Painting Vinyl Siding
You can paint vinyl siding. It's important to realize you must use urethane paint and chose a light color for the best results.
Paint Vinyl Siding Checklist
- Use urethane resin paint - see link below
- Avoid dark colors to prevent peeling
- WATCH painting video below
- Clean siding with Stain Solver oxygen bleach
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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 you paint vinyl siding?
If it is possible, are there special paints and techniques that I must use? Donald N., Scranton, PA
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DEAR DONALD: You can paint vinyl siding! 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.
How Do I Paint Vinyl Siding?
You paint vinyl siding using a special paint made for vinyl siding. The paint must have a special urethane resin or glue.
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.
Why Does Paint Peel From Vinyl Siding?
Paint peels from vinyl siding because vinyl expands and contracts as it gets hot and cold. This back-and-forth movement breaks the bond between the paint and siding.
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.
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Can Vinyl Siding Be Painted With Dark Paint?
Do not paint vinyl siding with a dark paint. It will absorb too much heat when the sun strikes it. Vinyl siding soaks up the heat to a great degree. If it gets too hot, it can buckle and distort.
Are Lighter Paint Colors Best for Vinyl?
Light colors reflect more of the sun's heat and are best for vinyl siding.
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.
Should I Paint My Siding With a Similar Color Shade?
Yes, paint your siding a very similar shade if possible using a high-quality paint that says on the label it's made for vinyl.
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.
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.
Is Urethane Paint Best?
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.
Why is Urethane Paint 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.
Exterior latex paints that contain urethane are readily available. Simply look for the word urethane on the label of the paint can.
Do I Have to Clean the Siding First?
Yes, you must clean the siding before you paint. Follow the exact directions on the paint can label to get the absolute best results from this paint job. 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
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.
Are Pressure Washers 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.
Should I Remove Mildew Before I Paint?
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.
Should I Paint In Direct Sunlight?
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.
|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!