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Can You Paint Vinyl Siding? Yes, and Here’s How!

Written by Joe Roberts , Edited by Gianna Cappuccio

Published on May 22, 2024


Can You Paint Vinyl Siding? Yes, and Here’s How!

If you want to change the color of your vinyl siding, prolong its life, or just refresh its appearance, our guide to painting vinyl siding can help.

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Has sunlight faded the color of your once beautiful vinyl siding? Do you just want to change the color of your home without replacing your perfectly good vinyl? Well, good news! You can paint over vinyl siding for a cost-effective refresh to your home’s exterior. 

Vinyl siding comes mixed with permanent color, so you never actually need to paint the material. However, if you do it right, doing so has several benefits. A well-applied coat of new paint can give your home a facelift, increase the lifespan of the underlying siding, and increase its curb appeal. 

However, be aware that painting vinyl siding isn’t as easy as it may seem. If you don’t get the right paint, the results can look worse than before, and you can prematurely destroy your vinyl. Also, some siding warranties forbid painting the material. While many homeowners paint their vinyl siding themselves, we recommend hiring professional painters for the best results.

Whether you hire pros for this home improvement project or paint your vinyl yourself, keep reading. We’ll help you find professional painters, recommend vinyl-safe paints, and give you step-by-step instructions for successfully painting your vinyl with your own two hands.

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DIY painting vs. hiring professional painters

DIY house painting

Professional house painting

  • Typically costs $570–$1,541

  • Difficult and time-consuming

  • Results may not look as good

  • Can be dangerous

  • Typically costs $4,256–$13,202

  • Faster and more convenient

  • Much better results

  • Much safer

It usually costs thousands of dollars more to hire professional painters than to paint your home yourself, but—as with most home improvement projects—you get what you pay for. Professional painting almost always looks better and lasts longer than DIY work. Additionally, since this project involves handling toxic paint and climbing tall ladders, it’s not the safest DIY project.

For these reasons, we recommend hiring professionals for the job despite the high costs. If you still want to try painting your home yourself, keep reading. 

How to paint your vinyl siding

Step 1: Gather all the tools and materials you’ll need

To get started, gather all of the necessary tools and materials. Here’s a quick list of stuff you’ll need:

Depending on what you need to pick up (which will depend on what you already have in your garage), you could spend anywhere between $570 and $1,541 to get all the supplies on this list. Vinyl-safe paint alone typically costs $570 to $855 for the average house (10 to 15 gallons), but if you get especially high-quality paint or your home is huge, your costs can go even higher. 

How to choose your paint

Vinyl is a non-porous material, and because it’s made of plastic, it expands and contracts as the temperature outside changes throughout the day. This makes adhesion to the material tricky. Only specially formulated acrylic latex paints with urethane resins are up to the job.

Also, since dark colors absorb more sunlight than lighter shades, going with paint in a darker color than your siding originally came with can cause the siding to absorb excess heat, warp, and melt. This makes it imperative that you only choose vinyl siding paint colors in lighter shades. 

Paint companies like Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, and Valspar all make vinyl-safe paint in an immense variety of hues, allowing you to choose a new color you’ll love. 

Step 2: Wait for favorable weather conditions

Once you have everything you’ll need to paint your vinyl, it’s time to wait for good weather. Check the forecast and plan the project for a calm, sunny week with moderate temperatures. Usually, you want the thermometer to read somewhere between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything hotter or colder than this can result in cracked or peeling paint. 

You also want the forecast to be completely clear of rain for at least 24 hours after you’ve applied your final coat of paint so it has plenty of time to dry.

When the weather permits, move on to the next step. 

Step 3: Clean and prepare your vinyl

A homeowner using a purple microfiber cloth to wipe down grey vinyl sidingTo begin the painting process, you must get your vinyl siding as clean as possible. Paint only adheres to clean surfaces, so any dust, cobwebs, and hornet nests will need to be removed before you can begin painting. Otherwise, the final results will peel and look dingy.

We recommend scrubbing your vinyl with a soft-bristled brush and cleaning solution instead of using a pressure washer. Some people use oxygen bleach or laundry detergent solutions to clean their vinyl, but these chemicals can harm your landscaping and poison your lawn. If you want a gentler cleaning solution, try using an all-natural, all-purpose cleaner. Alternatively, you can always pick up a commercially produced cleaner. Just make sure to follow the directions on the bottle.

Start by dipping your brush in your cleaning solution, then scrubbing horizontally along the topmost edge of the material. Once the top row of vinyl panels is clean, move on to the row below it. Work your way down the wall like this until you’ve scrubbed every square inch of siding. You may need to wipe the siding with a soft, damp washcloth to clear especially stubborn buildup. 

Then, spray the wall from top to bottom with your garden hose to rinse away all the soap and grime. After rinsing the siding, give it about 24 hours to dry. Otherwise, your paint may thin as you apply it, or you could lock moisture into your siding, which can result in mildew, runny streaks, and rot.

