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Can Vinyl Siding be Painted?

October 1st, 2012 | 3 min. read

Can Vinyl Siding be Painted?

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Should you try to paint vinyl siding? There are a number of things to be aware of when it comes to vinyl siding, and here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind if you’re considering sprucing it up on your house.

Washing Vinyl Siding

When marketing vinyl siding, one of the main selling points that companies stress is that it does not require painting.  Many sellers recommend just washing it off with the hose.  You may be thinking, “What about refreshing vinyl siding with a good, strong pressure wash instead?”  Hold your hoses! Vinyl siding should not be pressure-washed.  Because the siding is flexible, the water can get behind it and cause damage to the materials underneath it.

Even with cleaning, vinyl siding doesn’t last forever.  When it fades or gets damaged, it can be difficult to find replacement pieces that match.  What if you just don’t like the color of your siding?  Imagine wearing the same shirt for 20 years!  Now think about how your house feels having the same coat of paint for that long.  If your vinyl siding needs a facelift, should you try to paint it?

Painting Vinyl Siding

Painting vinyl siding could turn out to be an interesting science project. Regular latex or oil paint will not adhere to vinyl siding.  So, don’t attempt to paint vinyl siding with the same type of paint you would use on the rest of your house, because it will just slide off with each brush stroke or bead up when sprayed on. Even several coats of primer won’t get it to stick properly, and you will end up with bubbly, peeling painted vinyl siding in the end.

Another factor in a vinyl painting experiment is that different colors of paint absorb varying amounts of heat, so if you paint using a darker color, it will get hotter.  The extra heat can cause the vinyl siding itself to expand and warp under the new paint.

In the past, vinyl siding couldn’t be painted at all.  However, some paint manufacturers have recently tried to capitalize on the need for a type of paint that will work with vinyl siding.  Major paint companies have introduced new polymers that will adhere to vinyl siding.  Even so, painting vinyl siding is unpredictable and just trying it can be a big expense.  In order for the new specialty paint to work, the siding has to be thoroughly cleaned of every speck of dust and every bit of mildew.  The cleaning will have to be done by hand since powerful pressure washing can cause more harm.  Imagine scrubbing your bathtub 100 or more times and you will have a pretty accurate feeling for the effort it will take to prepare for painting vinyl siding.  After the cleaning is done, the painting shouldn’t be done when the wall is in direct sunlight, and it will need two coats.  Unfortunately, there is still a possibility that the siding will buckle when new paint is applied.  Let’s add one additional caveat:  once you paint your vinyl siding, it is no longer “maintenance free.”  The paint will need additional upkeep from that point on.

If your vinyl siding is damaged or faded and you’d like to give it a new look, please post your questions below or contact us directly. We’d love to discuss the issues with you and give you some suggestions to help you make the best choice for your home.

Scott Barr get-a-quote