Can you Paint Vinyl Siding?

Vinyl siding can be a great addition to your home. The trick though is keeping it looking the way you want. Over time, you may want to freshen up the look or even change the color completely. The question then comes up – can you paint vinyl siding? The short answer and good news is yes. Of course, there is more to it than that.

Can you Paint Vinyl Siding?

  • Some of this can depend on the brand of vinyl siding as well as the type of paint. The most important thing to realize though is that once you have painted your siding you no longer have the same maintenance-free material you did with vinyl. You must treat the newly painted siding as you would other types of painted surfaces and will also need to be on the lookout for touchups. You should also plan on doing a fresh paint job at least every ten years if not sooner.
  • When in doubt it is always a good idea to get an expert opinion. Get some estimates from painters to find out what type of cost you are looking at. It may be a better idea to use a professional painter who has painted on vinyl siding before but this is entirely up to you.
  • The main reason painting siding is not always ideal is that you have to take into consideration the surface and the manner in which this material contracts and expands. While other material like wood may also do this, the degree is not generally as extreme. Not to mention that that wood usually expands or contracts based on seasonal weather whereas vinyl goes through changes like this during the day and night. For this reason, you may have difficulty during the painting process as well as be required to perform touchups more often.
  • The best choice for compatibility when it comes to lasting through the expansion and contracting is high-grade acrylic. The higher grade options have the elasticity needed. The absolute best choice at this time for a paint that can work with the expansion and contraction of the PVC is water based urethane that are blended with acrylic resins.
  • Making a color choice is also important. While you can certainly paint vinyl, your choices may not be as vast as you would like and would have if painting a different type of surface. Usually it is a good idea to paint the siding a shade lighter than the siding color. The reason for this is that darker colors will be absorbed by the siding material and make it difficult to change later. More importantly, darker colors absorb heat which can end up causing damage to the vinyl. Remember, the color of siding you have was specific to be able to withstand only certain temperatures. Altering to a darker color means taking the risk of causing heat damage such as distortion or buckling. Of course, painting it much lighter may also require two or more coats to be able to overtake the original vinyl color.

Before a Paint Job

Again, keep in mind the most important part of the process may be the color you choose. This can be especially important for older types of vinyl siding. Stick with the same shade or lighter if at all possible. Although it is not recommended if you are determined to try to go darker you should get the advice of an expert first to determine how much darker you could go safely before causing your siding to be at potential risk to heat damage.

With that in mind, here are the other things to think about before painting:

  • Vinyl like any house material should be well cleaned and thoroughly dry before painting. It is a good idea to wash your siding to remove dirt, mold and other outdoor debris that can be collected or accumulate over the years. Not only will you have problems with painting you may end up trying to clean as you go which only adds to your work. The best method to use is hand wash because pressure washers can actually cause water to get under the siding and cause problems.
  • Without a proper cleaning, thorough rinse and enough natural dry time the paint is not likely to stick to the surface. Take special care to remove mold and mildew by using a special formulated cleanser. Though you can use solutions containing oxygen bleach, it is not a good idea to use straight bleach. Not only can this be damaging to the siding it is also harmful to anything growing near the house. Steer clear of anything abrasive as this type of cleanser or material will cause scratches to your siding that may be even more visible once painted.

If you have done all of this and chosen the right lighter shade of paint you are ready to begin. Make sure you have all the materials you need so once you get started you will not be interrupted. Working on a cooler spring or autumn day is a better choice. This gives you the best chance of retaining an even surface throughout the process as well, instead of having expansion and contracting during the process.

Do not choose a hot summer day, a day when rain is predicted or on windy days. Remember, you will probably need at least two coats of paint, maybe more if you are making an extreme color change. The other reason two coats is ideal for vinyl is that it tends to help work best with the elasticity and flexibility needed to cover vinyl with less chance of damage. This may also mean you are less likely to have any peeling, cracking or fading.

Remember, it is important to be sure you are willing to repaint when the need arises. Once you paint your siding it will no longer be maintenance free. With the right choice of paint and a good paint job however, you should be able to get years of wear from your newly painted vinyl siding.