26 Apr How to Paint Vinyl Siding
Today, we want to focus in particular on the process of painting vinyl siding. We hope you’ll find this resource to be an informative guide to this particular home-improvement project. This project is doable for someone who has a reasonable amount of experience in home improvement or painting.
But if you do happen to be a beginner who is interested in getting your vinyl siding painted, enlist a family member or friend with a bit more experience to work with you and help you out — or give us a call and let us take over for a smooth, stylish finish every time.
Tips for Painting Vinyl Siding
Can vinyl siding be painted? We certainly think so. If your siding is beginning to look weathered, or even if you’re just looking for a change, painting is a great way to spruce it up and give it a new lease on life without breaking the bank.
Here are some of our best vinyl siding painting tips to help you get started on your project.
1. Choose the Right Weather
When repainting your vinyl siding, avoid days where the temperatures and conditions are extreme. This means skipping the days that are especially hot, humid, rainy or windy. You will likely be miserable when working in these conditions, and the state of the weather during application can affect the paint itself. For example, paint applied on a particularly hot and humid day may be prone to cracking and flaking away over time, and it may not even adhere properly at the moment. Be patient and keep an eye on the weather forecast as you plan for a time to complete this project.
2. Check Your Warranty
If you still have an active warranty on your vinyl siding, double check the conditions. Painting the vinyl may void the warranty. If so, you need to consider whether you want to continue with your project.
3. Be Picky About Your Paint
Vinyl is different from wood, drywall, plastic or anything else you may have painted in the past. Not every paint will work well on it. Because of this, you shouldn’t just reach into your garage or shed and grab the first can of paint you see to start the job. Instead, you’ll need an exterior paint that is designed to work well and create lasting color on vinyl.
4. Prep Your Surface
One of the biggest mistakes you could make when painting your vinyl siding is to jump in with zero preparation. If you don’t lay the proper groundwork for your paint, the coats will not stick and the finish could look strange. Proper preparation is crucial to a successful paint job.
How to Prep Vinyl Siding for Painting
The right preparation has the power to launch a beautiful paint job, while a lack of preparation has the corresponding ability to destroy any hope of a smooth paint finish. If you’re getting ready to paint your vinyl siding, here are the preparatory steps we recommend going through before you even open your first can of paint.
1. Clean the Siding
The last thing you want to do is to put layers of paint on over dirt, mud and other stains that may mar your siding. Painting on a dirty surface will create a lumpy, uneven finish, and it may also affect the color of the paint or cause problems with the paint’s adhesion over time.
Avoid this problem altogether by giving your siding a good cleaning before you do anything else. The right cleaning solution will have the power to cut through even the most intense stains and leave your siding sparkling and ready for a new coat of paint.
If cleaning and climbing a stepladder to reach high, tricky parts of the siding is something you’d prefer not to do, leave this job to the professionals. Our exterior paint prep crew uses a trisodium phosphate (TSP) cleaner. This cleaner will do an excellent job removing traces of chalk from the siding, in addition to general cleaning. We apply this cleaner by hand using a deck brush, and then pressure-wash the siding to rinse it off. We’ll rinse off the suds and allow time for the siding to dry before moving on to the next step. This will help ensure a clean surface for maximum paint adhesion.
2. Apply Primer
Not everyone agrees on how and when primer should be used on vinyl siding. Some experts say that depending on your specific situation, primer may not be a necessary step. If your current siding color is entirely intact and undamaged, you likely won’t need primer. But if the base coat has worn away or is pitted, porous and cracking, then it will be necessary to add primer. This will help to create a smooth layer for your final coats of paint.
Others contend that primer should be used every time, no matter what, to help create a more even base layer for your final coats of paint.
Based on both of these views, we can draw two conclusions:
- If your current paint coats are damaged, you should start with a primer coat.
- If the paint isn’t damaged, it will be up to you whether you want to add primer or not.
If you aren’t sure, look at the paint you plan to use and see if it recommends a layer of primer.
Proper Painting Techniques
Anyone can grab a brush and a random can of paint off the shelf and begin painting. And while this would technically get the job done, it probably wouldn’t look great. It would look worse as time went on, too, because proper care hadn’t been taken to apply the paint properly.
But what is the right way to apply paint to your vinyl siding? Let’s look at some techniques.
