5 Things To Consider When Painting Your Vinyl Siding

Posted on: 6 July 2016

When it comes to improving your home's appearance, a fresh coat of paint can make a world of difference. If your home is clad in vinyl siding, however, you may be wondering if it's even possible to change its appearance through painting. It can be done, but only if you keep the following considerations in mind.

The Importance of Surface Prep

The first step of any home improvement project is prep work. Before you can paint your vinyl siding, you'll need to make sure it's free of dirt and debris. Any residue left on the siding could cause the paint to crack or flake off prematurely.

Forget about power washing your vinyl siding -- although it can be done with plenty of caution, there's a significant risk of accidentally forcing water behind the vinyl siding. This can potentially cause mold and mildew problems later on. You can also forget about sanding the siding, since doing so could damage your vinyl and make it much harder for the paint to stick to the surface.

Instead, you'll need a soft-bristle brush and a mild soap. You can also use a 70/30 mix of white vinegar and water as a general cleaner that's also capable of dealing with light mold and mildew stains. If you're dealing with heavy mildew on your siding, use oxygen bleach cleaner to deal with the mildew. If your vinyl siding has a glossy coating, you can use trisodium phosphate to strip away the shiny layer, making it easier for the paint to stick to the vinyl.

Choosing the Right Color

Your home might look good in dark colors, but chances are your vinyl siding won't stand for it. Dark colors have a tendency to absorb and trap heat. If the color you've chosen is darker than the original vinyl, the excess heat could cause the paint to bubble away from the vinyl. It can even cause the vinyl siding to warp significantly.

Your best bet is to choose a color that's the same shade or significantly lighter than the original vinyl siding color. Another option involves using "vinyl-safe" paints that offer added protection against heat absorption, allowing you to choose darker shades on vinyl surfaces.

Choosing the Right Paint

It's not enough to choose the right color when painting your vinyl siding. For the best results, you'll also need to choose paint whose ingredients work best for vinyl siding. Home improvement expert Tim Carter recommends using exterior latex paint containing a blend of urethane and acrylic, since this formulation is flexible enough to accommodate the vinyl as it expands and contracts. You should also choose a paint that's specifically formulated for outdoor use, as these tend to be more durable than their indoor counterparts.

Mind the Weather

Before you break out the paint roller, you should know what the weather conditions will be like for the day. For your project to be a success, you'll want to do it on an overcast day with mild temperatures and low relative humidity. Painting your vinyl siding when it's too hot or too sunny could result in a finish that'll crack and flake off over time. Painting on a windy day could introduce debris into the paint and produce poor adhesion.

Mind Your Warranty

Keep in mind that some vinyl siding manufacturers will actually void your warranty if the siding is painted over. It's a good idea to check the length and conditions of your siding manufacturer's warranty. If the siding is outside of its warranty period or you're not bothered by the prospect of a void warranty, then you can proceed with your painting plans. Otherwise, you may want to consider other options for revitalizing your home's appearance. For more tips on how to improve the look of your siding, contact a company like Select Exteriors.

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