The whole point of vinyl siding is that you don’t have to paint it and it’ll last for decades, but there are actually a lot of good reasons to consider painting your vinyl siding. For one, it allows you to freshen and transform the exterior of your home—if your siding is faded and weathered, a coat of paint will do wonders. For another, if your siding is in decent shape, a coat of paint can extend its lifespan: Most vinyl siding has a lifespan of about 30-40 years, and painting it every decade or so can help you get the most out of it, saving you money.
How much money? Including materials and installation, it can cost you close to $18,000 to replace your vinyl siding, with an average cost of just under $12,000. Painting is a lot cheaper, running you an average of $4,000 depending on the size of the home. And if you DIY the job (which is totally possible), you can get it done for about $1,000. That’s a bargain—and it’s easier than you think.
Choose the right paint
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Your first step is to choose the right paint. Until relatively recently it was impossible to paint vinyl siding—the material is designed to expand and contract with the weather, and old-school paint couldn’t flex enough, leading to almost instant cracking and peeling. Today you can find exterior paints specifically designed for vinyl siding that can stretch and contract along with it.
Choosing an appropriately formulated paint is just one thing to consider. The other is color. Because your siding is bathed in sunlight and ultraviolet (UV) radiation all the time, it can absorb a lot of heat, and it’s often color-calibrated to handle this. It’s possible that painting it a darker color will affect this calibration, causing warping—so it’s best to stick with a similar or lighter shade.
You should also plan to use an appropriately-formulated primer. You might get away without priming your siding first, but why take the chance that your paint will peel off a few months after spending a few days painting it?
Use the right tools
The success of any paint job depends on the tools as much as the paint. You’ll need to ensure you have the following:
- Soft-bristled brush (car wash brushes work like a charm here)
- A power washer is optional, but effective
- Ladder that can reach the upper floor of your home
- Paint supplies, including a bucket, drop cloth, painter’s tape, roller, brushes, and paint tray.
- A paint sprayer is also optional, but can speed up the job dramatically
How to paint vinyl siding
Once you’ve chosen your paint, your next step is to look at the local weather forecast. You’ll need a few rain-free days, and you should avoid extremes of heat or cold. Overcast weather that keeps the sun off your drying paint would be ideal.
Once you’ve scheduled your painting project, it’s a pretty straightforward process:
- Clean. It’s always vital that the surface to be painted is clean and free of debris. Do a thorough cleaning using either a powdered detergent (Spic and Span works great) or trisodium phosphate (TSP). You can either power-wash your siding or use a soft-bristled brush to do this.
- Rinse and repair. Rinse thoroughly and then inspect your siding. Repair any damaged areas—an exterior filler can be used to patch small holes or dents. More extensive damage might require replacing an entire section, but the good news is that you don’t need to color-match too closely since you’re painting anyway.
- Dry. Let the siding dry out for at least two days. Water can collect in the grooves and voids of the siding, especially if you used a power washer.
- Tape and mask. Cover any areas you don’t want painted, like trim, windows, and doors. This is especially crucial if you’re using a sprayer.
- Prime. Apply your primer according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and let dry.
- Paint. Start by cutting in around corners, windows, and doors with a brush. You can paint siding with a brush and roller, but keep in mind these will likely leave visible marks. A sprayer will give you a smoother finish.
Painting vinyl siding is similar to any painting project, but can be time-consuming and laborious. You should also observe your paint job for a few weeks after finishing—your siding is designed to contract and expand with the temperature. If it warms up after painting, the expansion may expose unpainted sections in thin lines, which you will need to touch up.