What Are The Pros And Cons Of Painting Vinyl Siding?

Stacy Randall
by Stacy Randall

A beautiful home exterior is equal parts home protection and a point of personal pride. Time and wear make a refresh necessary, and a simple cleaning and repainting give your vinyl siding a facelift. But how practical is repainting vinyl siding as opposed to merely replacing it?

Painting vinyl siding is a cost-effective choice that can prolong the life and beauty of your home exterior. However, repainting requires meticulous cleaning and preparation, as well as using the correct paints and processes. If the vinyl siding is damaged or improperly cleaned, it could result in new siding installation being the better choice.

Balancing the pros and cons of painting vinyl siding is a tricky and thought-provoking task. Cost, feasibility, and amount of labor involved influence the decision. Here’s a breakdown of the advantages and disadvantages of repainting and replacing vinyl siding.

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Things to Consider When Repainting Vinyl Siding

Choosing to repaint existing vinyl siding instead of replacing it depends on several factors. These elements are key when determining the best choice for improving the home exterior. Any one or more than one of these aspects make the difference between resurfacing and replacing.

Siding Age and Cost of Painting vs. Replacing Siding

The age of your home’s siding plays a huge role in whether you paint or replace your vinyl siding. Newer siding with minimal wear and tear is likely to take a coat of paint better than older, damaged siding.

Extensive damage isn’t worth the effort to repaint; save your time, money, and energy and replace it with new siding.

Aesthetic Appearance

Curb appeal is a big deal in a neighborhood, and a beautiful facade carries most of that weight. Worn siding makes a house look older, dirtier, and neglected, so repainting it can quickly perk up its appearance.

Preserve or Increase Home Value

There’s a second and possibly more important benefit to refreshing or replacing worn vinyl: the assessment of property values. A well-kept looking house projects a higher property value while maintaining or even raising the assessment value.

Manufacturer’s Warranty

A crucial element in deciding which option to take lies in your paperwork. Some siding manufacturers will write product warranties with specific care and maintenance instructions. Any improvement action not in line with the stated warranty can void it if the refresh turns out badly.

Pros of Repainting Vinyl Siding

1. Painting Siding Is More Cost-Effective Than Replacing

Repainting vinyl siding can cost less than replacing it, particularly if the homeowner is willing to do it themselves.

2. Painting Gives the Siding a New and Fresh Look

A fresh coat of paint covers any wear and tear and can give your house a renewed or updated look.

3. Painting Provides Siding with an Added Layer Of Protection

Time and weather can wear down the protective finish of vinyl siding and make it look dull. Painting the siding hides that aging and adds a new, less penetrable layer to the home exterior.

4. Painting Increases the Lifespan of the Siding

Choosing to repaint instead of replacing is not just a short term cost difference for the homeowner. The extra protective layer means the existing siding lasts longer and delays the need for total replacement. The homeowner gets the biggest bang for their buck on the initial installation, with less cash coming out of pocket.

Cons of Repainting Vinyl Siding

1. Painting Won’t Work Well on Damaged Siding

Harsh weather can cause more than simple time-based wear and tear to vinyl siding. You must repair any damage beyond basic scratches before you can even prep the siding for painting. An uneven patch job will not cover well with paint and will negatively impact the siding’s appearance.

2. Repainting Siding Could Void the Warranty

One big reason to go the replacement route is the manufacturer’s warranty on the vinyl siding. Check your warranty for any specific language regarding the siding’s care, maintenance, or alteration. A do-it-yourself siding refresher might void the warranty if you do it wrong …(or at all), depending on the warranty language.

3. Painting Won’t Improve the Siding’s Appearance

Even with careful cleaning, preparation, and painting, your vinyl siding may look the same or worse than before. Spending money on materials that don’t make an improvement may as well have gone toward brand new siding. Look over the old siding carefully to determine if a replacement is a more prudent and less expensive option.

4. A Paint Job on Siding Might Not Last Very Long

In deciding to repaint vinyl siding, you have to ask yourself if it’s worth the time, cost, and effort. How many more years will you get out of repainted vinyl siding versus installing brand new siding? If it’s less than three years, getting new siding will likely cost less in the long run.

5. Paint Might Not Even Work on Your Siding

Your efforts to refurbish your existing siding over replacing it could be thwarted before you even get started. There’s a possibility your siding can’t even take a fresh coat of paint to give it a new look. Deciding to repaint may be all for naught, leaving replacing your siding as your only viable option.

6. Preparation for Painting Existing Siding Is an Involved Process

Repainting existing vinyl siding is a simple process, but it is also very involved. Careful preparation is crucial to a successful paint touch-up; unpatched damage haphazardly cleaned siding could result in an uneven finish. Additionally, you can cause further damage or unwanted moisture if you’re not careful when power washing the vinyl siding.

7. Damaged Siding Panels Might Be Harder to Replace in the Future

Another caveat of refreshing siding over replacing it with a newer product is obsolescence. Eventually, you’ll need to replace your existing siding because patching won’t be enough for a good repair. The panels you need may be discontinued by that time, which will force you to replace your siding.

8. Errors and Unpredictable Results

Any do-it-yourself project can, and often will, fall victim to rookie mistakes and unexpected outcomes. Mismatched patching materials, paints, and half-done processes can cause the siding to look worse than before. The possibility of bad results and homeowner frustrations could prove replacement is a more acceptable and less maddening option.

New Product Developments for Siding

Siding manufacturers are always coming up with improvements and innovations in style and energy efficiency. A newer siding could be more energy efficient than the existing siding or could have a completely different look. If you’re interested in more than a basic facelift or lowering your energy costs, a complete replacement might be better.

Helpful Hints to Consider When Repainting Vinyl Siding

Use the Proper Materials and Techniques

If you decide to paint your siding, it’s a good idea to get vinyl paint instead of water-based paint. Inspect the siding for damage. You can thoroughly clean and prep the siding with a pressure washer and a vinyl safe cleaning solution. Two effective solution mixes are a 70/30 vinegar and water and a 1:5 powdered oxygen bleach and water.

A good idea to work-in the solution is using a cloth or soft-bristled brush on the soiled surfaces. You can do a more thorough job cleaning the dirt, algae, and rust with this method. Once you finish scrubbing, it will take less time, water, and pressure to rinse the siding thoroughly and carefully.

Begin applying the paint in thin, even coats; once dry, you can roll on additional thicker coats. A well-prepped, well-executed paint job should hold up about 10 years and hold off replacing for a good while.

Choose the Right Time of Day

In addition to cleaning preparation and setup, a good time management plan makes all the difference in a successful job. You’ll achieve better results by painting in the shade instead of in direct sunlight. The paint won’t dry too fast and achieve an even paint surface when dry.

Select the Right Color

Dark paint colors pull more warmth and forgive fewer sins than lighter paint colors, so light colors work best. Furthermore, use a paint color that’s the same shade or lighter than your siding’s current color. Finally, using a primer will allow the paint to adhere to the siding surface better.

Perform Proper Maintenance

Once you’ve painted your siding and cleaned up, it’s a smart idea to maintain your hard work. If you inspect it often, you can do smaller touch-ups instead of a large scale repair job. These touch-ups and annual cleaning help keep the siding looking nice and prolong the paint life.

Related Questions

What color siding has the best resale value?

Curb appeal is an important draw in attracting potential buyers in a real estate sellers’ market. Homebuyers tend to lean toward a warm, inviting color scheme that is versatile and complementary with any accent color. For this reason, light browns, light neutrals, grays, and some blues are the most successful colors for property resale.

What are good alternatives to installing vinyl siding?

Vinyl siding is very durable and long-lasting when properly maintained. However, there are other types of siding that are similarly sturdy, energy-efficient, and climate adaptive. Common alternatives to vinyl siding are aluminum, steel, fiber cement, and engineered wood.

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What Have We Learned?

Repainting vinyl siding is a good idea if the existing siding is in fair to good condition. A successful paint job requires careful and thorough cleaning, repairing any cracks, and using the correct products for the job. Done correctly, a paint refresh can last for years, extend the siding’s life, and postpone immediate replacement.

On the other hand, siding with extensive damage might not be worth the time spent repairing it. Too many things can go wrong with the painting process and produce unsatisfactory results. Plus, you can void the manufacturers’ warranty by doing it yourself, leaving replacement as the best or only workable option.

Stacy Randall
Stacy Randall

Stacy Randall is a wife, mother, and freelance writer from NOLA that has always had a love for DIY projects, home organization, and making spaces beautiful. Together with her husband, she has been spending the last several years lovingly renovating her grandparent's former home, making it their own and learning a lot about life along the way.

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