’s appearance and lifespan.

But to ensure durability and the best results, consult with a professional who can provide expertise and quality workmanship. The experts at Custom Painting, Inc. can do the process with great precision and attention to detail. The result is a fantastic-looking siding that will last for years. For inquiries or a free estimate request, call us at 925-866-9610 or message us here.