Does the vinyl siding on your home look worn and tired? Or are you ready for a change in the color of your home's exterior? If you answered "yes" to either of these questions, you might be considering painting your vinyl siding. You may be wondering what types of paint work best on vinyl. We've done the research, and we have the answers for you!
The best paint to use on vinyl siding is exterior latex urethane that contains both acrylic and urethane resins. Major manufacturers like Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams now produce paints specifically engineered for vinyl siding.
The decision to paint your vinyl siding is a big one. You need to consider many factors, including the labor involved, the look you hope to achieve, and how long that new look will last. We've broken down all of those considerations in the remainder of this article, so keep reading to learn more!
What Is The Best Paint To Use On Vinyl Siding?
First, A Caution...
Although painting your vinyl siding is a less expensive option than installing new siding, painting may void the manufacturer's warranty on your siding. In some cases, it may also affect the coverage on your homeowner's insurance. Make sure to review your warranty and consult with your insurance agent before you decide to paint.
What's Different About Vinyl Siding?
There are three major factors to consider when selecting paint for vinyl siding:
- Vinyl is less porous than most other types of siding, so it requires paint and/or primer that adhere strongly.
- Vinyl siding expands and contracts with fluctuations in the outdoor temperature, so it needs paint that can flex rather than cracking and buckling under stress.
- Dark-colored paint absorbs heat, which may cause the vinyl siding to warp; so, you should choose a paint color that is no darker than the original color of your siding (except for Sherwin-Williams, noted below).
Two major manufacturers -- Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams -- have developed palettes of paint specifically designed with the extra adhesion and flexibility needed for optimum performance on vinyl siding. We describe those products below. We have also included two less-expensive but highly reputable brands whose paint is approved for use on multiple types of siding, including vinyl.
Premium Paint Specifically For Use On Vinyl
Recent advances in paint production technology have allowed manufacturers to develop premium paints designed specifically for vinyl siding and trim. These paints cost more up-front, but the results are better, and the finish lasts longer.
In its Colors For Vinyl palette, Benjamin Moore has developed 75 different hues of exterior latex urethane that are ideal for painting vinyl siding and trim. This paint adheres strongly, hides minor imperfections in the vinyl, and flexes with the expansion and contraction of the siding. And, because it's a premium paint, it is mildew-resistant and resists cracking, peeling, and fading. All of the palette colors are in the light-to-medium range, so they won't absorb heat and cause the siding to warp.
Sherwin-Williams Vinyl-Safe exterior paints are also formulated for use on vinyl siding and trim. Like the Benjamin Moore vinyl palette, Vinyl-Safe paints adhere strongly, flex with the siding, and resist mildew, cracking, fading, and peeling. In addition, several of the 100+ colors in the Vinyl-Safe palette are dark shades, specially designed not to overheat and warp the underlying vinyl.
Less Expensive Paint Suitable For Use On Vinyl
Most paint manufacturers have at least one exterior paint line used on many types of siding, including vinyl. If you choose one of these options, you will spend less money and still get an attractive finish; however, your siding will probably need to be re-painted sooner.
Behr Premium Plus Ultra Exterior paint is suitable for vinyl siding and trim and provides a lower-cost option than Sherwin-Williams or Benjamin Moore. You can choose from the wide variety of Behr Exterior paint colors available, but to avoid the warping problem described above, stick with colors that are no darker than the current color of your vinyl siding.
Valspar's Medallion Exterior line is intended for use on most surfaces, including vinyl. Again, to protect your siding, avoid choosing darker paint colors.
How Do You Prep Vinyl Siding For Painting?
Painting vinyl siding is not particularly difficult, although it can be time-consuming. Follow the same four steps you'd take to paint other types of siding: Cleaning, Prepping, Priming, and Painting.
It is essential that you thoroughly clean your siding before you paint. Vinyl can accumulate grime and mildew; if they are not removed before painting, they will prevent the paint from sticking and shorten the life of your new finish.
Wash your siding by hand before painting. Although it is time-consuming, hand-washing allows you to get "up close and personal" with your siding, so you can be sure you have eliminated all the dirt and mildew. It also lets you see (and repair) any damage before painting. Taking the time to do a thorough cleaning and inspection of your siding will result in a better, longer-lasting finish.
- Use a cloth or soft-bristled brush and a cleaner such as the one shown below.
- Wash by hand a section at a time, starting at the top of the house and working down.
- Each "section" should be as much siding as you can easily wash in about ten minutes.
- After you finish washing each section, rinse it thoroughly with a hose or garden sprayer.
- If any grime, mildew, or stains remain, brush additional cleaner on them and let them sit for 15 minutes before scrubbing and rinsing again.
- As you work, note any holes, cracks, or other damage in the siding.
- Don't forget to wash any trim that you plan to paint.
- After you've finished cleaning, give your siding time to dry thoroughly before you begin Prepping.
If your siding is in good shape, the Prepping stage will be quick and easy.
- First, repair small holes or other minor damage to your siding. (If your inspection uncovered extensive damage that threatens the integrity of your siding, consider replacing the siding instead of painting it.)
- Next, if you plan to paint with a sprayer, tape and cover windows, doors, and any trim that you don't want to paint the same color as the body of the house. (If you plan to paint with a roller, tape-and-cover, or don't, according to your preference and level of skill.)
Priming (Do You Need To Prime Vinyl Siding Before Painting?)
If your siding is relatively new and it's protective colored coating is still in good condition, you may not need to prime. You should apply a coat of primer in any of the following circumstances:
- The protective colored coating on your siding is peeling or completely gone in sections.
- The surface of your siding is pocked, and you want the primer to help hide these imperfections.
- You plan to use paint that is several shades lighter than the original color.
- You want to ensure the best adhesion (and longer life) for your paint job.
You can use either a sprayer or a roller to prime and paint your vinyl siding. Although sprayers are generally considered to be quicker, take into account the time you will spend taping and covering windows and trim if you elect this method. If you choose to paint by hand, follow these steps:
- Cut in around windows and trim with a 2" angled sash brush.
- Apply a coat of paint to the body of the siding, using a 1/2" nap roller
- Allow the first coat to dry thoroughly before applying a second coat.
- If necessary, apply a third coat after the second has dried completely.
- Allow 3-4 days for the paint to cure before attaching decor or trim materials.
Can You Power Wash Painted Vinyl Siding?
Using a power washer on vinyl siding is generally not recommended because the high-pressure spray can cause dents, cracks, and pocks. Power washing is particularly hard on painted vinyl siding, as it puts great stress on the cohesion of the paint, thus speeding the development of cracking and flaking. Instead, you should hand-wash painted siding annually, following the steps outlined in the "Cleaning" section above.
How Long Does Paint Last On Vinyl Siding?
If you clean your siding thoroughly before painting and use high-quality, vinyl-specific primer and paint, your new paint job can last up to 10 years. If you use a paint that is compatible with vinyl but not specifically designed for it, you can expect your new finish to last for about 5 years. Vinyl siding in poor condition or not thoroughly cleaned before painting may last as little as 3 years.
Until a few years ago, vinyl siding could not be painted. However, advances in paint manufacturing technology have made it possible to give your worn vinyl siding a new look with paint. Because vinyl has some unusual characteristics, it is best to use paints specifically formulated for vinyl siding. If you choose high-quality, vinyl-specific paint and do a thorough job of cleaning and prepping, you can give your vinyl-sided home a new look that will last up to ten years.
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