Can I Paint Vinyl Siding?

Because people know that i am a scientist with an expertise in coatings for building products, I am often asked “Can I paint vinyl siding.” With one exception, I strongly recommend against it. Here are five reasons why you should not paint vinyl siding:

1) Paints contain pigments and many pigments absorb heat. Using a paint that contains heat absorbing pigments can cause irreversible damage to your vinyl siding called “oil canning.” The only solution to oil canning is to replace your siding.
2) Paint will fade over time. Depending on the quality of paint and environmental factors, it could fade in as little as three years. Do you want to paint vinyl siding every three years?
3) Paint is designed to be on the surface and not soak into the object being painted. On vinyl siding, this fact does not allow the paint to soak in and grab on to the vinyl siding. Poor quality paints or even some high quality paints not specifically developed for plastics will quickly peel. Especially where two pieces of siding overlap.
4) Painting vinyl siding requires a significant amount of labor. Everything not being painted must be taped including gutters, soffits, roof edging, utility boxes, glass, patios, etc. and we all hate the clean-up required by painting.
5) Painting vinyl siding requires hiring a professional at significant cost unless you are a professional painter yourself. It’s the exterior of your home, the first area people see when they visit. Hire a professional unless you are extremely good at exterior painting. Correcting mistakes with paint is very difficult.

We interviewed one of the top pressure washing companies in the country (they clean over 12,000 homes per year) about putting paint on vinyl siding. That interview can be viewed on YouTube and is called “Can I Paint Vinyl Siding.”

There is however, one time I would recommend painting faded vinyl siding and that is if a property owner wants to change the color of their vinyl siding. Even then, I would only recommend it if the property owner is willing to apply very high quality protective clear coat over the paint. The one I recommend is Vinyl Renu. Vinyl Renu has been lab tested, field tested and has been used by professionals for over a decade to increase the longevity of the paint. Vinyl Renu experts can recommend a high quality vinyl siding paint to use with the clear coat. The website is www.vinylrenu.com.

As a coatings expert, my recommendation is to research the best vinyl siding restoration product. Finding and using the best restoration product to restore color to faded vinyl siding can be done by anyone and hiring a professional is not necessary. When researching a restoration product, ensure that all of the following requirements are met as there are many blogs that recommend using products like boiled linseed oil, Amor-All and solvents. Not only may they permanently harm your siding some are extremely dangerous to use. Any product worth your time and money should meet the following 5 items.

1) A “field” proven vinyl siding restoration product. Ask the manufacturer how long the product has been “in the field.” I minimum of 5-10 years is a must. Most coatings companies perform accelerated weather testing which simulates UV and other environmental factors. This is important data, but it does not replace time in the field. A high quality product to restore faded vinyl siding should last 10 years (slightly less in extreme environments).
2) The product must contain “UV blockers/inhibitors.” Ask the manufacturer if the their product contains “high levels of UV protection additives”.
3) Ensure the product is water based. Some solvents can cause irreversible damage to your siding. This is very important.
4) Cost. A very high end restoration product should cost around twenty cents per square foot (Price Per Gallon of product divided by the coverage area). Be cautious of products that promise very high coverage rates. Its is highly unlikely a product with a coverage rate over 400 square feet per gallon will offer the longest protection. Faded vinyl siding is slightly porous (not enough to absorb paint) and some of the restoration product will be absorbed. High coverage rates do not leave enough product on the surface to form a “protective shell” on the siding.
5) Guarantee. Will the company support their product with a guarantee or warranty. A restoration product should at least have a guarantee that it will bring back some color to your siding.

I recommend to all of my friends to use Vinyl Renu as it meets all of the above requirements. There may be other products available but I am most familiar with Vinyl Renu as we are the manufacturers of it. I hope that you would choose our product but if you decide not to, please ensure that whatever product you use that that it meets all of the above 5 requirements.

Good luck with your project. If you have any questions about restoring or painting vinyl siding please contact me at rwinget@onesourceorganics.com.

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