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Painting vs. Replacing Vinyl Siding: Can You Paint Vinyl Siding, and Should You?

Written by Joe Roberts , Edited by Gianna Cappuccio

Published on April 1, 2024


Painting vs. Replacing Vinyl Siding: Can You Paint Vinyl Siding, and Should You?

Want to refresh your home’s exterior affordably? Instead of replacing your vinyl siding, you may be able to paint it. Read our guide to learn how.

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Vinyl siding can be painted to affordably change its color, touch up its appearance, and even extend its life. However, since vinyl expands and contracts as temperatures fluctuate, you should only use specially formulated exterior paint on vinyl. Otherwise, the results will quickly warp and peel, looking much worse than before.

There are also a few reasons you may want to consider replacing your vinyl siding instead of painting over it. For one thing, painting vinyl may void its warranty. For another, painting over siding can cover up potential signs of underlying damage, leaving them to spread and worsen unaddressed. Lastly, getting the wrong type of paint can ruin your siding.

Painting vinyl siding is thousands of dollars cheaper than replacing it, though, so as long as your siding isn’t damaged and you get the best paint for the job, painting may be a good, cost-effective option for your home. Keep reading to learn more about the costs and benefits of this home improvement project.

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Cost/benefit analysis of painting vs. replacing old vinyl siding

Painting vinyl siding

Replacing vinyl siding

  • $2,700–$5,500

  • Complete in 3–4 days

  • Improves curb appeal

  • May extend old siding’s longevity

  • Might void your siding warranty

  • Leaves underlying damage unaddressed

  • Requires special acrylic paint

  • Best left to professionals

  • $7,476–$13,602

  • Complete in about a week

  • Improves curb appeal

  • New siding lasts longer than new paint

  • Restarts your siding warranty

  • Can restore your home’s whole exterior

  • Less diverse color options

  • Best left to professionals

Pros and cons of painting vinyl siding

Pros of painting vinyl siding

Depending on the size of your home, painting its exterior will typically cost somewhere between $2,700 and $5,500, so it’s substantially cheaper than replacing vinyl siding. This is one of the main reasons homeowners opt to paint their siding instead of replacing it. With an average project time of 3 to 4 days, it’s also a much quicker way to give your home a fresh look and increase curb appeal.

As another benefit, repainting your vinyl siding can make it a little more durable and extend its lifespan by up to five years under ideal conditions. This is a big deal since vinyl is one of the most short-lived siding options. On average, vinyl will only last about 20 years, while brick, fiber cement, and aluminum siding all last decades longer. 

Another great reason to paint your vinyl instead of replacing it is that there is a much greater variety of vinyl siding paint colors than there are vinyl colors to choose from. If you hate the current color of your siding, painting it will allow you to better find a color that will match your roof, trim, and landscaping.

Pro tip

You should avoid painting your siding with a darker color than the original vinyl. Opting for an especially dark color may cause the vinyl to absorb excessive heat from sunlight, which can cause it to melt. There are exceptions, though, since some brands, like Sherwin Williams, make vinyl-safe dark paint colors.

Cons of painting vinyl siding

Painting vinyl can void its warranty. This means that if your siding gets damaged later by something that would otherwise be covered, you won’t be able to make a warranty claim to get the siding repaired. This is the primary reason you may want to opt for a siding replacement.

Additionally, painting over vinyl siding can cover up signs of serious structural damage, which might leave you unaware of issues like mold and mildew on your home’s structure. If your siding shows signs of underlying rot (discoloration, visible mold, bulging, etc.), you should probably get the siding replaced and repair your home’s structure while at it.

Similarly, if your siding is visibly cracked or warped, replace it instead of trying to paint over the damage. Otherwise, your home will be vulnerable to pests and adverse weather conditions. 

Pros and cons of replacing vinyl siding

Pros of replacing vinyl siding

There are arguably more benefits to replacing your vinyl siding than painting it. The most important benefit is that instead of simply extending the life on old siding by a few years, getting brand new siding gives your home’s exterior a completely fresh start, so you probably won’t have to worry about siding again for a decade or two after replacement.

Related to this benefit is the fact that new siding will come with a fresh siding warranty, whereas painting siding will likely void your warranty. Obviously, it's better to have your siding covered in case of unexpected damage.

Siding replacement will also allow your contractor to inspect the structure of your home’s walls. Serious issues like mold and termite damage on your home’s decking aren’t always visible until the siding is removed, so painting over old siding will usually leave them unaddressed until it’s too late. On the other hand, opting for siding replacement allows you to catch these problems sooner.

The final benefit is that replacing your old siding allows you to upgrade to a better siding material like insulated vinyl (highly energy-efficient), aluminum, or fiber cement. These materials will cost more than just painting over your old vinyl siding – they’ll also last much longer and offer your home additional protection.

