Q&A / 

Painting Vinyl Siding

Painting Vinyl Siding TIPS

DEAR TIM: My house has a combination of wood and vinyl siding. The wood siding needs a fresh coat of paint, but I want the color of the two sidings to be consistent.

My wife wants a new color that is different than what we have now. Can I successfully paint vinyl siding?

If it is possible, are there special paints and techniques that I must use? Donald N., Scranton, PA

DEAR DONALD: If you had asked this question several years ago, I don't think you would have liked the answer. But fortunately, there have been some major breakthroughs in the paint and coatings industry.

New Sticky Paints

Several new exterior paints are available that have been formulated to stick to vinyl siding. They perform so well that the paint manufacturers offer a long-term warranty so long as you follow the paint label instructions.

Vinyl Expands & Contracts

Painting vinyl siding is challenging for several reasons. Vinyl siding has a very high expansion/contraction coefficient.

This simply means that it expands and contracts significantly as it experiences periods of exposure to sunlight and then periods of shade or darkness. When direct sunlight hits the siding, it grows dramatically.

This movement of the siding caused older traditional exterior paints to fail in short order as the bond between the paint and the siding was severed by this constant back and forth movement.

Painting Vinyl Siding Video

Here's how pros paint vinyl siding. I can't vouch that everything they're doing in the video is correct, but if you do decide to paint, you may want to use a sprayer as you see in the video. It's the ONLY way to apply paint to vinyl.

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Dark Colors & Heat

Vinyl siding also soaks up heat to a great degree. If it gets too hot, it can buckle and distort.

This is vinyl siding. It was dark red from the factory, but it's faded as you can see. Because the vinyl is dark it's going to expand even more when the sun's rays strike it. Copyright 2017 Tim Carter

Lighter Colors Better

This is why many vinyl products are offered in lighter colors. Because of this fact, you can actually damage your vinyl siding if you paint it a color that is too dark.

IMPORTANT TIP: The paint manufacturers highly recommend that you paint the vinyl siding a color that is no darker than the current shade of your vinyl siding.

Stay in Shade Family

For example, if your siding is currently a light shade of beige, you can paint it a light shade of green, blue, tan, etc. The trick is to use paint store color chip cards to guide you.

Locate a color that is as close as possible to your existing vinyl siding. Use that color chip card as a benchmark and find complimentary paint chip cards that have the same depth of color as the paint chip that matches your siding.

You can then select a color that is equal to or less in color richness and depth as your existing vinyl siding color.

Urethane Paint

You must use the right paint to achieve victory. The ones that seem to work best with vinyl siding are ones that have a urethane resin. You can also use a paint that has a blend of urethane and acrylic resins.

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Super Sticky

Water-based urethane paints have extraordinary adhesive qualities. This is exactly what one needs to combat the daily movement of the vinyl siding.

Here's a great urethane-fortified paint. That's why on the label it says it's for porches and floors! It's tough enough to walk on so you know it will perform really well on your vinyl siding where no one can walk except squirrels. CLICK THE IMAGE NOW TO have this paint delivered to your home.

Exterior latex paints that contain urethane are readily available. Simply look for the word urethane on the label of the paint can.

Squeaky Clean

To get the absolute best results from this paint job you need to do a few other things. I feel that a clean, dry surface is very important.

If you clean your house like your own body or your car, you'll have a great head start. This means using soap and water and some good old-fashioned elbow grease.

Rub & Scrub

Stain Solver is MADE in the USA with USA ingredients that are food-grade quality. CLICK THE IMAGE to order some NOW.

You must mechanically remove the dirt film from the existing painted surfaces with soapy sponges, rags or brushes.

The best cleaning solution is a mixture of Stain Solver certified organic oxygen bleach and a small amount of liquid Dawn dish soap.

Stain Solver is a powder you mix with water. I use hot water and stir it for two minutes making sure all of the powder is dissolved.

You apply it to vinyl siding that's in the shade. Keep the siding wet with the solution for up to 15 minutes then scrub the siding with a brush used to clean RVs.

Pressure Washers No Good

Don't count on pressure washers to clean your existing surfaces. Not only do they not get all the dirt off the surfaces, but they also can inject massive amounts of water into and behind the siding. This hidden water can cause big problems as you begin to apply the new paint.

Remove Mildew

If mildew is present on the existing surfaces, use an oxygen bleach solution to remove it. Stain Solver Oxygen bleach will not harm the vinyl siding nor any vegetation near your home.

IMPORTANT TIP: Avoid chlorine bleach as it's highly toxic to vegetation. 

Shade Is Your Friend

Painting in direct sunlight is also not the best idea. If you can paint your home in cooler weather and preferably on overcast days, the paint will have excellent conditions in which to dry and bond to the vinyl siding and existing wood siding.

Windy, hot and sunny weather is not the best time to paint contrary to what many people believe.

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Message from Tim:

Years ago while researching a column about cleaning decks, I discovered the wonders of Oxygen Bleach. It is perhaps the 'greenest' cleaner I know of as it uses oxygen ions to break apart stains, dirt and odor molecules. There are no harsh chemicals, and it works on just about anything that is water washable.

I decided to create my own special blend using ingredients made in the USA. In fact, the raw materials in the active ingredient are food-grade quality registered with the FDA. I call my product Stain Solver. I urge you to use it to help with cleaning your vinyl siding. You will be amazed at the results!

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2 Responses to Painting Vinyl Siding

  1. I came to the perfect place to get the information I was looking for and I got it, my concerns was if I can paint existing vinyl siding and you all answered my question. Thank you.

  2. As a distributor of urethane coatings, I tell people it's important not to apply the coating too thick. Ideal mil thickness is 3 to 4 mils dry. This is best achieved with a spray system; HVLP is the best way to avoid a lot of overspray. People should also wear personal protection to avoid getting overspray on their skin, in their eyes or from inhaling it.

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