Many homeowners look at their fading house and wonder, “can you paint vinyl siding?” The answer is yes, you can. But there are things to consider. Read on to learn what these are.
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- Can You Paint Vinyl Siding?
- Painting vs Replacing Vinyl Siding
- How to Paint Vinyl Siding
- Things to Consider
If the color is fading or you’re just ready for a change, can you paint vinyl siding? The answer depends on a few factors. Some vinyl siding can be painted with no problems.
But you should know how it will affect your siding’s warranty, lifespan, appearance, and more. Vinyl siding is one of the most popular choices for several good reasons.
It’s cost-effective. It’s resistant to damage. It’s easy to maintain (unlike wood or stucco). But what if you’re ready for a new color, have faded vinyl siding, or notice imperfections that could easily be hidden with a new coat of paint?
The Big Question: Can You Paint Vinyl Siding?
Can you paint vinyl siding? It’s smart to get as much accurate information as possible before undertaking a project like this. Painting vinyl siding isn’t always recommended.
But if your siding meets a few important criteria and you use the correct paint, it can be done. Read on to learn when painting your vinyl siding is a good idea and when you’d be better off replacing it.
We’ll share all the info you need to choose the right paint, prepare vinyl siding for paint, and make sure your paint job doesn’t interfere with your vinyl siding’s warranty.
The Answer: It Depends
If your current vinyl siding needs an update, you might consider painting it rather than replacing it.
A color change can breathe new life into your home, increase its curb appeal, cover imperfections, and help you get it ready to sell. But it’s not always a good choice.
Painting your vinyl siding is possible, depending on the age and condition of your vinyl siding, how the cost compares to a full siding replacement, and the terms of your vinyl siding warranty.
It’s also essential to use the right type of paint. Here’s what you should consider before painting your vinyl siding.
Age of Vinyl Siding
Whether or not you should paint your vinyl siding depends partially on how long it’s been there. If your siding isn’t very old or is in excellent condition, you could paint it instead of replacing it.
Vinyl siding can last 60 to 100 years, but many people replace vinyl siding well before the 60-year mark due to lack of proper maintenance over the years. Vinyl that is close to 60 years old may not be a good candidate for a paint job.
Vinyl siding is meant to protect your home. While appearance is important, you don’t want to waste time and money “putting lipstick on a pig.”
Older siding is a better candidate for a complete replacement – and you can choose the color you want without painting the entire house.
Condition of Vinyl Siding
The condition of your vinyl siding affects whether or not it’s a good candidate for painting. Vinyl is a highly-rated siding material, but it’s not without issues. Small chips, holes, and cracks allow moisture, debris, and pests in.
Vinyl siding can buckle, bulge, and even melt in the wrong conditions. Any of these can shorten the lifespan of vinyl siding and make replacement necessary much sooner.
Painting over imperfections won’t fix them or stop small damages from getting worse. If your vinyl siding isn’t in great condition, you may want to consider replacing it rather than painting it.
Don’t paint over vinyl siding that shows any sign of damage. Instead, have a professional inspect it to determine if the problem is being caused by a bigger issue.
These might include:
- Foundation problem
- Pest infestation
- Heat damage
- Or water damage
If your vinyl siding’s condition is good (and it’s not yet time for replacement), painting it may be a good solution. Make sure it meets the criteria below as well.
Vinyl Siding Warranty and Homeowner’s Insurance
Check your vinyl siding warranty before you decide to paint it. Some vinyl siding manufacturers void the warranty if the siding is painted.
Some homeowner’s insurance policies won’t cover damage claims related to painted vinyl siding. This is because using the wrong paint on vinyl siding can create bigger issues.
Colors that are too dark will attract and hold more heat, which can warp and damage the vinyl siding.
Some paints prevent the vinyl siding from naturally expanding and contracting in response to temperature changes, which results in cracks, bulging, or buckling.
If you have an active warranty from your siding manufacturer, confirm whether or not painting will void the warranty.
Check with your homeowner’s insurance company to ensure your policy allows vinyl siding to be painted before proceeding as well.
Type of Paint
Vinyl siding can be painted, but it must be done with the right type of paint to avoid damaging the siding. Special formulations safe for vinyl siding are typically acrylic latex or latex urethane paint.
These will flex with temperature changes and allow the vinyl to expand and contract as it normally does. They won’t have any problem “sticking” to the vinyl.
The paint formulation is important, but so is the color choice. Dark hues attract and hold more heat than lighter colors, and heat is a known enemy of vinyl siding.
There are new technologies that have created “vinyl-safe” darker paints, but it’s less risky to use a color that is as light or lighter than your current siding color.
Cost of Painting vs. Replacing Siding
Consider the cost of painting vs. replacing vinyl siding. Painting vinyl siding is less costly than replacing it entirely, but it’s not cheap, especially if you have professional painters do the job.
