Can You Paint Vinyl Siding? (Find Out Now!)

Vinyl siding is generally considered to be virtually maintenance-free. A major advantage of this siding choice is that since the color is mixed into the material, it doesn’t need to be painted prior to installation. Although the color of vinyl siding is nearly permanent, over time it begins to show fading and damage due to its exposure to the sun’s UV rays.

At this point you may have found yourself posing the question, can you paint over vinyl siding? While the answer ten, or even 20, years ago would have been “no,” advances in paint technology have made it not only possible but also a cost-effective way to give your siding a fresh look.

The short answer is yes, you can paint vinyl siding. Whether it is just to add a new coat or change the color entirely, painting your vinyl sliding is a cost-efficient and creative process. The average price to paint the exterior of a median-sized home is $2,797, while replacing the entire vinyl siding can cost $15,000.

Additionally, if you are thinking about painting your vinyl siding, there are a number of factors you should consider first. These include the warranty, color, cost, and durability, along with the proper way to prep and paint the surface for optimal results.

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Vinyl Siding Warranty

When determining whether or not you should paint your vinyl siding, the first and most important factor to consider is its warranty. Depending on the product you have, painting your vinyl siding may void the warranty. In fact, many of the main vinyl siding manufacturers render the warranty inactive if the siding has been painted, even if it is brand new.

Consult the specific warranty for the vinyl siding product that you have on your home first to ensure that you won’t be negating the warranty. Even if painting the vinyl siding is permitted by the warranty, make sure that you comply with any of the stipulations or recommendations established by the manufacturer. These may include the color of the paint, the type, or any other specific conditions.

If your vinyl siding’s warranty is no longer valid, has expired, or you aren’t worried about the consequences of voiding your warranty, paint can potentially be a low-cost option for refreshing your home’s exterior.

Quick Tip: Check with your insurance company too. If any damage that occurs to your home requires a claim, they may not honor it if you’ve painted your vinyl.

Vinyl Siding Costs

Another factor to keep in mind when you consider painting your vinyl siding is the associated costs in comparison to the costs it would be to replace the entire exterior siding on your home. Overall, if you’re concerned about budget and are looking for a cost-effective way to revitalize your siding, painting it may be the ideal choice.

The average cost to paint the exterior of a home is between $1,687 and $3,907. This will vary based on the products used and you’ll also want to factor in the additional cost for any materials needed such as scaffolding or sprayers.

If you elect to take on this project yourself, you must understand that it can be a massive undertaking. Depending on how large your home is, you likely have a lot of surface area to cover which will require a considerable amount of time, effort, and paint. Additionally, if your vinyl siding’s paint job isn’t properly done, you could potentially take your home’s exterior appearance from bad to worse, making the money spent on the paint job absolutely worthless.

On the other hand, the cost to install brand new vinyl siding ranges from $5,000 to $14,050. While vinyl siding certainly comes with a higher price tag, it does not necessitate any annual maintenance or painting and will often have a warranty from the manufacturer for 30 years or more.

Vinyl Siding Colors

If you’ve determined that you want to paint your vinyl siding, it’s essential that you select the appropriate color. Each individual type of vinyl siding is constructed for a particular amount of heat absorption.

Since dark colors tend to absorb more heat than lighter shades, you should avoid painting your vinyl siding any color that is darker than the color of the original siding. A color that is too dark can even cause warping or buckling to the siding underneath. You should instead steer more towards a shade that is either similar or lighter to the current siding’s color.

Quality paint manufacturers such as Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams have paints that are specially formulated for use on vinyl siding. They also generally offer a variety of “vinyl safe” shades, or those that do not absorb too much heat. In general, you’ll have thousands of color profiles and options to choose from that are intended to be used on vinyl siding.

The Integrity of Your Existing Vinyl Siding

One final factor to consider prior to deciding that painting your vinyl siding is the best choice, is the physical integrity of your existing siding. After all, your siding is the first line of defense your home has against the various outdoor elements. Making any changes to the exterior of your home could reduce that defense and prove to be detrimental.

When you have fresh, new siding installed, the old siding is generally removed and the walls are inspected for any damage. Loss can occur over time from moisture, wall-settling, pests, and more, and should be corrected before any new siding is installed.

However, when you paint over your existing vinyl siding, you literally and figuratively cover up potential problems that may lie beneath the surface. Painting your siding also doesn’t correct any damage caused by hail, rocks, lawnmowers, or wind. In fact, these damaged areas create access points for pests and moisture to result in nesting and mold problems.

Depending on your particular situation, replacing your vinyl siding, instead of painting it, may be the better choice in order to prevent any future defense or structural issues.

How to Paint Vinyl Siding

If you’ve made it this far, you’ve likely decided that painting your vinyl siding is the best route to go. Thankfully, while painting vinyl siding can be a large project, it isn’t an overly complicated one. Although you may end up wanting to hire a professional, the steps outlined below will help walk you through the process and ensure a successful paint job.

