Can You Paint Vinyl Siding: 15 Pros & Cons to Consider

Vinyl siding is an excellent and affordable choice for the exterior of your home. After a while, vinyl siding will fade due to direct sunlight and weather. Many homeowners wonder can you paint vinyl siding or will you need new vinyl siding? The good news is you have options.

You can easily paint vinyl siding, but you have to choose the right paint. With a thorough cleaning and 100-percent acrylic latex paint, you can ensure a successful paint job.

However, we recommend holding off painting vinyl as long as possible. When painting exterior vinyl siding, you lose its maintenance-free properties and need a fresh coat of paint every few years.

You should also weigh the cost of new siding compared to painting old siding. When you paint vinyl there’s no guarantee of how long the paint will last. Some even consider it a waste of money.

Exterior paint on any surface will last about 3 to 10 years, depending on your climate, paint quality, and proper techniques used when painting. A professional painting contractor should do the necessary prep work to obtain a beautiful finish.

Keeping that in mind, we will delve into the pros and cons. It is essential to know what you are getting yourself into before starting. This dialogue also discusses whether painting the surface is the best choice or replacing it altogether.

Can You Paint Vinyl Siding?

When it comes to painting the siding on any house, you might be nervous about what the end result will look like. For vinyl siding, it is relatively easy to paint. 

Vinyl siding is very durable, and you do not have to constantly update or replace it. Maintained vinyl siding can last up to 50 years. However, the darker vinyl siding can start to lose its beauty after just a few years.

Suppose you have had the same siding for the last ten years and want a fresh new look but do not want to replace the siding. You can easily paint it whatever color you desire.

However, you should know the pros and cons before starting.

Pros & Cons of Painting Vinyl Siding

There are pros and cons to painting your vinyl siding. To make things a little easier, we have created a quick and easy chart for you down below:

ProsCons
It is more affordableSome warranties may be voided
Creating an aesthetically pleasing viewNew siding lasts longer than paint
Provides a layer of protectionSome siding’s do not absorb well
It increases your home valueDirt & grime must come off before painting
Provides a new lookDamaged panels are harder to replace
Increases the lifespanMore errors occur with painting than replacing
It saves time & energyUnpredictable results

Advantages of Painting Vinyl Siding

First, let us go more in-depth about the benefits of painting vinyl siding.

1. It is Affordable

Did you know you can save 30 to 50% of your money by painting vinyl siding than replacing it? It is wiser to paint your vinyl siding rather than substituting them for newer ones. 

According to Fixr, the average cost to paint vinyl siding on a 2,000 square foot house is $4000. According to HomeAdvisor, the same 2,000 square foot house can cost $6,000 to $24,000 to install new vinyl siding, with a median cost of $11,469.

2. Making it Aesthetically Pleasing

Giving your vinyl siding a new color with paint means that your home will look much better. 

Suppose you wish to paint the siding white while the windowsills are black, which is extremely popular nowadays. 

In that case, many people who drive past your home will look in awe because of the diligent work you have put into it. 

Overall, it is a much better experience for you and other people. 

3. Provides a Layer of Protection

Vinyl siding has a protective coating over it that fades away over time and loses its curb appeal

In that case, this is where vinyl-safe paints come into the picture. Vinyl paint provides much-needed protection for siding against the sun’s UV rays. The best paint for vinyl is 100% acrylic premium paint. It is very lightweight, long-lasting, and adheres well to vinyl.

4. It Increases Your Home Value

When you hear the words “increase your home value,” your head and ears might shoot up relatively quickly. Once you paint your home, the exterior provides a clean surface to get a higher appraisal if you choose to sell the property.

5. Provides a New Look

If your home is looking a bit rugged and needs a new coat of paint, then once you do so, it seems a thousand percent better. 

Not only that, but every time you come home, you will be proud of what you accomplished. Not to mention, the new look is much more appealing than the last one.  