Here are average costs for painting and replacing vinyl siding.
Cost of DIY Vinyl Siding Painting
You could spend $60 to $100+ per gallon of vinyl-safe exterior paint. A 1,500 square foot house would require about 10 gallons of paint, while a 2,500 square foot house would require about 15 gallons.
If you spent $75 per gallon, you’d spend about $750 to paint a 1,500 square foot house. You’d spend about $1,125 to paint a 2,500 square foot house.
Cost of Professional Vinyl Siding Painting
Having your vinyl siding professionally painted is more expensive than doing it yourself. In this case, the average homeowner spends about $2,500 to have a 2-story, 2,400 square foot house painted; the national average ranges from $1,716 to $3,679.
Cost of Vinyl Siding Replacement
New vinyl siding will cost you an average of anywhere from $5,500 to $6,800 (for a 2,200 square foot home). Also, replacing vinyl siding involves the removal and disposal of the current siding.
You may pay anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 additional for this. Overall, you might pay from $6,500 to $9,900 for vinyl siding replacement.
How to Paint Vinyl Siding
Choose a mild day to paint vinyl siding. If you can paint in the shade or under a bit of cloud cover, that’s ideal. Avoid days that are very hot, sunny, windy, or humid to get the best painting conditions.
1. Prepare the Surface
Before priming or painting vinyl, the surface needs to be completely clean. Even if your vinyl siding looks clean, give it a good wash anyway to remove any dirt or debris that would prevent the paint from adhering properly.
Use a soft cloth or a long-handled brush with soft bristles to clean vinyl siding. Start from the bottom and rinse off the cleaning solution residue as you go.
Here are a few DIY vinyl cleaning solutions you can mix up to ensure your siding is ready for paint:
- Three parts distilled white vinegar and seven parts water
- 1 cup of oxygen bleach plus 1 gallon of water
- 1/3 cup powdered detergent, 2/3 cup powdered cleaner, 1 quart of bleach, and 1 gallon of water
2. Prime (Optional)
If your vinyl siding is pitted or porous, you’ll need to prime it before painting to ensure the paint can adhere properly.
Use an exterior primer that is safe for vinyl siding. Use a paintbrush around doors, corners, and windows, and a roller brush for the rest.
Once the primer is dry, apply your exterior vinyl-safe paint. Use a paintbrush to cover the areas around doors and windows and on corners. Use a roller brush (1/2 inch nap is recommended) for the larger spaces.
Two coats are recommended for a flawless finish. You’ll need to allow each coat to dry in between. You can touch up any areas that need it once the two coats of paint are dry.
Other Things to Consider
Yes, you can paint vinyl siding. But it’s not without its cons. Here are a few final things to consider before you decide to paint your vinyl siding.
It Doesn’t Last Forever
Painting vinyl siding may only last a few years before it has to be redone. If you spend the average of about $2,500 every five years to have your vinyl siding painted by a professional, over 15 years, that would pay for the cost of a complete vinyl siding replacement instead.
It Might Void Your Warranty
Painting vinyl siding is technically “altering” it, so your siding manufacturer’s warranty might not apply if you paint it. Your homeowner’s insurance policy might refuse to cover any damage to “altered” siding.
Colors Are Limited
Some people opt for painting vinyl siding because there just aren’t that many vinyl color options available. But if you’re hoping for a very dark color, painting isn’t the way to go, as dark paints may damage the vinyl.
Debris Will Ruin the Project
If you don’t thoroughly clean vinyl siding before painting, the paint won’t adhere to the siding properly. Then, you see bits of dirt, mold, or grime mixed into the paint on the surface.
If you’re spending upwards of a thousand dollars to paint your vinyl siding, you want a 100% flawless finish.
It Requires Good Weather
You can’t paint vinyl siding any time of the year. Conditions have to be just right for the paint to adhere. A temperature of 50 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit is the recommended range.
So, you’ll need to paint during a period of mild weather that isn’t humid or rainy. Also, consider that each coat will take several hours to dry, so you may be painting over a day or two.
So, Can You Paint Vinyl Siding?
So, can you paint vinyl siding? Yes. Just keep these considerations in mind. Don’t paint very old vinyl siding (you’re better off just replacing it with siding in a color you like).
Don’t paint vinyl siding in bad condition – you may just be masking a more serious issue. Weigh the cost of painting with the cost of replacing the siding.
Especially consider that painting doesn’t last forever and will need to be done repeatedly throughout your vinyl siding’s lifespan.
Remember to choose the right type of paint – one that is acrylic latex or latex urethane in a vinyl-safe color. Finally, be sure to get the final word from both your siding manufacturer and your homeowner’s insurance company.
You don’t want to lose your warranty or protection from damages in exchange for a fresh coat of paint that will need to be redone in a few years anyway.