How To Paint Vinyl Siding: Easy Tips And Tricks For A Professional Finish

After applying a fresh coat of paint to my vinyl siding to enhance curb appeal, I patiently waited two years before sharing my insights. This deliberate delay allows me to share an honest and thorough opinion on the results, shedding light on the longevity of the paint and its impact on the overall curb appeal of the property.

Before and after comparison photo showing the transformation of a home's exterior by painting vinyl siding from Fynes Designs

Is it a good idea to paint vinyl siding?

Yes, painting vinyl siding is a good idea as it can be a cost-effective way to improve the appearance of your home and give it a fresh new look. 

Beautifully updated home with freshly painted vinyl siding, showcasing a stunning exterior transformation from Fynes Designs

What kind of paint do you use on vinyl siding?

When painting vinyl siding, it’s important to use high-quality acrylic latex paint specifically formulated for exterior use. Look for paints labelled as “vinyl-safe” or “siding paint” for best results. Most advanced paints are paint and primer in one which will save a step in the process. 

Sico paint used to paint the vinyl exterior of a home

Should I Spray, Roll or Brush Paint on the Vinyl Siding?

When painting vinyl siding, spraying the paint is the most efficient method that provides a smooth finish and is very fast. However, Spraying the paint takes the most considerable amount of preparation. Brushing or rolling can also be used for smaller areas or touch-ups.

Spray painting a home with vinyl-safe paint to, revitalize the exterior by painting vinyl siding

For the best results, a combination of methods may be used. For instance, you can spray the main areas and use a brush or roller for detailed work, corners, and edges.

I used a combination of sprayer and paintbrush. The sprayer I used is the Graco Magnum Project Painter Plus Paint Sprayer. This sprayer is ideal for a large job as it allows you to spray directly from a 1 or 5-gallon paint bucket. The hose is 50 feet long so it did a large area without having to move it.

painting your homes exterior with a combination of paint sprayer, brush and roller

Materials Needed

When painting vinyl siding, you will need materials for preparation such as cleaning the siding and repairing any damage, as well as materials for protecting surrounding areas. You will also need appropriate paints and primers, tools for the job, and materials for maintenance and aftercare. 

To paint a house, you will need the following items:

  1. Cleaning solution, hose/pressure washer, and scrubber for preparing the surface.
  2. Painter’s tape, masking material like plastic or cardboard and tarps for protecting surrounding areas.
  3. Soft-bristled brush or rollers.
  4. Paint Sprayer.
  5. Vinyl-safe siding paint
  6. Ladder or scaffolding for hard-to-reach areas.
  7. Caulk and caulk gun for sealing cracks or gaps.
  8. Safety gear such as goggles, gloves, mask and hat. 
  9. Maintenance materials like touch-up paint for aftercare. 

How Do You Prepare Vinyl Siding For Painting?

Clean Vinyl Siding

  • In a bucket, mix a solution of mild detergent or a specialized vinyl siding cleaner with water. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the correct dilution ratio.
  • Use a garden hose or a pressure washer to wet the siding. Start from the bottom and work your way up to prevent streaking.
  • Apply the cleaning solution to the siding using a soft-bristle brush or a long-handled scrub brush. If you’re using a pressure washer, ensure it’s set to a low pressure to avoid damage to the siding.
  • Gently scrub the siding with the brush, paying extra attention to areas with mould, mildew, or stains. Work in small sections to prevent the cleaning solution from drying on the surface.
  • Rinse the siding thoroughly with a garden hose or pressure washer. Again, start from the top and work your way down.
  • Check the siding for any remaining cleaning solution or residue. If necessary, repeat the cleaning process in areas where dirt or stains persist.
  • Allow the siding to dry completely before proceeding with the painting process. This may take a day or more, depending on the weather conditions.
  • Once the siding is clean and dry, you can proceed with the painting process. Ensure the surface is free from dust and debris before applying paint.

Read: Tips for washing your house before painting

Alternatively, you can hire this job out to a professional (which is what I did). Since I was painting the house myself, this reduced one of the critical steps that I was responsible for.