Cleaning your siding this way will take a little longer than pressure washing, but since vinyl is a relatively soft material, a power washer on even a moderate blast can severely damage it.

Step 4: Prepare your work area

Once your siding is dry, it’s time to lay drop cloths beneath all the walls you’re going to paint. Using zip ties, tape, and heavy rocks, fasten the drop cloths over your bushes, sidewalks, hardware, and garden beds. This will prevent paint splatters and spills from besmirching your landscaping. 

The last preparation step is to apply masking tape around your windows, doors, and the outermost rims of every surface you paint. This will preempt splotchy edges around your painted surfaces, giving the end results a much cleaner and more professional look.

With this done, you’re ready to bust out your paint. 

Step 5: Apply your primer

If you’re using a primer (not all exterior paints need them), now’s the time to apply it to every surface you plan to paint. If not, skip to the next step.

Using your sprayer or roller, cover all your siding with a thin coat of primer. It’s best to start at the topmost siding panel on each wall, then work downward so that you can flatten out any drips that accumulate as you’re working. 

If you’re using a sprayer, you should still go back over every surface with a roller or paintbrush to smooth the primer and ensure even application. You should also use your paintbrush to apply primer to corners, inside edges of J-trim, and other areas that are hard to access with a sprayer or roller.

Once all of your painting surfaces are primed, allow them to dry completely before moving on. Drying times vary between primers, so refer to the instructions on your material’s can. 

Step 6: Apply your paint and clean up

A homeowner applying white paint with a paint brush to vinyl sidingIt’s finally time to apply your first coat of paint, and you’ll do this much the same way as you applied your primer. Start at the topmost panel on each wall with your brush, sprayer, or roller, applying the paint as evenly as possible. Then, work your way downward to smooth runny drips. You should also use your paintbrush to touch up corners as you go. 

Once the first coat of paint is down, allow it to dry for several hours, and then apply a second coat in the exact same way you applied the first. This will ensure complete coverage and help the paint job last longer.

Once this is done, allow the paint to dry for several hours again, then remove your drop cloths and masking tape. The paint will likely still be drying for at least a day, and some paints take several days to cure, but your part of the work is done!

Don’t throw out any unused paint, though. Store it in a cool place so that you can use it to touch up spots you may notice you missed. Be aware that as your siding contracts with cold weather, it may reveal spots you couldn’t access before because the panels were overlapping. You can use a paintbrush to carefully hit these spots with some paint for a uniform look. 

Painting vs. replacing vinyl

A fresh coat of paint will only go so far, and sometimes, what a home really needs is new siding. If your vinyl siding is simply starting to fade but is otherwise in good shape, then painting it is probably all you need to do. However, if your vinyl siding is nearing the end of its life (typically 20 to 30 years) or it’s showing significant signs of damage like warping or cracks, you should probably replace the material instead.

Vinyl siding replacement typically costs between $7,476 and $18,905, but replacing it with a different material like fiber cement, aluminum, or wood can cost more. This makes siding replacement substantially more expensive than painting, though there are a few benefits. For one thing, new siding typically lasts much longer than a paint job. It also gives you a brand-new manufacturer’s warranty, whereas painting vinyl siding usually voids its warranty. 

For a more complete breakdown, read our guide to painting vs. replacing vinyl siding

Want to hire a professional painting crew instead?

You now know how to paint vinyl siding correctly. If all of this seems like a lot of work, we don’t blame you. In fact, we highly recommend hiring a professional painting crew instead of attempting to paint your siding yourself. To get a quote from qualified painters in your area, use the form below. 

Hire a local painting crew to do all the work

Vinyl painting FAQ

Painting over vinyl siding can be a great idea as long as you use vinyl-safe paint in a light color. Not only will a fresh coat (or two) of paint give your old siding a new look, but it can also increase its durability and extend its life. Be warned, though, that painting your siding can void its manufacturer’s warranty, and choosing the wrong type of paint can warp and destroy the siding.

Only specially formulated “vinyl-safe” exterior paints should be used on vinyl siding. These paints are typically made with urethane resins and acrylic latex. No other type of paint will properly adhere to vinyl or expand and contract as the siding does. Using the wrong paint can result in unsightly flaking, peeling, and even warping.

Unpainted vinyl siding typically lasts between 20 and 30 years, depending on how well you care for it and how harsh your climate is. However, if you paint your vinyl siding properly and repaint it every five to 10 years, the material can last an extra decade or two.

Painting vinyl siding is far more affordable than replacing the material. Replacing vinyl siding typically costs between $7,476 and $18,905, whereas getting vinyl siding professionally painted will usually only cost $4,256 to $13,202. And while DIYpaint jobs won’t look as good, they can be even cheaper. Painting vinyl yourself can sometimes cost as little as $570 to $855 if you already have all the tools you need and you simply require some paint.

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.