Step One: Optimal Weather Conditions

Before you even consider beginning your painting project, make sure that you consult your local weather forecast. The ideal conditions for painting vinyl siding is an overcast sky, low humidity, and relatively mild temperatures. Conditions that are too sunny, too hot, or too windy, may cause issues with the paint adhering to the surface and be more likely to flake and crack over time.

Step Two: Choosing the Proper Paint

As previously mentioned, your paint selection is an important choice when you’re painting your vinyl siding. The product that you select should:

  • Be either the same color or lighter than the shading of your current siding. Darker colors hold more heat and can leave the surface susceptible to warping or buckling
  • Contain urethane and acrylic resins. These ingredients help the coating to stick and aid in the typical contraction and expansion that occurs with vinyl.

Overall, steer clear of dark colors and look for a paint product that indicates it is “vinyl safe.” In most cases, the paint you select will be a latex urethane paint that is designed for exterior use.

Step Three: Prepping the Vinyl Surface

Prior to painting, it is vital that you properly prepare the vinyl surface. A thorough cleaning that is done first will not only ensure that you achieve a professional-quality paint job for your vinyl surface, but all other materials as well.

If not sufficiently cleaned, the paint can peel, as it is dependent on having a clean surface to adhere to. The goal is to eradicate all chalky buildup, mold, mildew, and debris from the surface of the vinyl. For best results, experts recommend using a power washer with a house cleaning product that contains mildewcide. However, you can also use a cleaning solution that is a mixture of the following:

  • 1 gallon of water
  • 2/3 cup of powdered household cleaner
  • 1 quart of liquid laundry bleach
  • 1/3 cup of liquid laundry detergent

Use this cleaning solution along with a cloth or soft-bristled brush to apply it to the surface and remove any debris. Make sure that it is completely rinsed off and free of any lingering residue before you begin painting. Additionally, you’ll want to allow for ample drying time after rinsing.

Step Four: Tape Off Trim, Doors, and Windows

As with any painting project, you’ll want to cover any areas that you don’t intend to be painted. This includes trim, windows, doors, and hardware. Use painter’s tape along with plastic sheeting or masking paper to mask off any of the areas that you don’t want to get paint on.

Step Five: Apply Primer (Optional)

Primer is only necessary if the vinyl surface has become porous, pitted, or the original color has completely faded away. If either of these is the case, apply an adhesive primer to all of the vinyl surfaces that you will be painting. To do this you can use either a paint roller with a ½-inch nap cover (for rougher surfaces), a paint roller with a 3/8-inch nap cover (for smoother surfaces), a paint sprayer, or simply a paintbrush.

If you decide to use a sprayer or roller, make sure that you always back brush. This means that you finish up the application with a brush to remove any drips, smooth out heavy areas and ensure full coverage. Once finished, consult the manufacturer’s directions for the appropriate drying time and act accordingly.

Step Six: Apply the Paint

The next step is to apply the actual exterior paint to the vinyl surface using either a paint sprayer or a roller, and saving the brushwork for edges and corners. Experts suggest that a spray gun with 100 percent acrylic paint produces optimal results on vinyl surfaces.

Coat the surface evenly, using special care to ensure that you’re not applying too much paint to any particular sections. As in most paint projects, it’s best to apply many thin coats rather than one thick one. Once you’ve completed the first coat and it has mostly dried, continue on with the second coat.

Two coats are generally sufficient enough for this project, but not always. In order for the paint job to be complete, you must allow at least 24 hours for the paint to dry completely. After the second coat has dried, examine the appearance to determine if a third coat is necessary.

While the entire process of painting vinyl siding was condensed into six simple steps, painting the entire exterior of a home is an incredibly large and laborious job. However, if you’ve properly cleaned and prepared the siding before painting, you’ll get to enjoy the benefits of your paint job for 10 years or more!

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Hiring a Professional

If you’re unsure about your painting abilities, your vinyl siding paint project may be best left to the professionals. In fact, even the most experienced homeowner could potentially produce a poor paint job. Even if you are diligent about your preparation, painting vinyl requires the paint to go on smooth, creating an even surface. This can be tough to achieve, regardless of painting experience.

Also, painting the entire exterior of a home yourself generally takes between two to three weeks. Whereas, a professional will get the job done much faster and achieve a better finish. If you have the time to spare, it is possible to paint your vinyl siding yourself. However, if you want the best results, consider hiring a professional for the job.

The only thing to keep in mind is the fact that the costs associated with painting your vinyl siding will certainly rise when you hire it done. Painters typically charge by square footage but factor in the materials, paint, and cost of labor into the total project price.

Jessica Stone

Jessica considers herself a home improvement and design enthusiast. She grew up surrounded by constant home improvement projects and owes most of what she knows to helping her dad renovate her childhood home. Being a Los Angeles resident, Jessica spends a lot of her time looking for her next DIY project and sharing her love for home design.

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