Vinyl siding definitely draws strong opinions from homeowners—those who love it ardently praise its energy efficiency, and especially its painless maintenance. After all, cleaning it with a hose is fairly simple, and there’s no need to repaint it—at least, in most cases.
But what if you decide that painting is the right option for your home? Maybe you can’t afford new siding or you’ve looked into it and aren’t fond of the limited colors you’ve seen, which has you wondering: can it be repainted instead?
The short answer is yes—but it’s complicated. To avoid headaches like voided warranties or warped siding, you’ll need to make sure you’ve thought your decision through and have followed instructions to a tee. Here’s what you need to know to get started.
Do you need to paint?
Most homeowners choose vinyl siding for its convenience—not having to touch up the paint is one of the main selling points. After all, a professional job will run you several thousand dollars, and must be redone every three to seven years, depending on the climate in your area—quite a commitment!
If your current siding lacks the vivid color it had when it was first installed, it’s worth reading over your warranty to see if it covers excessive fading. Most siding companies offer a lifetime policy and may replace or reimburse for severe color damage—usually if it’s over what’s known as four Hunter units, a measurement the industry uses to rate color intensity. One Hunter unit represents a very incremental difference in pigment, so five units is not necessarily a massive discoloration.
However, if your warranty won’t cover a replacement, if you inherited the siding from a previous owner, or if you’re just ready for a fresh color, you can paint. You just need to know a few things first:
- Painting may invalidate your warranty. Check your policy details to make sure that a fresh coat won’t leave you with the bag for future damages or defects—especially if your siding is new.
- Dark paint may cause panels to buckle or warp. There’s a reason a lot of vinyl siding comes in lighter colors. Darker shades absorb heat, which may raise surface temperatures too high for the vinyl, wreaking all sorts of havoc. If you’re changing the hue of your home, always aim for something that matches or is even lighter than your current color scheme.
Choosing Your Paint
If you’ve read all of that and still think painting is the best solution to your siding woes, you’ll need to make sure you’re selecting the right kind. Only buy latex urethane paint that is rated for exteriors. No primer is necessary.
Like any paint job, your work will look best if you clean the area thoroughly before beginning. Most siding companies recommend a solution of water, liquid, and dry laundry detergent and advocate using a soft-bristled car washing brush and a garden hose. Never use a power washer or bleach on your siding, as this can damage the surface.
After the siding is clean and dry, if the weather is accommodating, you’re ready to paint. By accommodating, we mean that it is not too hot or windy—paint may not adhere correctly on a sweltering or blustery day and may be prone to cracking or flaking over time. The majority of vinyl siding should only be painted in temperatures between 40 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Apply it like you would to any wooden surface, using a roller or sprayer for large areas and a brush around the trim and edges. Always use at least two coats, allowing the paint to dry fully in between.
After that, there’s nothing left to do but sit back and admire your handiwork. If you did the job correctly, you won’t need to repaint the vinyl for another ten years, so enjoy!
Tell us about your experiences with painting vinyl siding, or ask us any questions, in the comments below.