How to Paint Vinyl Siding

Paint Vinyl Siding to Revive Your Home

Author Lawrence Angell

About three years ago, the idea that you would paint vinyl siding was a recipe for disaster. Things are different now thanks to the advancements in paint characteristics to accommodate the expansion and contraction of vinyl siding with temperature fluctuations. I have seen many types of vinyl siding over the years and even the high quality siding eventually fades and needs to be replaced or repainted.
boring housing development colors shown in this house with vinyl sidingTired of Taupe? Gagging on Gray? Paint that boring vinyl.
Many types of siding will last over 10 years before it needs to be repainted. Before painting vinyl was an option, the vinyl siding was simply replaced. This was also a really expensive option considering the huge markup in contracted labor because the siding itself wasn't really all that expensive. It's great that we have much better options now. There are many types of paints like Sherwin Williams brand "Duration" acrylic latex exterior paint. I love this stuff because it expands in the hottest summer months and contracts in the coldest winter months along with the vinyl it is painted on.

Prepping When you Paint Vinyl Siding

The most important thing about painting vinyl siding is to make sure that the surface of the vinyl is completely clean, dry and dust-free. There are a few different ways to clean vinyl siding, but I prefer using a scrubbing brush and dish detergent. As a pre-wash, I will connect the garden hose to a hot water spigot and use vinyl siding cleaner that connects to the other end of the hose and you just spray the cleaning solution on with the hot water from the garden hose. I will then drag out the bucket and scrubbing brush. This is the best way to get it completely clean.

Some people prefer to use power washers. If you want to use a pressure sprayer, be sure that you spray in a downward direction. Spraying upward from the ground will fill the weep holes in the siding full of water taking several days to dry and it will leave dirty water trails running down the siding. Siding is made to shed water in a downward direction. As long as you remember that, you'll be just fine.

Application Tips When You Paint Vinyl Siding

Once the siding is completely clean and dry, you can apply the paint. Most types of vinyl siding paint have to be applied in temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit and less than 90 degrees Fahrenheit. They also need at least two days of warm temperatures to dry thoroughly.

You can apply the paint with a sprayer, roller, or a brush. It doesn't matter. The paint will go on smooth because of the surface of the vinyl. Two coats are desirable but not completely necessary. One point to remember is that you will be applying the paint when the vinyl is fully expanded. That means that when it contracts in colder temperatures, it will leave unpainted strips at every seam. That's why it's important to lift each seam and paint under it about one inch under the overlap seam.

Allow the paint to dry for about two days before touching it. It's best to avoid extremely hot temperatures when applying the paint. If all these tips are followed, your vinyl siding paint project should yield great results.

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About the Author

Larry Angell is the author of Sweat Equity, building a house at half cost. His experience working with low income families to attain affordable housing has started him on a crusade to help other people learn how to build homes for a fraction of the cost. He teaches the advantages and benefits of becoming new homeowners with high equity

Editor's Notes

Larry does an excellent job laying out the case for painting vinyl, but I want to emphasize one point. As he says, the vinyl expands and contracts. It is very important to paint behind the overlap, but this is also difficult to do well. The paint will want to bridge between the siding planks. This is bad.

If the paint bridges, or seals the two planks together, when the contraction occurs this paint will get stretched out, it will tend to pull away from the vinyl, and it will look like a raggedy mess.

I address these problems with painting vinyl siding in a separate article, where I also explain how to avoid paint bridging problem

So, before you commit to painting your entire house you might want to try it out in some hidden corner first. Or, if having it done professionally, ask for a referral to someone who has had it done previously.

Check Out My Other Siding Pages!

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