Can You Paint Vinyl Siding? Yes, and You Should

Thinking about refreshing your home and wondering can you paint vinyl siding, the answer is yes! Most homes with an exterior of vinyl siding can use a refresh, and sometimes new siding can exceed the budget. If your exterior paint job has seen brighter days and could use a fresh coat of paint, look no further than this step-by-step DIY guide on how to increase your home’s curb appeal without breaking the bank. We spoke to some experts like Tami Ramsay of the firm Cloth & Kind and Mallory Micetich, a Home Expert at Angi, to get the lowdown on everything from quality paint, color choices, and maintenance for this home-improvement project.

Is painting vinyl siding a good idea?

Yes! Nothing showcases the major impact of the exterior of your home like a new look. Whereas many materials like stone and brick facades are hard to change or recolor, painting vinyl siding is a fairly manageable task that can be tackled with the right tools and a healthy side of determination on behalf of the homeowners. Ramsay reminds DIY’ers that “if you need to paint your vinyl siding to gussy it up, it requires some specific prep to make the new paint adhere to the vinyl. Many painters will use TSP (trisodium phosphate) to thoroughly clean the old vinyl and help with adherence of the paint application.”

What tools and supplies do I need to paint vinyl siding?

According to Micetich, painting vinyl siding requires a number of tools and supplies that will run you anywhere from $500 to $1,000. She notes that if it’s done by a pro, it’ll average around $4,000, but this is dependent on the size of your home and the amount of siding.

You’ll need the following tools:

  1. Ladder

  2. Garden hose with spray nozzle

  3. Pressure washer / power washer

  4. Bucket

  5. Drop cloth

  6. Soft-bristled car-washing brush or cleaning cloth

  7. Paint roller or sprayer

  8. Paint tray

And these supplies:

  1. Paint

  2. Primer

  3. Painter’s tape

  4. Household cleaner

  5. Laundry detergent

  6. Laundry bleach

How long does a paint job like this take?

The short answer is that it depends on how much siding you have and how much help you can get. Micetich notes that professional painters can get the project done in a few days, but a solo DIY act could take over a week, depending on the size of the home. She says “Weather conditions are also incredibly important when tackling this project. If it’s too hot or windy, the paint won’t properly adhere. It’s also not something you want to do in the rain. Shoot for an overcast day with mild weather and low humidity.” You’ll also want the paint to dry for at least 24 hours before it rains to avoid any adhesion-related issues, as even the best paint needs time to dry and adhere properly.

How well does painted vinyl siding last?

Around 10 years. The siding will last closer to 30–40 years, but Micetich notes that for most homes, you’ll want to repaint your siding every 10 years. This can be shorter depending on your local climate, as harsher climates (storms or heat) will shorten the lifespan of your siding and paint job.

Clean Your Siding

Clean your siding regularly to keep it looking fresh.

pressure washing the house side

Clean your siding regularly to keep it looking fresh.
Photo: carlofranco/Getty Images

Prep: Purchase a nonabrasive cleaner or create your own cleaning solution to remove soot and grime by mixing one-third cup of a powdered laundry detergent (like Tide) and two-thirds cup powdered household cleaner (like Spic & Span) with one gallon of water. If mold and mildew are present, add one quart of liquid laundry bleach to your solution.

Clean: Use a car-washing brush (or any soft-bristled brush) to clean off your siding. This type of brush has a handle that fastens onto the end of your hose. Start with the bottom of your house and work your way up to avoid streaks. This step will expose any discolorations or damage that may have been masked by accumulated debris.

Rinse: After cleaning away any dirt, rinse your siding with clean water. Take care to point the hose downwards to avoid having water accumulate behind your siding. Let it dry completely.

Tip: Make sure that you use a nonabrasive cleaner and do it on a sunny day. Abrasive cleaners or a stiff brush will damage the finish of your siding and can make it look splotchy. You can use a pressure washer, but keep in mind that pressure washing your siding at a strong setting could damage it.

Repair, Repair, Repair

Look for areas of damage and try and replace individual parts of the siding.

Damaged and torn Composite siding on a building wall

Look for areas of damage and try and replace individual parts of the siding.
Photo: Douglas Sacha/Getty Images

Repair: Once your siding is clean and dry, you’ll be able to take stock of any repairs that need to be made. If you have a particularly rough part of old siding, you can usually remove it and replace it with a similar-style siding from your local home-improvement store. This can be a cost-effective way to avoid replacing the entire section.

Tip: Now would also be a good time to check the siding warranty of your existing siding—it may hold some information about getting repairs covered by the manufacturer, if within the appropriate time frame.

Surface Prep

Final Clean: Clean up any other stains or discolorations you discover after your repairs (see above).

Decide on Primer: Figure out if you need a primer. The best way to make this decision is by going with your paint manufacturer’s recommendation. Most manufacturers will recommend applying primer, as it will help the final look of the paint look consistent and helps the paint adhere if your vinyl is pitted or porous.

Pick Your Paint: Paint technology has advanced by leaps and bounds over the past years, but all professionals still agree on avoiding dark vinyl siding paint colors for your new color choice. It’s important to pick the right paint for your own personal aesthetic because you’ll likely have it for many years to come, but dark colors trap heat and in hotter months could damage the underlying siding, making it prone to warping.

You can start your new color journey at the stores for the big paint companies like Sherwin-Williams or Benjamin Moore. Benjamin Moore notes that all of their exterior house paints are vinyl-safe.

Micetich encourages double-checking your paint choice. She says, “You’ll need to choose a specific type of paint that won’t crack when the material expands and contracts at different temperatures. The paint should be latex urethane for exterior use.” She also recommends picking the same or a lighter color than your current color for your new choice and avoiding darker colors.

Protect Valuables: Make sure you put on your PPE and set up drop cloths to avoid staining anything that you can’t move out of the area. You can use painter's tape to protect smaller things and avoid overspraying.

Painting Siding

Use a brush for touch-ups.

Painter performing trim work in house

Use a brush for touch-ups.
Photo: ftwitty/Getty Images

Make Sure You Have Enough Paint: Before you jump into painting, make sure you have enough paint. This can be done with a rough estimate of one gallon of paint should cover an area of 300 to 400 square feet of exterior surface.

Large Areas First: Use an airless paint sprayer to evenly apply the paint. Use broad, even passes, and try to make sure your paint stain does not drip or puddle on the siding to avoid discoloration and uneven drying. If you don’t have a sprayer, you can also use a roller.

Apply a Second Coat: After your first coat dries completely, apply a second coat.

Tip: Use a brush after the sprayer or roller to ensure you haven’t missed any spots and to remove any areas that look like they have extra paint.

Maintain Your Fresh Look

To help your paint job last longer, try to wash your siding at least once or twice a year. This can be done after particularly rough seasons where you’ve had a number of storms or visible buildup on the home.

Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest

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