Dear Angie: If we decide not to replace our wood siding with vinyl, would we be better off covering it with a ceramic product or regular exterior paint? — Christine P., Novi, Mich.
Dear Christine: Like many home projects, the decision between ceramic coating and paint comes down to what you want to spend upfront and what you want out of your paint job.
Based on recent reviews from Angie's List members nationwide, the average cost for a home exterior paint job is around $3,700. If you want to do it yourself, you'll pay between $15 and $30 per gallon of paint.
Ceramic coating costs significantly more. A complete home covering from Rhino Shield, for instance, is $12,000 on average. For DIY, Liquid Ceramic-brand coating, sold in five-gallon pails, breaks down to $60 a gallon.
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If cost isn't an issue, ceramic coating might be for you, considering the long-term benefits.
While a traditional paint can consists of 60 percent water, ceramic coating is a thick polymer base that bonds to the exterior surface and lasts much longer. The waterproof, salt-tolerant coating doesn't chip or flake, and you're paying for that longevity and durability.
Rhino Shield backs its product with a 25-year transferable warranty. Liquid Ceramic says its coating will endure three to five times longer than regular paint jobs, which typically last five to seven years. That is where the true savings occur, over the long haul, as repeated repaints are no longer necessary.
Rhino Shield has thousands of colors to choose from. Liquid Ceramic has four bases — pastel, medium, deep and accent — and you'll need to take the product to a local professional paint store for tinting.
Perhaps the most important thing to know about ceramic coating is this: Once it's applied to your home, that's the color it's going to be, for decades. There's no going back, so pick a color you can live with long-term and which will work for potential buyers if you move.
When searching for a company to apply ceramic coating or exterior paint, look for those with positive consumer reviews on a trusted site. Confirm appropriate licensing, insurance and bonding. Make sure to get a written contract that covers cost, guarantees and other important details.