Wondering how to paint vinyl siding? Not sure if it’s something you can do on your own? We’re here to tell you that it’s not only possible, but with the right prep and knowledge, you can tackle this project with confidence! The following guide from CLAD Siding offers the essential steps on how to remove paint from vinyl siding, what kind of paint to use on vinyl siding, as well as how to finally paint it with a fresh coat.

How To Prep Vinyl Siding

As with any home project, proper preparation is crucial. 

Prep Overview

  1.     Determine if siding just needs a thorough cleaning or repaint
  2.     Get your hands on a power washer
  3.     Don’t perform prep on wet, overly hot, and/or humid day
  4.     Work one section at a time to ensure full cleansing
  5.     Avoid getting water behind siding

You’ll want to make sure your siding is completely clean in order to get the best results. In some cases, it might just require thorough cleaning and no painting. Lighter colors often suffer from discoloration due to heavy debris buildup. All you might need is decent power washing. This can save you from having to invest time and resources into repainting, and it’s even doubly beneficial if you really like the current color of the siding (and don’t look forward to having to paint).

Do you definitely need to repaint? As mentioned already, a power washer will come into play. You can rent one from your local hardware or home improvement store, buy one, or even ask a neighbor or friend to borrow it for the weekend. As for washing solutions, there are several products from which to choose. You can also use mild dish detergent, bleach, and water.

The key is to start with a manageable section. Work from the bottom up. Also, to make sure to not get any water behind the siding, refrain from spraying directly at the seams or upwards into the seams. This can be achieved by pointing the power washer tip at an angle downwards. It’s amazing how much dirt can accumulate on siding, so take your time to thoroughly wash it. Once you’re done with the section, move on to another and repeat.

Cleaning helps the paint stick. If not properly done, it can cause major headaches, such as peeling down the road. Make sure to hit every section you plan on painting. Once you’ve done so, allow it to dry. It’s best to do this on a warm day. After drying, you’re ready to either put down a primer or go straight to painting (more on that below).

Type of Paint to Use

Type Of Paint Overview

  1.     Use primer when pitted or porous (or when the paint has worn off)
  2.     Choose a paint that is similar or lighter than the current shade
  3.     Darker paint retains more heat and is prone to warping
  4.     Use acrylic paint (ask paint expert for best options)
  5.     Acquire an airless sprayer (but paint can be applied by roller if necessary)

Now that you’re acquainted with preparing for paint, let’s look at your options for the actual paint itself. One of the most important points, along with the selection of color, is choosing a product that will adhere to the surface. For instance, darker paint colors have a tendency to warp and break off much sooner than lighter shades. A good rule to follow is to go with a color that is not any darker than the one already on your siding.

In general, vinyl siding does not require a primer. The exception to the rule is when there’s pitting or porous sections (or if the paint has completely worn off). If this is the case, make sure to ask a paint store associate which primer will suit your project the best. An adhesive primer will provide great coverage, along with helping the paint to last longer for lower maintenance.

Okay, so when it comes to the paint, you’ll want to get your hands on paint that’s made for vinyl application. Don’t just grab any type of product. A 100% acrylic paint is lightweight and provides the best results when it comes to vinyl. As for the method of painting, it’s highly recommended to use a sprayer to apply your coats. An airless sprayer is the best option. Apply two coats (allowing the first coat to properly dry prior to applying the second coat).

Once you get your hands on acrylic and vinyl-safe paint, make sure to pick up all the necessary painting tools. This can include a paint sprayer, rollers, paintbrushes (for corners and edges). You’ll also want to grab some cleaning rags, along with plastic, cloth, and tape to cover your windows, doors, downspouts, and nearby plants.

Painting Vinyl Siding

Painting your siding instead of replacing it can save a ton of money. Whether it’s time to replace a fading color or you just want a new look, a fresh coat can do wonders for the visual appeal of your home. Now that you’re well-versed in prep and paint choice, let’s take on the actual painting process at hand.

Painting Overview

  1.     Try to paint in the shade
  2.     Avoid painting when it’s windy
  3.     Work your way in sections from the top on down
  4.     Spray from left to right
  5.     Make sure to apply two coats

Before you begin spraying, you’ll want to cover windows, doors, and downspouts with plastic. If you have bushes, flowers, or other plants in close proximity to the siding, you can use a cloth to cover them as well. Once you’ve done this, you can start to paint. It’s highly recommended to use a paint sprayer, but a paint roller can be used as well. Just understand that you’ll get much better coverage and smoother results with a sprayer. In manageable sections, start from the top of the siding and work your way down. Spray from left to right.

When it comes to edges and corners, you’ll want to perform brushwork. It’s always advisable to apply multiple thin coats versus one thick coat. This will provide better results and keep the paint from coming off prematurely. Also, two coats might not be enough. Once you’ve finished the second one and allowed it to thoroughly dry, examine to see if another coat is necessary.

Give the first coat ample time to dry. Once you’ve finished the second coat, allow it to properly dry for at least 24 hours. Make sure to remove plastic and cloth coverings. After a day or so of drying time, your project will be officially considered done!

Prepping and painting yourself can be a lot of hard work, but if you’re up to the challenge, it can provide a sense of accomplishment (and give you another skill set to put in your back pocket). When painted correctly, your siding will provide you with years of low-maintenance benefits and a beautiful look. Plus, you get to pride yourself on a good job well done!


In search of affordable vinyl siding services near you? CLAD Siding helps people find licensed & insured vinyl siding contractors to assist with residential and commercial siding installation and repairs. Click here to learn more!