How to: Paint Vinyl Siding With Confidence
Whether it’s inside or out, house painting is necessary for home maintenance. As a professional contractor, we are going to settle the score specifically regarding painting vinyl substrates.
Furthermore, homeowners and other people not of the trade have several questions about how to paint vinyl siding. This article will cover the specifics of painting vinyl siding, shutters, doors, handrails, and posts. We will also address the most common questions and mistakes made when painting a vinyl substrate.
Some homeowners and few installers see vinyl siding as a superior product that requires less maintenance than its counterparts. Vinyl is no stranger to exterior siding applications and is improving as technology for this material becomes more advanced.
Despite the high expectations and technological advancements of plastic siding, it will never last forever. Furthermore, plastic will always be hazardous, acting as fuel to potential house fires. Nonetheless, vinyl siding is a cheaper option applied to over 35% of homes here in the US.
When your siding starts to oxidize and degenerate, a great option to help to preserve vinyl siding is house paint. You would be surprised just how easy painting vinyl siding is and how much money you will save compared to a complete siding replacement.
Here we will reveal procedures and, most importantly, exterior house paints that will have no adverse effect on plastics and add beauty to your home at a fraction of the price!
Applying Paint to Vinyl Siding
In some ways, painting vinyl siding is more straightforward than wood or composite substrates. Vinyl siding is less likely to have areas that require heavy scraping or sanding. There are also significantly fewer expansion joints, if any, that will need caulking or repairing.
While basic paint preparations are less, there are a few application steps that you do not want to mess up.
An airless sprayer is a must-have when painting vinyl. It will apply the paint evenly, get between tight siding tolerances better and much faster. Most importantly, using a paint sprayer will offer a nice uniform finish when applying premium satin finishes.
The second application tip is not to use dark colors when painting vinyl siding. Dark colors draw heat, offer less adhesion, and contain additives that could cause the siding to deform. We will get more into paint product selections later within the article.
Preparing Vinyl Siding
Pressure washing is an essential step to painting vinyl siding. Pressure washing procedures depend on how far along the siding has oxidized. The siding may require a light blast or scrubbing while pressure washing to remove all oxidation thoroughly.
It’s essential to remove as much of the loose oxidation as possible. Doing so will alleviate the need for primer and consequently increase paint adhesion.
Since plastic substrates are inherently slick by nature, it’s also essential to remove dirt, dust, and all loose debris from the surface.
Priming Vinyl Siding
Knowing when to use a primer or surface conditioner specified for vinyl is critical. If a primer coat is needed, it’s equally important to understand that not all exterior primers are safe to use on vinyl surfaces.
First, vinyl siding is exceptionally malleable. Therefore, a proper primer coat must be equally flexible. Acrylic and vinyl polymers found within most water-based primers will do the job.
Secondly, certain water-based paints and primers additives can cause significant failure and degeneration on vinyl siding surfaces. When researching for primers, water-based and vinyl-safe bonding primers are optimal.
Paint Products for Vinyl Siding
Painting vinyl siding is a relatively direct process. However, we have alluded to every step of painting vinyl siding as critical, and it is. On the other hand, here is what can happen when done wrong.
Accidentally applying a non-vinyl-safe exterior paint could result in complete replacements. This example is indicative of how enormously crucial your paint selection is.
There are paint additives such as ammonia, excessive glycols, and other chemical combinations that can cause warping, bubbling, cracking, and complete siding deformations.
Major paint manufacturers such as Sherwin-Williams, Benjamin Moore, PPG, and others offer vinyl-safe exterior house paints within their lineup. Choosing a vinyl-safe paint in a premium satin finish from one of these top paint manufacturers will provide another 10 – 15 years of beauty.
Painting Vinyl Siding with Care
We have successfully highlighted the importance of correct preparations, primers when needed, and specified vinyl-safe top-coats. But there are a few more things to consider.
Vinyl becomes brittle over time as it loses its petroleum properties, which dissipates with extensive exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Therefore, painters must be careful not to damage vinyl siding with ladder placement.
Ladders must be placed center of the siding face. Doing so will minimize potential cracking and siding damages. It’s also essential to look for failing, or damaged areas – siding repair or replacement may be needed for specific locations.
Other Vinyl Areas to Paint
Are there other areas on your home that consist of vinyl? As long as they are safe vinyl materials, you can paint the shutters and the front door along with the siding. Shutters and doors are focal points that can offer drastic exterior decor improvements when painted.
But not all vinyl is paintable. It is vital to discern whether your shutters or doors consist of paintable vinyl. Otherwise, the paint will not adhere, causing premature paint failures such as blistering, peeling, and bubbling.
Vinyl Areas Not to Paint
Vinyl mailbox posts and handrails are two areas that typically will not take paint very well. Why do these areas take paint differently?
You may think the reason is that horizontal or ground-level surfaces are subjected to standing water, but it’s the vinyl composition. Not all vinyl is the same resulting in some being paintable and others not.
Mailbox posts and handrails are typically not paintable vinyl substrates, but there are exceptions—research product disclaimers before painting to see whether it’s recommended.
Yes, vinyl siding can be painted after it has succumbed to inevitable oxidation and weathering. However, we do not recommend painting new vinyl siding because it could result in peeling, and new siding will almost always last longer than a painted surface.