Become a digitalPLUS subscriber. 99¢ for 4 weeks.

Paint exterior wood siding

PaintingArtBuilding MaterialRenovationU.S. Environmental Protection Agency

A coat of paint on wood siding provides a protective coating on the surface, but for strict aesthetics, the paint can transform an ordinary house into one that stops traffic. Any professional painter will tell you the devil is in the details, and the best looking and longest lasting job is the result of time spent preparing the surface before rolling on a good quality latex exterior paint.

To prepare, prime and paint 1500-square-feet of wood siding on a house, a painting contractor will charge $1,850, which includes the material and labor. You can buy the materials and do it yourself for $195 and pocket a 91 percent saving. If the siding is damaged or requires removing layers of paint and repair work, the time and cost will be considerably more.

The painting process includes several phases. If the siding has areas that are dirty or covered with mildew, wash them using a garden hose with a scrub brush attachment or rent a power washer. Scrape any loose or flaky paint and sand them; also sand any bare spots so they're smooth. Then apply a first coat of primer, followed by a topcoat of paint to all the surfaces allowing it to dry between applications. Protect the surrounding plants and shrubbery with drop cloths while doing the prep work and painting.

If your house was built before 1978, it is possible that lead paint was applied to your siding. If lead is present, dry scraping and sanding the old paint is highly toxic to you and your neighbors, especially to small children. It is a job that should only be done by professionals trained in lead-safe practices. To learn more about dealing with lead paint download this brochure from the EPA at

To find more DIY project costs and to post comments and questions, visit and on smartphones.

Pro Cost -- DIY Cost -- Pro time -- DIY Time -- DIY Savings -- Percent Saved

$1,850 -- $195 -- 37.2 -- 45.0 -- $1,675 -- 91 Percent

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun