YES! You Can Paint Vinyl Siding: Here’s How (A Step-by-Step Guide)

Written By Kenneth Wilson  |  0 Comments

A type of plastic exterior wrapping used on many American homes, vinyl siding is installed either to improve aesthetics or as a form of weatherproofing a particular property.

Introduced in the 1950s, vinyl siding is still a prevalent material with home builders, and vinyl is the chosen material for approximately one in three new homes built in the US.

Vinyl siding is typically produced from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin and is favored for its hassle-free maintenance, durability, and the fact that it can enhance the design of a property. But despite its sturdiness, vinyl siding is not invincible, and it may need to be treated once in a while to prevent the exterior of your home from looking old and tired.

Can I Paint Vinyl Siding? 

The short answer is — YES, YOU CAN PAINT VINYL SIDINGIf your vinyl siding is in need of sprucing up, the good news is that painting it is a great way to bring it back to life. But before you get started, there are some things you need to consider that will affect your painting project, including:

  • Not all paints are vinyl safe. Due to the properties of vinyl, you need to select a paint that is up to the task. Vinyl is less porous than other materials used for siding, which means that it needs paint and primer that can adhere strongly to the surface. What's more, remember that vinyl siding expands and contracts depending on the outside climate. You will need to choose a flexible paint that won't crack when exposed to different temperatures. Helpfully, many of the major painting brands available at home improvement stores have a vinyl-safe range that is highly adhesive and performs optimally when applied to vinyl siding. For example, Sherwin-Williams, Benjamin Moore, and Behr all have vinyl-safe paints that you can use on siding.
  • Be mindful of the color you select. Traditionally, vinyl siding applied to the exterior of houses is light-colored, and this isn't just an aesthetic decision. Dark-colored paints absorb heat and are likely to cause your vinyl siding to warp. As a general rule, it's best not to select a color that is any darker than your current tone.
  • Consider the warranty of your vinyl siding. In some instances, painting your vinyl siding may invalidate its warranty. While this might not deter all homeowners, it's likely to influence your decision if your siding has been recently installed. Therefore, it's a good idea to double-check your warranty before you paint your siding, just to be on the safe side.
  • Check the weather forecast. Painting vinyl siding should only be undertaken if the weather conditions are suitable. The ideal climate for painting is mild temperatures, low relative humidity, and an overcast sky. If you paint vinyl siding when it is too hot or too sunny outdoors, it is likely to adhere poorly, and it will be more prone to cracking and flaking in the future. It's also generally not recommended to paint vinyl siding if outdoor temperatures are below 40F.

Advantages of Painting Vinyl Siding

Painting vinyl siding is an excellent option if you're looking to improve the appearance of your home's exterior, and undertaking this home improvement project has the following advantages:

  • It's cheaper than replacing the siding. According to Home Advisor, vinyl siding costs anywhere between $6,058 and $16,437 to install on the average American home, with a national average of $11,165. The same source suggests that it costs around $1,600 to replace 200 square feet of vinyl siding. Conversely, it costs anywhere between $600 and $3,500 to paint vinyl, with an average price of between $1.25 and $3 per square ft, which is cheaper than the $4 required to replace a square ft of the same material.
  • You don't need a permit to paint vinyl siding. Renovations to your current vinyl siding don't usually require a building permit, so you can paint your vinyl without having to approach the relevant local authority. However, in many jurisdictions, if you're planning to replace or install new vinyl siding, you will need to apply for the relevant permit before completing the work, which can add anywhere between $50 and $300 to the cost of completing the work.
  • Painted vinyl siding adds value to your home. According to a 2019 Homelight survey, painting the exterior of a home added an estimated $4,228 to the property's overall value, which is a 51% return on investment. So, as well as being a cheaper alternative than replacing old vinyl siding, it's a great way of adding value to your property in the long term.
  • It takes less time. In most cases, you can paint vinyl siding in 1–2 days, providing the weather conditions are favorable. In comparison, it can take anywhere between 2–10 days to install replacement vinyl siding, which is a relatively significant undertaking at your home.
  • Painted vinyl siding looks great. As long as you use appropriate vinyl-safe paint, painting your siding is an excellent way of improving the aesthetics of your home. On exteriors that look shabby and worn, fresh paint brings your property back to life and enhances its curb appeal.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Painting Vinyl Siding

Now that we've looked at some important considerations, as well as the benefits of painting vinyl siding, it's time to introduce our step–by–step guide that provides you with a tried and trusted method of painting your home's vinyl siding exterior:

1. Select Your Paint and Equipment.

The first step is to select the right paint for your vinyl siding project. As mentioned, not all paints are vinyl safe, so you will need to choose a product that is up to the job. The paint you choose for your vinyl siding must:

  • Contain acrylic and urethane resins. These prevent the siding from warping and ensure the coat will stick to the vinyl. Some manufacturers will label paints directly as vinyl-safe or appropriate for use on PVC vinyl, making it easier to find a suitable product.
  • Be an appropriate color. You should select a color that matches that of your current siding or is lighter. Applying a darker color may cause the siding to warp.

Consider investing in (or renting) a paint sprayer to help you evenly apply the paint to your vinyl. You should save brushwork for the corners and edges of your siding. You may also need to purchase primer if your siding is in a particularly poor state.

2. Clean the Vinyl Siding.

Cleaning your vinyl siding is a significant undertaking and is an essential step in preparing the surface for painting. Should you apply paint to a dirty or moldy surface, the results will be unsatisfactory at best. Hosing your vinyl siding with cold water will not sufficiently clean the surface.

The Vinyl Siding Institute recommends using a soft cloth or soft-bristle brush with a simple yet effective homemade cleaning solution. We suggest a solution of 70% water and 30% white vinegar to remove light mold and mildew stains from your siding. This should be sufficient for cleaning the majority of vinyl siding surfaces. However, if you need something tougher to deal with stubborn dirt and mold, consider the following solution:

  • 1 gallon of water
  • 30% laundry detergent
  • 60% powdered household cleaner
  • 10% liquid laundry bleach

Working your way up from the bottom, thoroughly clean each panel with your homemade solution before removing all residue with a hose or pressure washer. When cleaning vinyl siding, you should avoid the following substances and products:

  • Undiluted chlorine bleach
  • Liquid grease remover
  • Nail polish remover or furniture polish
  • Highly abrasive scrubbers or steel wool

Once you have cleaned your vinyl siding, you will need to leave it to dry thoroughly before painting it. Depending on the weather conditions and temperature, you may need to leave it overnight.

3. Treat your Vinyl Siding with Primer (if necessary).

In most instances, adding primer to vinyl siding isn't actually necessary. However, if your vinyl siding is pitted or porous, you will need to prime it before adding your first coat of paint. Mask up any areas you don't want to be exposed to primer or paint, particularly the surface area around windows and doors.

You can then use a paint sprayer to apply the primer, or a roller with a 3/8-inch nap will also be sufficient. When priming, make sure you evenly cover every area that is to be painted. You will need to remove drips, treat heavy areas, and allow the primer to dry before painting.

4. Paint your Vinyl Siding.

Once cleaned and primed (if necessary), you're ready to paint your vinyl siding. You should paint vinyl siding with your chosen product much like you would paint any other surface. Using a sprayer or roller, evenly apply the first coat of paint to the whole surface, taking care not to apply too much or too little to a particular part of the surface.

When you're happy that you have coated the entire surface of your vinyl siding equally, allow it to dry before applying a second coat. You will need to leave the second coat to dry for around 24 hours.

5. Clean Up the Site and Check for Blemishes.

Remove the masking from your siding and clean any equipment that you've used for painting. You should then thoroughly check the siding to ensure the paint has been evenly applied.

Finally, touch up any blemishes with a paintbrush and use a roller if you notice any streaks or any sections that have been painted unevenly.

Painting Vinyl Siding: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

How much does it cost to paint vinyl siding per square ft?

Home Advisor tells us that you can expect to pay between $1.25 and $3 per square ft to coat vinyl, as it is one of the more expensive siding materials to paint. But equally, it's much cheaper to paint vinyl siding than it is to replace it, as the average cost of replacement can be in excess of $4 per square ft.

Should I replace my vinyl siding or paint it?

If your vinyl siding is significantly damaged and in a state of disrepair, painting it is not such a good idea. It's a bit like putting a band-aid over a gushing wound, and it will only improve the way it looks in the short term. Warped and significantly worn vinyl siding should be replaced.

Can I use regular paint on vinyl siding?

No, you need to purchase paint that is fit for purpose. You will need to choose a paint containing acrylic and urethane resins or a brand labelled as suitable for painting on PVC vinyl.

Will I be able to paint vinyl siding myself?

Painting vinyl siding doesn't require a high degree of specialist skill or knowledge. Providing you follow the detailed steps introduced above, you should be able to paint your siding yourself.

If you don't feel comfortable with undertaking a large-scale painting project, however, you could always hire a painter to complete the work for you. Just be mindful of the additional costs associated with hiring a professional.

Final Thoughts

Although painting vinyl siding requires some careful consideration and planning, it's an excellent way of improving the aesthetics of your home's exterior.

Old and worn vinyl siding can make your home look shabby, but replacing it can be overly expensive for the average American homeowner. As such, painting vinyl siding is a viable and cost-effective alternative and enables you to modernize and touch up your home's exterior without breaking the bank.

(Related article: 50 Beautiful Fencing Design Inspirations To Increase Privacy And Curb Appeal)

About the Author

I can build it, and I can help you get the patio enclosure you want! I got my start in the Florida patio industry back in the 70s as a young general laborer looking for something to make a few bucks. At the time I never thought it would end up as my career. Over the years I grew beyond the laborer position, becoming a foreman, superintendent, and then into executive management for some of the largest patio contractors, and material vendors. Now into retirement and slightly bored, I offer consulting services to new and existing contractors, and publish this website to help the people who love their patio's and screen enclosures the most - YOU!

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