Can You Paint Vinyl Siding? Industry Pros Share Tips for a Successful Exterior Makeover
Vinyl siding is a popular and reliable home exterior choice. It is both low-maintenance and easy to clean, plus it comes in a wide variety of colors. Vinyl siding also has an expected lifespan well over 20 years, with some home sources reporting it lasting beyond 60 years, if well-maintained.
However, vinyl siding colors can fade, and uneven sun exposure can leave your home with a patchy facade. While your instinct might be to paint vinyl siding, it's important to consider the state of your home's exterior before picking up a few gallons of paint. Additionally, interior paint doesn't work well on vinyl siding because paint expands and contracts with temperature changes. Instead, vinyl siding requires external latex urethane paint, which contains acrylic and urethane resins, says Josh Riutta, owner of Arizona-based Mikku and Sons Roofing.
If done right, however, painting vinyl siding can be a tremendous value for the price. Here are some instances when you can and should paint a vinyl home exterior.
1. Update Old Siding
Before you even start looking at paint colors, you'll need to assess the state of your vinyl siding. Identify any damage that might need to be repaired. Bill Samuel, a licensed general contractor and real estate developer, has purchased older homes with damaged vinyl. He says sometimes "it isn't possible to find the same siding to replace just the section of damaged siding. So, we will purchase the same style of siding and paint it to match."
This is a cost-effective solution that is especially appealing when the damaged area isn't on the front of the home. Since paint cannot repair the underlying damage, you'll have to be sure to repair or replace the broken or chipping sections before painting over them.
2. Use Quality Paint and Choose Light Colors
Exterior paint options are more varied and advanced today than 30 years ago. If your siding is past its warranty and nearing its lifespan, there's no harm done by trying out one of the top-of-the-line acrylic paints available now. Benjamin Moore's vinyl paint comes in dozens of colors and resists fading, cracking, and peeling. This is true for many major brands, like Sherwin-Williams and Behr.
Most paint companies advise against using dark colors on vinyl siding. According to Behr Pro, dark paint tends to absorb the heat of the sun and transfer it to the substrate. If vinyl siding expands dramatically from heat, it might not be able to return to its original dimensions.
Lighter vinyl siding paint colors can also help with fading. "If you are painting the entire house, I would recommend using a lighter shade of paint since it will fade much slower than darker colors," says Samuel.
Related: How to Paint Your Home's Exterior Like a Pro
3. Turn to a Professional
According to professionals, one coat of paint is good, but two coats are best. Two coats of paint offer the best coverage and prove to be more durable. Also, a paint sprayer, rather than a roller, is great for fast and even application. Remember, even if the job looks acceptable today, a poor job will show over the years. After all, clumping can lead to warping and breakage.
If you plan to do this home improvement project on your own rather than hire a pro, be sure to use the best paint and materials to ensure long-lasting results. Don't cut corners on the application, either. Equip yourself with all the safety gear: a ladder, gloves, skin and eye protection, a helper to pass supplies and offer perspective, and more.
If this job requires tall heights, intricate architectural details, or dangerous sun exposure, consider hiring a professional who can safely navigate these trickier situations.
The Bottom Line on Painting Vinyl Siding
Painting your vinyl siding can add value to your property and offer a long-awaited facelift. New exterior acrylic paints are durable and eye-catching. The trick is to use lighter colors that can ward off fading and warping.
But it's important to only paint vinyl siding that is already in good shape. A major cover-up can only last so long before weather conditions and wear and tear take effect. If there are cracks or breaks, you should invest in a siding replacement. These days, standard siding warranties are around 50 years. Check that yours has actually expired before painting vinyl siding, otherwise painting it could void the existing warranty.