Can you paint vinyl siding? If your home has vinyl siding that is looking worn or you are tired of the color of your vinyl siding, you may be wondering if it is possible to simply paint it over. Finally, paint is a common solution to jazzing up a wood or board siding home.
The good news? At least in most cases you can paint vinyl siding. However, there are times when it’s better to skip the color ideas and install new trims instead. And you must follow a strict set of instructions to achieve pleasing results and maintain the integrity of your vinyl siding.
How to paint vinyl siding?
You can paint vinyl siding as long as you’re willing to go through a detailed process without cutting corners, or you can hire a professional to do the job.
Below we’ve rounded up the pros and cons of painting vinyl siding with tips from the experts.
1. Make sure your siding is in good condition
Before you decide to paint your vinyl siding, make sure everything is in good condition ie there are no warps or broken or loose parts. If this is the case, replace these pieces of siding before you begin investigating how to paint the exterior of a home.
“In general, you should avoid painting your sidewall if it’s cracked, chipped or otherwise damaged – as it will only lead to further damage down the line. Painting over damaged exterior siding also voids any warranty that may apply,” said Matthew Malczewski of DMG Exteriors, a general contractor for exterior residential projects in Valparaiso, Indiana.
2. Give it a good cleaning
As with all painting projects, achieving the desired results depends on proper surface preparation.
“You can paint vinyl siding, but you need to prep the surface before you start painting,” says Tony Adams, a professional painter with more than 15 years of experience and a contributor to DIYgeeks.com. “If you don’t clean the surface properly, the paint will peel off within a year because the paint will not stick due to dirt on the surface.”
To prepare: Pressure clean the entire surface board by board, being careful not to over-saturate the fairing. “You want to avoid getting water behind the vinyl siding as it can damage the vinyl later,” says Adams.
A professional painter is best suited for this job as they understand the correct technique and pressure to get the best results.
3. Choose the right paint color
Before you start thinking about exterior paint ideas, it’s important to note that vinyl siding cannot be painted a dark color. So if you were planning to paint your vinyl siding anthracite gray or navy blue, you’ll need to think again.
“Vinyl siding that has never been painted before should not be changed to a much darker color. If you currently have a light beige, gray, or white vinyl, you most likely can’t convert that vinyl to a deep blue, dark gray, or chocolate brown,” said Geoff Sharp, president and owner of Sharper Impressions Painting, a six-state painting company. “The repainted, darker color heats up in the sun and causes your vinyl siding to bow and warp.”
However, this is common, industry-wide knowledge, and most brands of paint that are suitable for vinyl siding don’t even come in darker colors.
“Often vinyl safe colors are not available in darker color bases. Some paint manufacturers have paint brands that can be tinted numerous shades from neutral colors. With other paint brands, you’re limited to about a dozen color options,” says Sharp.
If you’ve settled on a darker shade, Sharp says slightly darker is fine, but staying within a shade or two of your current color produces the best results.
Still have questions about a color you’re considering? Talk to a painting professional or someone at your local painting store who can point you in the right direction.
Finding the right color is worth the extra effort, Sharp points out. “It’s very, very important. Going too dark with a new paint color on vinyl siding can ruin the vinyl siding.’
4. And the right color
Color is just one important factor in choosing the right color for your project.
You also need to choose a paint that is vinyl proof and contains ingredients like latex urethane so the work will last.
“The paint shop manager or your professional painting contractor knows which colors are vinyl-safe,” says Sharp. “The label on the paint can says the paint you chose is ‘vinyl safe,’ meaning it’s formulated for use on vinyl siding.”
Choosing an old exterior paint can have disastrous consequences. “Over time, paint failure and damage to the underlying vinyl siding can occur,” he says.
5. Use a paint sprayer
Put away the brush and roller, this job requires more sophisticated tools.
“It is recommended to spray the vinyl siding rather than using a roller. That’s because spraying is faster and gives you a smooth finish,” says Adams.
Even better? Hire a painter to do the job for you, especially if you’ve never used a paint sprayer before. “Using the right spray equipment and applying by a skilled professional will ensure even coverage, so you only see the new color and never any of the old color bleeds through,” says Sharp.
Is it cheaper to paint or replace vinyl siding?
Often, homeowners consider painting vinyl siding rather than replacing it to save money. While this is generally true, painting vinyl siding can still be an expensive job.
When painting, the siding will trip over all the dirt that has accumulated. And for that you need a pressure washer and the right chemicals.
Since you have to clean the exterior trim of built-up dirt and purchase specialty paint or hire a professional painting service to do it, costs can quickly add up, says Kevin Johnson, a general contractor at PlainHelp.com.
“When you take all of this into account, painting your new facade is only about 30 percent cheaper than buying a brand new facade. Not to mention that if you repaint it instead of replacing it, it’ll last less,” he says.
How long will painted vinyl siding last?
If you get it right, you can expect painted vinyl siding to last 10 or more years, Sharp says.
“With the right research, choosing vinyl-safe paints and paints, preparing the vinyl surface, and applying it with professional equipment, you can give your facade a new color that will last for many years,” he says. “Normal fading should be expected from any painted exterior surface exposed to external elements.”