When the surface becomes dull and faded, aluminum house siding is showing its age. While it was originally intended to be maintenance-free, age and the elements often make painting it a much better and less costly alternative than replacing it with new siding. A coat of paint on old siding can make a dramatic change to a house. It'll change the dull and faded finish to a bright new one and cover up any scratches.

The job involves three basic steps: power washing the siding and trim to remove chalking, mildew and dirt; priming the surface; and then painting the siding. A painting contractor will charge $1,351 to do the job on a 1,500-square-foot one-story house, which includes labor and material. You can do the job for $285, which includes renting a power washer for a day, the primer and paint, and pocket a nice 78 percent saving. You'll need paint rollers, brushes and pans, drop cloths and ladders.

Consult with the pro desk at a paint store or home center for the best type of primer and paint to use; usually, a flat or satin finish gives the siding a nice, even appearance. This is not a trivial do-it-yourself project. At best, it'll take you a long weekend of steady work, allowing for drying time between the steps, and much longer if there's rain in the forecast.

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

$1,351 -- $285 -- 24.2 -- 22.5 -- $1066 -- 78 Percent