6. Increases the Lifespan

Regardless of whether your siding is vinyl, wood, aluminum, or something else, adding paint will increase its lifespan. The home’s exterior life increases because you add extra protection over it. 

7. Saves Time & Energy

If you decide to replace the siding entirely, you are looking at a multi-day project. On the contrary, painting your vinyl siding could take much quicker than that, depending on how fast and efficient you go. 

Also, you might want to consider getting help from someone to allow this process to go even quicker. 

Disadvantages of Painting Vinyl Siding

The second thing we will delve into is the cons of painting vinyl siding.

1. Some Warranties May Be Voided

In many cases, if you “alter” the vinyl siding in any way, shape, or form, then you can void the warranty. 

However, if it has been a relatively long time since the vinyl siding, your warranty may have already lapsed or you might not even care at that point, but we wanted you to consider that. 

2. New Siding Lasts Longer Than Paint

If your siding is over 20 years old and you want to paint or repaint it, then you might want to consider replacing the siding entirely because you will need to replace it relatively soon anyway. 

It’s hard to say how the painted vinyl siding will turn out, especially if you don’t hire a professional painter with experience in painting vinyl.

Some people would rather put that money towards new siding and be set for another 20 years or so. If that is the case, save your money on paint and use new siding.

3. Some Sidings do not Accept Paint Well

Suppose you chose a siding that does not like paint so much. In that case, if you chose a coloring that is entirely different than the siding color itself, then it will not stick and come off within a short amount of time. 

Make sure to do your research on what brands are best, if you have not already, on which vinyl siding would do best with paint. 

4. All Dirt & Grime Must Come Off During the Prep Work

Before painting, it is extremely wise to consider all of the prep work to clean the surface before painting it. A power washer is essential for removing all dirt and mildew.

You can also use a cleaning solution to help with deep cleaning the vinyl. Not only that, but you should also determine if you need to prime the surface after cleaning it off. 

If you do not wish to or cannot do this yourself, calling a professional might be the best decision. 

5. Damaged Panels May Be Harder to Match & Replace Later

Suppose you chose a color that is entirely different than the siding itself. 

If you have damaged panels, they might be hard to replace if that is the case.

On the contrary, if you keep the name of the same paint and color in a safe place, you can easily do the same steps required to remain the same coloring. 

Regardless, if you do not feel like doing this step, then painting your vinyl siding may not be the best idea.

6. More Errors Occur with Paint Than Replacing the Siding

What if you made one of those “unforgiving” steps that you may never get rid of in the future? For example, as you paint the surface, you may accidentally spill some paint on your window that cannot get off. 

A worst-case scenario could be that the bucket is high up with you and all of it spills on your window, leaving you having to replace the window in its entirety. 

If that is the case, calling in a professional contractor reduces mistakes.

7. The Results May Be Unpredictable

When it comes to what the result of the painting project winds up being, it may be a mystery. However, if you are willing to take risks, then, by all means, go for it. 

Achieving a quality result from painting vinyl siding takes skill and patience. You’ll want to use an airless paint sprayer over a paint roller and brush for best results. It’s best to apply a thin first coat of paint to minimize paint runs then follow with a thin second coat of paint to get a clean, professional look.

8. Expansion and Contraction Will Need Touchups

Vinyl siding expands in the Summer months and contracts in the Winter months from heat absorption. The rate of movement can be as much as 1/2 inch. Depending on when you paint, as the siding moves, the prior color may become visible during some seasons which can annoy some people.

This movement is normal, and you may want to do some touch-up painting between panels. The visible areas are more noticeable when using darker color paints. With light colors, this is not as noticeable. Just be mindful that this can and likely will happen.

When Can You Paint Vinyl Siding?

When vinyl siding ages, the color fades in sunlight and becomes brittle. If vinyl is too brittle, you should not paint it. However, if it is in good condition, you can paint it.

