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Painting Vinyl Siding: A Quick Tutorial for Prep and Paint

Updated on December 29, 2011

Reasons For Painting Vinyl Siding:

A growing reaction to the recent housing bust finds many homeowners choosing to upgrade their homes rather than move. From people I know in the industry, two, frequently asked questions are: "How can I change the color of my vinyl siding?" And, "What are the dos and don'ts of painting vinyl siding?" The answers are simple: Yes and yes. You can change the color of your vinyl siding but there is a set of guidelines on how to do it.

Hopefully, I'll be able to dispel the myths and offer a quick tutorial concerning the ins and outs of painting vinyl siding and lower your new vinyl siding cost.

Here we go...

Can the Color of Your VInyl Siding be Changed?...

Technically yes, but the process involves more than a standard painting process.

Homeowners choose to install vinyl siding for many reasons: appearance, low maintenance, and energy efficiency. What many homeowners sometimes ignore, however, is the color of their vinyl siding. Since the majority of vinyl siding is color-through, meaning the color is consistent throughout, if for some reason you no longer like your vinyl siding color, changing it can be a headache. Enter the process of how to paint vinyl siding. All you do is follow a few guideines, or in this case: a tutorial on painting vinyl siding.

Prepare Your Surface Well...

Preparing the surface of your vinyl siding prior to applying any type of paint is the number one task you MUST do, and do well! If you don't, all your hard work will be lost!

So, how do you prepare vinyl siding for painting? For starters, don't consider a power washer. Why? Because power washers, although they do a great job of cleaning most surfaces, are not suited for vinyl siding paint preparation; primarily because they leave too much residual water in the seams of your siding which comes back to haunt you come time for the paint to cure. So, DON'T use a power washer. Instead, unpack your trusty scrub brush(es), a quality vinyl cleaning solution (that you can purchase at any home improvement store), plenty of dry towels, an adequate ladder, and apply ample amounts of elbow grease. This step is NOT easy; it's NOT fun; but it's critical to your success!

Who said changing vinyl siding colors would be simple?

A quick note: Oxygenated bleach works great as a vinyl cleaning solution as it tends to remove not only dirt, grime, mold, and mildew, but any wax buildup that may be on your siding.

Choose Your Color Well...

Rule number two in painting vinyl siding is color choice. Since vinyl siding in general is designed to reflect heat, choosing a color either similar in tone or lighter than your original color is a big deal.

Choosing a color darker than your current siding color spells disaster because the new paint will absorb heat between the surfaces leading to warping and/or buckling of your vinyl siding; which will then need replacement. And that is never good.

So, always choose a lighter color than what you have!

Your Choice of Paint is Very Important!

Vinyl siding is in essence an elastic product; which means that you must choose a similar type of paint in order to achieve success.

What type of paint is best for painting vinyl siding? Choosing an elastic, exterior-grade paint is a good choice. In short, choose a paint with a quality blend of urethane and acrylic resins. Together, these ingredients produce optimum adhesion when painting vinyl.

Timing and Tools Make a HUGE Difference...

Once you've finished your preliminary steps, it's painting time!

Depending on how much additional work you want to do, applying a primer coat (using the same formula as your finish coat, of course) is not a bad idea. It requires another step, but the pay-offs include: better adhesion of your final coat and increased durability of the overall paint job. Just food for thought.

The time of day, and the tools used are also crucial "elements" to consider.

The best times to paint vinyl siding are during the cooler portions of the day. This is because you want the paint to dry at a slow, even pace. Painting in direct sunlight and heat will cause your paint will cure unevenly. Besides, painting in the shade is much more comfortable.

The best tools to use for painting vinyl is a commercial-grade, airless spray gun. Airless sprayers are easy to use and maintain the best finishing ability. In short, stay away from the roller and brush show. Those are best left for other surfaces.

The End Result...

Even though painting vinyl siding can be intimidating and a lot of work, if properly done, the results are most often worth the effort.


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    • Gary Kwana profile image

      Gary Kwana 16 months ago

      Thank you for this informative article!

    • profile image

      nomart5 4 years ago

      This has been helpful, but I am looking for aluminum siding. I was told about the website Has anyone done business with this group? What was your experience?

    • Rob Jundt profile image

      Rob Jundt 8 years ago from Midwest USA

      Yes, it can. But it's not fun! It is, however, MUCH cheaper than replacement. Thanks for stopping by!

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 8 years ago

      Wow, I had no idea you could paint vinyl. Thanks, good to know.