Protect Surrounding Areas

  • Cover plants and landscaping with drop cloths or plastic sheeting to protect them from cleaning solutions and paint.
  • Mask and tape any areas of the home you wish to not paint. (I skipped some of this step where the facia soffit, and trim were already white and I was painting the siding white). Do not be fooled, there is a large amount of overspray, especially if the wind sneaks up on you. 
Prepare your home for painting vinyl siding by masking windows and prtecting near by areas

Take The Weather Into Consideration

Watch the forecast to decide the best days to begin work. It’s usually best to paint vinyl siding in spring or fall. A not-too-sunny day with no rain expected is ideal. Temperatures between 4-30°C (40-90°F) and avoid painting in direct sunlight – the surface should not be hot to the touch. If it’s too hot or humid, or even windy, you could end up with drips, and cracked, damaged paint. 

This was my biggest vinyl siding painting fail. I painted this wall just as the sun started to set, the application was perfect but I returned the next day to a whole wall of drips. The temperature had dropped quickly and the moisture in the air didn’t allow the paint to dry. 

What not to do when painting vinyl siding

Before You Begin Painting:

  • If you are new to using a paint sprayer I would highly recommend watching a few videos before you get going. Priming the sprayer for the first time can be tricky and waste a fair amount of paint if you don’t get it on the first try.
  • Prepare your supplies for cleaning up prior to starting to paint. Typically a bucket, hose, and rags.  
  • Before beginning to paint, pop open each joint in the siding (gently pull at the seam) to get paint in behind. This is especially important in 4 season climates as the siding will expand and contract as the outside temperature changes.
  • Set up any ladders or staging you may require.
Open Siding joints when painting siding to ensure complete coverage

Tips And Tricks For A Professional Finish:

When painting outdoors, it’s important to start on the least visible side of your house to get the hang of the paint sprayer and perfect your technique. Always be mindful of the power cord of the sprayer to avoid any unwanted streaks. Additionally, inspect your spray pattern every few feet and use a paintbrush to correct any drip marks. It’s crucial to avoid over-applying the product and to apply two coats for a professional finish.

Spray painting a home with vinyl-safe paint to, revitalize the exterior  siding

Appropriate Paints And Primers

Most paint manufacturers offer a line of latex paint appropriate for vinyl siding as well as recommended colours that are specifically formulated to have the best adhesion, effectively resist warping or buckling the siding and won’t peel or crack. Historically it was recommended to go lighter than the original siding colour, but check out the links below you’ll see there are even darker colours included. 

Before and after comparison photo showing the transformation of a home's exterior by painting vinyl siding from Fynes Designs

Is it cheaper to paint vinyl siding or replace it?

Homeowners trying to make the choice between painting vinyl siding or opting for replacement hinges on several factors unique to each project, including the expenses associated with materials and labour. Typically, painting proves to be a more budget-friendly option compared to a complete siding replacement. To illustrate, a 5-gallon bucket of premium exterior paint, priced at around CAD 250, can cover an area of approximately 2000 square feet. In contrast, the cost of replacing the same 2000 square feet of white horizontal siding would be approximately $5000 CAD.

Before and after comparison photo showing the transformation of a home's exterior by painting vinyl siding from Fynes Designs

Maintenance And Aftercare:

How long will my vinyl siding last if I paint it? With proper maintenance and aftercare, well-painted vinyl siding can last up to 10-15 years (assuming the siding was in sound shape at the time of painting). This involves periodic cleaning, touch-up painting, and regular inspections for any signs of wear or damage. Regular maintenance will help extend the lifespan of the paint and keep your home looking fresh. 

After painting, in the initial cold season, carefully observe for any seams where the old colour might be visible due to insufficient paint coverage. Take note of these areas and plan to touch them up when warmer weather returns.

Properly store leftover paint for touch-ups in a climate-controlled area of your home in an airtight container.

Before and after comparison photo showing the transformation of a home's exterior by painting vinyl siding from Fynes Designs

Common Mistakes To Avoid When Painting Vinyl Siding 

Common mistakes to avoid when painting vinyl siding include:

  • Not properly preparing the surface by cleaning and repairing any damage 
  • Using the wrong type of paint or primer.
  • Not protecting surrounding areas from overspray
  • Painting in extreme weather conditions
  • Over-applying the paint
  • Not properly storing leftover paint for touch-ups.
How to paint vinyl siding. Tips and Tricks for a Professional Finish

Painting vinyl siding can be a cost-effective way to refresh the appearance of your home and enhance its curb appeal. By following the tips and tricks provided in this guide, such as using the right type of paint, proper surface preparation, and careful attention to weather conditions, you can achieve a professional finish that lasts for years. Remember to consider maintenance and aftercare to ensure the longevity of the paint job. With the right approach and attention to detail, painting your vinyl siding can be a rewarding and budget-friendly home improvement project.

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