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Community and Q&A

How to spruce up vinyl siding

Mark Bartosik | Posted in General Questions on

How to spruce up vinyl siding….

So the vinyl siding is looking rather dull and we’d like a different color.
Here are the alternatives:
1) Paint with a waterborne paint like Aura (low VOC Benjamin Moore exterior paint), possibly with an acrylic primer like Stix.
2) Rejuvenate the siding (with a product like Envirolon – a water based clear coat).
3) Replace the siding — not seriously considered – too much landfill.

The climate is New York, so cold, snow, heat, wind.
I think that the big risk with painting siding is that it will be forever a maintenance issue,
requiring touch up where ever vegetation rubs, and it might even flake with the flex and
contraction and expansion of vinyl. Once painted, repainting would become a double problem
because the old paint would need to be stripped off first (if there is any flaking) before applying the new coat, and that would be a huge job.

I’ve had mixed messages from painters.
One said no problems and it would probably last twenty years, another said it would likely flake in 7 years or less and didn’t want to paint it, but recommended rejuvenating with a product like Envirolon.

Also I wonder if painting the siding could cause it to become less breathable by effectively gluing the siding strips together. Maybe the rejuvenating clear coat would have the same problem, although I suspect it is a lot thinner than paint?

So what are your recommendations?

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    Have you tried washing the siding?

  2. Matthew Amann | | #2

    How much do you have to spend? The solution depend on the answer to that question. Is it a historic house? What is most important to you?

  3. Mark Bartosik | | #3

    It does look better after a wash, especially while wet, but it is still rather dull faded once it dries off.
    However, you make a good point, because only I have seen it after power washing, the other decision maker hasn't seen power washed!

    If I remove a little siding you can see the difference in the overlaps from the original color which has been protected from the sunlight. It is not an historic house (thankfully otherwise the solar panels might not be permitted). I don't think that cost is the constraint, as the painting can be afforded. The issue is more that we want low maintenance, and thus the prospect of repainting in as little as 7 years is not an option. We also want to be is little impact to environment as possible. Should we cross painting the vinyl off the list of options?

  4. Kevin Dickson, MSME | | #4

    I hope anyone reading this is understanding the big problem with vinyl siding. It's sold as maintenance free, but in fact will look crappy in 10-20 years.

    Painting is an option, but it must be white. Any other color, and you risk warping in the sun, and then it looks REALLY crappy.

  5. Aaron Vander Meulen | | #5

    Vinyl siding can be recycled you know. I thought about painting some vinyl (off the house) and then putting it up, but at the end of the day I was much more comfortable with just using FC and being happy with the end result. If you do try it, personally I would try Ben exterior paint, its basically the same thing as Aura, but 1/2 the cost. At least then if it fails you won't have spent a small fortune on paint.

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