Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Cheap Ways to Deal with Peeling Paint on an Old House

Peeling Paint, Old Siding, What To Do?

Is There A Better Way?

My latest article on Wise Bread triggered a great question from a reader:

"Dr Penny Pincher,

Read your article on the hidden costs of buying an old house.  Very informative, practical, and interesting.  Anyone buying an older house should consider all of the potential costs you mention when buying an older property.

We live in an older home and have for some time.  One of the potential problems we are considering is the painting and upkeep on the outside of the house.  Our home has the original cedar shake siding and requires maintenance every year in addition to periodic painting of the entire house which is two stories. We are reaching an age where using a ladder probably is not a good idea. 

Do you have suggestions for an inexpensive way to maintain the house without the expense of siding??

Thank you,

A Penny Pincher Follower"

Thank you PPF for your question!

A few years ago while painting my 2+ story house, I realized that I have a mild sensitivity to heights.  I had nightmares about falling off of a ladder, and my palms were sweating and my hands shaking when I got much above one story high.  I can understand why you don't want to go up on a ladder to paint!

Unfortunately, going up on a ladder is probably the least expensive way to deal with old siding.  It seems like old wood gets moisture in it and has trouble keeping a good coat of paint more than a few years.  Even a really great paint job might only last a few years.

Here are things you can do to deal with peeling paint on wood siding, in order of cost:

1.  Paint the house yourself
This may cost a few hundred dollars for the paint.  You can reuse paint brushes and ladders for many years.  The drawbacks of painting yourself are that you have to go up on a ladder and spend a lot of time scraping off the peeling paint and repainting.

2.  Hire someone to paint your house
This may cost several hundred to a couple thousand dollars depending on the size of your house and who you hire.  As with hiring someone to do anything, you have to worry about the quality of the work and deal with having strangers around on your property.

3.  Move to a newer house with vinyl siding
Most newer houses have vinyl siding or other zero maintenance siding.  I ended up moving to a newer house after I painted my old house.  The cost to move varies with how much stuff you have and whether you need to hire movers.  My last move cost about $2,000.  It may sound extreme, but moving to a newer house will get you out of painting...

4.  Replace old wood siding with zero maintenance siding
Before I painted my old house, I looked at going over the old wood siding with new vinyl siding.  The estimates to install vinyl siding were in the range of about $30,000 to $40,000.  This was a large house with lots of windows, so these numbers may be higher than for a typical house.  In any case, replacing siding is a major expense.

I hope one of these options works for you.  Go with option 2, 3, or 4 to avoid going up on a ladder.  Best of luck!

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