How to Paint Vinyl Siding

By Amanda Lutz Updated May 13, 2024

Vinyl siding is a popular choice for home exteriors because it’s cost-effective, lasts for more than 20 years with minimal maintenance, and comes in a variety of colors to match your home’s aesthetic. However, your long-lasting siding options aren’t without a few drawbacks. The color on vinyl siding can dent and fade over time, causing your once-beautiful siding to look a bit lackluster, or you might find yourself stuck with outdated vinyl siding picked by previous owners.

The good news is that you don’t have to invest in new siding to update the look of your home. Painting vinyl siding is a great way to update your home’s appearance and boost curb appeal. In this guide, we’ll review how to paint vinyl siding, from determining how to choose the right paint colors to getting the perfect finish on your home.

When to Paint Vinyl Siding

Before you paint your vinyl siding, consider two important factors: the age of your siding and the weather.

The Age of Your Siding

With regular maintenance like cleaning and repairs, vinyl siding has a life expectancy of at least 20 years and could last up to 50 years or more. However, the prime time to paint your siding is after about a decade. Vinyl siding can fade after years of exposure to UV rays from the sun, and hail and falling branches can dent and scratch it, so continuing to repaint it every 10 years will keep it looking fresh.

The Weather Forecast

Weather plays a big role in when to paint your vinyl siding. You’ll run into issues if you try to apply paint to your vinyl siding when it’s too wet, warm, or windy outside. The paint can also bubble, peel, and not adhere well to the vinyl underneath in extreme temperatures. Choose a day when the weather is relatively mild for the best results—aim for a day when the temperature is between 50°F and 90°F and the wind is calm.

Choosing the Right Paint

If you have experience with do-it-yourself painting projects, painting your vinyl siding should be a simple task. However, the color and paint type you pick will affect the outcome of this home improvement project.

The Color

You may have a more limited range of options than you’re used to when choosing a paint color for your vinyl siding because dark colors generally aren’t recommended for vinyl exteriors. Darker colors absorb more sunlight, warming the siding underneath and causing it to warp or buckle. Stick to lighter colors to protect your siding.

Here are a few other factors to keep in mind before choosing a paint color:

The Type of Paint

Buy paint that’s made specifically for vinyl siding. Standard household paint will struggle to stick to the slippery vinyl surface and could crack and peel in extreme temperatures. For the best results, choose paint containing urethane and acrylic resins. These ingredients help the paint adhere to the vinyl and flex as the vinyl expands and contracts in changing temperatures. Benjamin Moore, Sherwin-Williams, and Behr all offer vinyl-safe paint.

Preparing the Surface

Taking time to do the necessary prep work can help extend the life span of your vinyl siding. Here’s how to prep your vinyl siding for paint:

  1. Clean your siding: Fill a bucket with 1/3 cup of laundry detergent, 2 cups of bleach, and 1 gallon of warm tap water. Use a soft-bristled brush to clean your siding, working from top to bottom, then rinse it off with a garden hose. Spray water from the hose downward to prevent getting any behind the siding (which could cause water damage). Allow your siding to completely dry. You can also use a power washer to clean your siding.
  2. Protect the exterior: Use painter’s tape and paper or plastic sheeting to protect the parts of your home’s exterior that aren’t being painted. This includes your doors, vinyl windows, and brickwork. You may also want to cover patios and sidewalks in case your paint spills.
  3. Apply your primer: Depending on the condition of your vinyl siding, this step may be optional. If your vinyl has a lot of dents or is faded, apply a vinyl-safe primer. The primer will fix any porous surfaces and help the paint adhere to the surface smoothly.

Once you’ve completed all your prep work, you can move on to applying a fresh coat of paint.

Painting Techniques

Painting the exterior of your home isn’t that different from painting an interior wall. Here are some techniques and tips to help you get a smooth, even finish:

Cleaning and Maintenance

Quality vinyl siding can last decades beyond its expected life span with proper care. Read on for what you need to know to keep your vinyl siding looking brand-new.

Cleaning Your Vinyl Siding

Wash your siding once a year. Consider adding this task to your spring cleaning list, as spring is a great time to wash off the dirt and grime from winter weather. Spray your siding with a garden hose, directing the spray downward so you don’t cause water damage behind the panels. For more stubborn stains, scrub the siding with a soft-bristled brush and warm, soapy water.

Avoid using a pressure washer on your siding. The spray from the pressure washer could end up damaging your siding, stripping away paint, and forcing water behind your siding and into the structure of your home.

Maintaining Your Vinyl Siding

Whether you have aluminum siding, wood siding, or vinyl siding, perform a visual inspection of your home’s siding once every four months and after periods of extreme weather. Look for discoloration or staining, which may indicate moisture issues like mildew or termite damage. If you spot any loose or damaged siding, address it immediately to prevent future damage to your home. You can perform the siding replacement work yourself or hire a siding contractor to help with repairs.

Protecting Your Vinyl Siding

Most vinyl siding comes with a manufacturer’s warranty. It’s possible to void this siding warranty by painting the siding. You could also void the warranty by failing to maintain your siding or performing the siding installation yourself. Ensure you know what’s included in the warranty and what isn’t to protect your investment.

Our Recommendation

Vinyl siding is a popular choice for home exteriors thanks to its energy efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and durability. However, even the best siding can start to fade after a decade. Instead of replacing faded siding, you can paint it with a vinyl-friendly paint in a color suitable for your home. Once you select your paint, prep your home’s exterior by cleaning and priming your vinyl. Finally, apply at least two thin coats of paint to the surface using a sprayer or roller. With a bit of elbow grease, your vinyl siding will look like new for another 10 years.

How to Paint Vinyl Siding FAQ

What kind of paint do you use on vinyl siding?

Choose a paint with urethane and acrylic resins for vinyl siding. These ingredients will help the paint bond to the vinyl and allow it to flex without cracking as the vinyl expands and contracts when the temperature changes.

Is painting vinyl siding a good idea?

Painting vinyl siding is a good idea if your siding is 10 years or older, damaged, or faded due to sun exposure. Check your vinyl siding’s warranty before painting your siding to ensure you aren’t voiding it.

Do you need to prime vinyl siding before painting?

Prime vinyl siding before painting it if the surface of the siding is dented, pitted, or faded from sun exposure. Otherwise, you can paint the siding using vinyl-friendly paint without priming it first.

Do you paint vinyl siding with a roller or brush?

Paint vinyl siding with a roller to achieve a smooth finish. You can use a brush for edge work around doors and windows.

How long does painted vinyl siding last?

Painted vinyl siding will last at least 10 years if done properly. Apply fresh paint every 10 years to keep your vinyl siding looking new.