Vinyl siding is not intended to last forever. Vinyl siding lasts up to 50 years, but on average it lasts 25 to 35 years, and color can start to fade in as few as 5 to 10 years. If your house is shaded, vinyl can last much longer but require more frequent pressure washing.

If your siding is roughly 20 years old or more, consider that it will need to be replaced within the next few years anyway. 

Seeing how painting a 2000 square foot home would cost roughly $4,000 of paint, it is best to spend that money elsewhere. 

Is Painting Vinyl Siding a Bad Idea?

It is an excellent choice to paint vinyl siding if it has not been worn down too much. Not only does it give an aesthetic curb appeal, but the home’s value goes up as well. 

On the contrary, choosing a specific color might make or break the deal. 

What we mean by this is that if you choose dark colors, then it could potentially cause overheating. Avoid using paint that has any form of black tint. The darker the paint, the heat it will absorb.

Wrong paint colors can cause the siding to warp if it gets exposed to the sun’s UV rays. 

How Long Does it Take Paint to Dry on Vinyl Siding?

Once you painted the surface in its entirety, it is now waiting time. The exterior painting project takes roughly a few hours to dry completely. 

For even drying, it’s important to apply paint in thin coats with a paint sprayer. Trying to brush and roll paint on siding can apply it too thick leading to paint runs and uneven paint.

Of course, this is entirely dependent on the weather conditions. You will want to check the weather forecast and wait to paint on a perfect day. Here are specifics to look for:

  • No rain, which is a given.
  • Low winds.
  • Sunny day with some clouds to minimize the UV rays falling on you.
  • Temperatures are between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

You will want to make sure to start the painting process early enough to have as much sun as possible. 

Idealistically, you’ll want to do it in a month between March to November because of daylight savings time and warmer outside temperatures. 

What Temperature Can You Paint Vinyl Siding?

Some people may not know this, but vinyl siding expands during the warmer months and decreases in size once the colder winter hits.

Because of its expansion in size, you will want to paint the vinyl siding in the warmer months or in 60 to 80-degree weather. 

Is it Cheaper to Paint Vinyl Siding or Replace It?

Although vinyl siding does not have all the color options that paint does, it is much more affordable to paint a vinyl surface rather than replace it entirely. 

Painting Vinyl Siding

Well, what about hiring a professional? Having someone else do the work for you might be the wisest decision, especially if you are elderly or have an underlying condition that makes it to where you cannot paint it yourself. 

In that case, it is still the most affordable option for you. For an average home, you are looking at investing $1,500 to $5,000, depending on the labor, paint costs, prep work, and clean-up required. The paint prices alone are between $30 to $80 per gallon. 

Here, we have put a chart together for better reference:

House size (sq. ft.)Paintable size (sq. ft.)Average cost
1,000 to 1,500800 to 1,200$800 to $3,600
1,500 to 2,0001,200 to 1,700$1,200 to $5,100
2,000 to 2,5001,700 to 2,100$1,700 to $6,300
2,500 to 3,0002,100 to 2,500$2,100 to $7500
3,000 to 4,0002,500 to 3,350$2,500 to $10,100

Replacing Vinyl Siding Entirely

On the other hand, if your vinyl siding looks to be getting older, worn down, or is not in the best of shapes, then it is best to change the siding in its entirety. 

Replacing vinyl siding allows you to pick out a different design or color for your home.

According to HomeAdvisor, the same 2,000 square foot house can cost $6,000 to $24,000 to install new vinyl siding, with a median cost of $11,469.

Keep in mind that the lower quality of vinyl you go, your paint might not adhere to your siding correctly. 

Can You Power Wash Painted Vinyl Siding?

When prepping your surface to be painted, pressure washing the exterior might be a good idea. However, using a pressure washer on existing painted vinyl siding can (and likely will) remove any loose paint as it cleans. Remember, painted surfaces last 3 to 10 years, depending on climate and paint quality.

In doing so, it gets a lot of the old paint or dirt off the siding in itself, setting you up for success for painting in the first place. It also takes much less time than if you were to scrape things off by hand.