Cons of replacing vinyl siding

Cost is the primary downside of vinyl siding replacement. On average, it costs between $7,476 and $13,602, so it’s thousands of dollars more expensive than a paint job. Unfortunately, budget constraints mean that many homeowners have to opt for painting their vinyl siding despite how beneficial replacing it would be.

As we mentioned earlier, vinyl is made in a less diverse assortment of colors than vinyl-safe paint, so you may not be able to get exactly the new color you’re hoping for if you opt for a replacement. 

Paint companies that make vinyl-safe paint

Because vinyl siding is a nonporous material that expands and contracts as outdoor temperatures fluctuate, you can’t use just any exterior paint on its surface. Applying the wrong kind of paint will result in flaking, peeling, and blistering after only a few days.

Instead, you should get paint specifically formulated for vinyl. Vinyl-formulated paints are made with acrylic latex and urethane resins to promote flexibility and adhesion. As a bonus, some are made with exceptional UV resistance, good weather resistance, and diverse color selections. 

This list of high-end paint brands make paints specifically for use on residential vinyl siding:

How to paint vinyl siding yourself

Because of the risks that come with painting vinyl siding (melting, peeling, warranty exclusions, etc.), this isn’t an ideal DIY project. It’s also not as easy as it may seem. For these reasons, we highly recommend hiring a qualified professional painter to paint your home’s exterior, even though it will cost more. 

If you decide to paint your siding yourself, this basic overview of the process can help you prepare.

Step 1: Prepare the old vinyl

For proper adhesion, you need to make sure your vinyl siding is as clean as possible before painting. 

Using a pressure washer or (garden hose) and a vinyl-safe cleaning solution, clean every square inch of your siding to remove dirt, cobwebs, and other grime. If you use a power washer, set it at a low-pressure setting since high-pressure washing can damage vinyl.

Once the walls are clean and completely dry, use painter’s tape and masking paper to cover your windows, doors, and trim for clean paint lines.

Step 2: Apply the first coat of paint

Using either a paint roller, a soft-bristled paintbrush, or an airless paint sprayer, apply the first layer of paint to your vinyl siding. Generally, applying paint quickly in even passes is best to prevent dripping, clumps, and uneven drying.

However, the best application process will depend on the paint and tools you’re using, so carefully read the instructions on your paint can and tool packaging. 

Step 3: Apply the second coat of paint

Most exterior paints work best and last longest when you apply at least two coats. After you’ve painted all of your vinyl once, allow it to dry completely (this usually takes two to four hours, though you should read your paint can for more specific instructions), then apply a second coat on top of the first one. 

Once the second coat is applied, let it dry completely, and then remove your painter’s tape. 

How to find professional painters

If you want to hire a professional painter instead of attempting to paint your vinyl yourself (which we recommend), we can help you get started. Fill out the form below to get in touch with qualified and experienced painters in your area!

Hire a local paint company to give your home a new look

Painting vinyl siding FAQ

As long as you choose the right type of exterior house paint and hire professional painters, then yes, painting vinyl siding can be very beneficial to your home. Well-applied paint can refresh your vinyl’s appearance and extend its life, and an exterior paint job is always cheaper than new siding. Vinyl siding requires special paint, though, and doing the job wrong can have disastrous results, so you should always leave it to the pros.

Vinyl siding expands and contracts as temperatures fluctuate, so it requires acrylic paint that will expand and contract with it. If you opt for another type of paint that isn’t flexible, it won’t adhere properly, and it will peel off the vinyl.

Vinyl-safe acrylic paints made by brands like Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore will properly adhere to vinyl siding. These specially formulated paints are ideal for the job because they’re flexible enough to expand and contract with the vinyl as temperatures change, and their formulas promote adhesion to the vinyl’s nonporous surface.

Depending on your local climate, a fresh coat of paint on vinyl siding can last 5 to 10 years, protecting the siding from moisture and UV rays. This can extend the life of your vinyl siding by up to five years as long as you keep up with all the routine maintenance your siding and its paint require.

The main downside of painting vinyl siding is that it will almost always void any warranty offered by the siding’s manufacturer or installer. This means that if your siding gets damaged anytime after the paint job, you’ll need to cover the costs yourself instead of making a claim. Additionally, the wrong type of paint can damage vinyl, so be sure to pick an acrylic paint that’s specially formulated for use on vinyl siding.

Written by

Joe Roberts Content Specialist

Joe is a home improvement expert and content specialist for Fixr.com. He’s been writing home services content for over eight years, leveraging his research and composition skills to produce consumer-minded articles that demystify everything from moving to remodeling. His work has been sourced by various news sources and business journals, including Nasdaq.com and USA Today. When he isn’t writing about home improvement or climate issues, Joe can be found in bookstores and record shops.