Can You Paint Vinyl Siding?

When can you paint vinyl siding on your house? Learn these critical tips you need to know before applying paint to vinyl house siding.

Siding Brian McEntire/Shutterstock

It may seem counter-intuitive, but you can definitely paint vinyl siding—and get great-looking, long-lasting results. Here’s how to choose the right paint brush.

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When most people ask “Can you paint vinyl siding?” the question they really want answered is: Does paint stick to vinyl siding? Years ago, the answer to that question would have been no. Advances in paint technology, however, have changed the situation. These advances give homeowners a much less expensive option for renewing the look of their home. For more home renewal inspiration, check out 10 modern front doors we are loving right now.

The expansion and contraction vinyl experiences throughout the year creates the biggest challenge for paint formulators. A paint that sets too hard cannot withstand the stresses of that environment. Choose a latex urethane paint that can flex with the siding. Several paint companies make a specifically formulated base for this task. The only remaining issue—mostly for those who live where winters get frigid—concerns joints where pieces of siding overlap: contraction may expose thin lines of unpainted siding.

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Specifics for Painting Vinyl

When it comes to the process, answering the question “Can you paint vinyl siding?” does not require any departure from a normal approach. Clean, prime (if necessary), cut in with a brush (around windows, doors and corners), use a roller on everything else (1/2-inch nap and backbrush if the siding is not smooth) and apply two coats. Siding that has worn to the point of losing its original color or that exhibits pitting or porous sections will need a coat of primer. Just as with the topcoat, choose a primer formulated for use on exterior vinyl.

You can choose to apply the topcoat with a sprayer, but since it requires backbrushing for the best bond with the vinyl (and you must take time to mask off windows and trim), it really does not save you any time or effort.

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Some other limitations do exist, however, but observing a few simple guidelines make painting over vinyl a much more cost-effective renewal solution than residing your house.

Color Matters

Your siding may not tolerate a color darker than your current tone. The additional heat absorbed by the darker color may warp the siding beyond repair. Companies such as Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams have specific color palettes for use on vinyl siding.

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Recipe for Cleaning

An almost universally recommended cleaning solution for vinyl siding includes 1 gallon of water, 1/3-cup laundry detergent, 2/3-cup powdered household cleaner (such as Spic ‘n Span) and 1-quart oxygen-based, liquid laundry bleach. Apply with a sprayer and scrub by hand using a cloth or soft-bristled brush for the best results. Rinse thoroughly and allow to dry.

Watch the Weather

As mentioned before, the weather affects vinyl more than other siding materials, so to get the best adhesion, work in the most appropriate weather conditions. Sunny, hot, humid or windy days create problems, so stick to overcast, comfortable, still conditions for working.

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Warranty Worries

Depending upon your product, painting vinyl siding may void the warranty, so make sure to research your terms and paint only according to its instructions if the warranty is still in effect.

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