Realistically, going over the siding once should suffice when you power wash. On the other hand, if there is an area where there might be moss or mold growth, then go over this area multiple times. 

You will want to make sure to thoroughly inspect that area to ensure no other mildew has grown underneath the vinyl siding.

If it has, then the best decision would be to replace those specific planks entirely before moving on to the painting project.

Will Painted Vinyl Siding Peel?

As with mosh different kinds of siding, excessive exposure to sunlight and harsh weather conditions can take their toll on vinyl siding and cause it to begin to peel at the seams.

Thankfully, there are a few tactics you can utilize to mitigate the exposure itself and grant a bit of longevity to your siding at the same time.

Diligently making sure you handle issues with your siding as they arise and replacing those pieces before they become a massive issue is a key to keeping your vinyl looking pristine.

What Kind of Paint for Vinyl Siding?

As we briefly touched on above, 100-percent acrylic latex paint is vinyl-safe paint. Fresh paint needs to be vinyl safe to expand and contract with the siding.

The primary reason you’d want to utilize the acrylic latex paint over anything else would be its innate ability to adhere more soundly to the vinyl and not damage it while keeping your color choices open. High-quality paints bond well and expand with the vinyl without cracking or peeling off.

Does Vinyl Siding Fade?

Like almost everything else in creation, the vinyl siding will inevitably fade given enough time. 

You can make sure your vinyl lasts as long as possible by doing routine maintenance and watching for the first signs of cracking, peeling, warping, or any noticeable distortion and acting immediately.

Can Paint Cause Vinyl Siding to Buckle?

Vinyl siding warping, or buckling, is not very pleasant to look at. Vinyl siding expands with heat absorption. When vinyl is not cut correctly or nailed correctly, it buckles or warps. There is no way to fix the buckling unless you entirely replace that specific siding piece.

However, in doing so, the new paint job that you just did on your house now looks incomplete. You also need to remember to select an exterior paint suitable for vinyl siding. The paint will need to move with the vinyl, or it’ll chip or flake off.

If you paint your vinyl siding a darker color than the manufacturer’s original coat, then it can lead to vinyl siding warping.

That is because darker colors absorb the sun much more than a light color, so the planks reach a much higher temperature than it was designed to hold. In return, the current siding starts buckling. 

Here are some other ways you can spot the buckling:

  • The siding is melting.
  • There is a chalky texture on the side.
  • Gaps between the sidings.
  • Wavy or uneven pieces.
  • Exposed nails.
  • Loose panels that pull away from the structure.
  • Cracks or chips.
  • Water stains or mold.
  • Warping (look near the ground.)
  • Vertical lines where the seams meet.

So, what is an excellent way to fix this issue, you might ask? 

If you have untreated problems, mold, insects, and structural problems can quickly occur. 

However, you want to do everything in your power to prevent this from happening so you can continue living in a safe environment. 

Make sure to paint the siding with a light shade of color that is not darker than the manufacturer’s coating. 

Doing so ensures that the siding will not contract out of the manufactured shape, making vinyl siding a much better experience.

On the other hand, if your existing siding has buckled, you cannot fix it, and you must replace it if you see this occurring. 

If the paneling is too loose or tight, you can specify that without purchasing new sidings. 

Conclusion

You can paint vinyl siding without issues with premium vinyl siding paint. Remember that if the siding is relatively old, it is best to replace it to prevent further expenses from occurring shortly.

There are also many pros and cons of vinyl siding, so it is best to thoroughly look them all through to see if it is the best decision for you and your household or not.

You never know; you might surprise yourself or your neighbors in a good way and be “that” house people drive by and wish they had the same color as you. 

Photo of author

Hubert Miles

I've been conducting home inspections for 17 years. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started HomeInspectionInsider.com to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.
DISCLAIMER: The content published on HomeInspectionInsider.com is not professional advice. You should consult with a licensed professional and check local permit requirements before starting any project.
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