1. Choose the Right Paint
It’s crucial to choose the right paint for your siding. As we mentioned earlier, not every type of paint was designed to work on vinyl siding. Some may not dry properly or look polished, others may not adhere and still others may actually damage the siding itself.
Vinyl siding paint color is of particular importance. Dark colors will absorb heat from the sun. Because vinyl was not built to handle this much heat, if you paint your siding a very dark color, the panels may begin to warp under the heat. Lighter colors will not have this same problem because light colors don’t absorb as much heat. If you’ve ever made the mistake of wearing a black shirt on a 95-degree day, you’ll have experienced this phenomenon first hand.
In addition to worrying about the color, you’ll want to be careful about the paint you select. Paint manufacturers have created different varieties that are intentionally designed to be vinyl-safe. When shopping for your paints, keep an eye out for these. They tend to be made from a blend of urethane and acrylic resins, engineered for maximum adhesion to a vinyl surface.
When you’re searching for the right kind of paint to use for vinyl siding, look for something that isn’t too dark in color and that’s advertised as vinyl-safe. PPG SlidingSafe Color Technology is one example of a paint explicitly engineered for use on vinyl. PPG is the professional paint we use for each project — so you can rest assured that if you ask us to complete your vinyl painting project, we’ll use the right materials and treat your home as if it was ours.
2. Apply the Paint
There isn’t any complicated technique you’ll need to learn just because you’re painting vinyl instead of some other material. The physical act of painting is much the same as it would be if you were painting any other material. Use a roller for the large areas, and grab a smaller brush for corners, edges and detail work. Do your best to cover the surface evenly, instead of applying the paint thickly in one area while leaving another area almost bare.
Once the first coat is finished, let it dry before continuing to the second coat. You’ll have to judge this for yourself, as drying times will vary based on a variety of factors. Once this is dry, apply the second coat of paint and let this dry as well.
In most cases, two coats will be enough. It is possible that three coats will be needed — this is something you’ll need to evaluate on your own project. If the paint still looks thin and you feel that you can see the old paint or primer through your new paint, then go ahead and add another coat.
3. Watch for Thermal Expansion
When the temperature drops outside, your vinyl may contract slightly. Conversely, it may expand slightly when it is exceptionally hot. This is natural, and the siding is built in such a way that allows for this movement. It’s important to note this potential movement for two different reasons.
Firstly, avoid both extremely hot and extremely cold days as painting days. The siding will not be in its natural position and you may either miss spots or do more work than is necessary. Secondly, you may notice slight color gaps on freezing days due to this thermal movement. This is not a cause for panic and does not mean you did anything wrong. Once the temperature rises again, the siding will return to normal.
Caring for Your New Paint Coat
You’ve finished painting your vinyl siding. The job is done, and it looks beautiful. The purpose of any new coat of paint is to give you coverage over the previous color — so what can you do to keep your new paint job looking fresh for as long as possible?
1. Wash It Regularly
Whether the paint looks dirty or not, try to give it a regular washing down at least once a year. Springtime is a perfect time for this type of cleaning, as you can add it to the list of other spring cleaning chores around the house and yard. Use a power washer or hose to spray down the siding, cleaning away the months of grime, mildew or dirt.
2. Spot Clean When Necessary
A yearly cleaning is great for removing all the stains that have built up throughout the year. Even better than yearly cleaning is to prevent these stains from building up in the first place. If you notice that something has stained your siding, head out with some soap and water or a hose and clean it off before it has the chance to become a stain.
By combining this level of spot treatment with a yearly general cleaning, you’re helping to ensure that your paint job lives a long and healthy life.
3. Have Realistic Expectations
No matter how well you care for your paint and siding, they won’t last forever. If you take good care of your paint, it may last you 10 years, or perhaps even beyond this. Realistically, it’s unwise to expect too much more from your paint. To be on the safe side, plan to repaint your siding after another 10 years unless you plan to replace the siding altogether.
Call in the Professionals From Neighborhood Painting
When a job gets too big, it may be time to call in the vinyl siding painting contractors. We have years of experience, knowledge and practice to bring to the table, and will be able to tackle any job, no matter how big or small.
If you live in the Kansas City area, contact our team at Neighborhood Painting Inc. We’ve been proudly serving our neighborhood for over a decade, and we’re happy to work with you too as you take this next step towards a beautiful and remodeled home. Get a free estimate from us today, and learn more about the work we do through our gallery of success stories.