September 05, 2023 8 min read

The Ultimate Guide to Painting Siding

Does your house's siding need a touch-up? Is the color of your home's aluminum or vinyl siding beginning to fade? Can you paint the aluminum or vinyl siding on a house? If you're asking yourself these questions, we're here to help.

Painting aluminum or vinyl siding can be a tricky job, but with the right advice and tools, you can completely refresh and transform your home's curb appeal. This guide is here to teach you everything you need to know about painting your aluminum and vinyl siding.

FAQs About Painting Aluminum and Vinyl Siding

Read the answers to several frequently asked questions about how to paint aluminum siding and how to paint vinyl siding here.

1. When Should You Paint Your Aluminum Siding?

Sometimes, you may wonder if you should paint or replace your aluminum siding, depending on different factors. When your aluminum siding shows minimal but noticeable signs of wear and tear, it's due for a repaint. The kinds of wear and tear you should look out for are:

  • Fading: If the color of your aluminum siding starts to fade or look weathered, a simple repaint will restore it to its former glory.
  • Peeling: When the paint starts to peel off your aluminum siding, you should apply a new coat of paint after sanding down the material.

2. How Long Does Paint Last on Aluminum Siding?

After applying a fresh coat of paint, you can expect it to last around five to 10 years — possibly up to 40 years if it's well-maintained. It's best to give your aluminum siding a fresh coat of paint every four to six years, depending on the climate where you live. This will refresh the look and color of your siding without needing to replace the panels.

3. What Are the Advantages of Painting Aluminum Siding?

If you're thinking about painting or repainting your aluminum siding, you should know that doing so can bring the following advantages:

  • Creates a refreshed look: Giving your aluminum siding a touch-up does wonders in refreshing the material's color and maintaining the panels.
  • Allows you to change its appearance: Keeping paint on your aluminum siding is easy because paint adheres well to metal surfaces. If you want to change your home's exterior appearance by painting your siding a different color, you can do so easily, and you won't need to worry about the paint damaging your panels.
  • Improves curb appeal: If you're putting your house on the market, repainting your aluminum siding can make it look more attractive to prospective buyers.

4. When Should You Paint Your Vinyl Siding?

The best time to repaint your vinyl siding is when you notice signs of fading. After several years of enduring the elements, the paint on your vinyl siding will naturally start to fade in color, creating a dull appearance. If you notice that your siding could use some touching up, it's probably a good time to get out a new can of paint.

5. How Long Does Paint Last on Vinyl Siding?

On average, you can expect to repaint your vinyl siding every five years. Sometimes, the paint on vinyl siding can last upwards of 10 years. This might differ depending on your climate and how dark your vinyl color is.

6. What Are the Advantages of Painting Vinyl Siding?

Are you considering repainting your vinyl siding? This list of pros should help make your decision easier:

  • Saves money: It's much less expensive to paint your vinyl siding than replace it.
  • Updates your house's appearance: Painting your vinyl siding is a great way to refresh your house's exterior.
  • Improves the durability of your home's exterior: Repainting your vinyl siding protects your house from the elements. The paint adds an extra layer of protection against wind, rain and sun.

7. What Types of Elements Damage Siding Paint?

Whether you have vinyl siding or aluminum siding, you should note what kinds of elements can have a negative impact on your siding. Some examples of components that can cause damage include:

  • Sunlight: Direct sunlight is one of the most common elements that can damage the integrity of your siding's paint job. Ultraviolet rays from the sun make your siding's paint brittle and cause it to fade over time. If you live in an area that gets harsh sunlight, you should consider using paint that resists fading.
  • High temperatures: Extreme heat causes paint to blister and peel. This affects its appearance and makes it difficult for paint to adhere to the siding's surface properly. Extreme heat can also make paint fade faster.
  • Humidity and moisture: Moisture and humidity cause paint to blister and peel and facilitate mildew and mold growth.
  • Mold and mildew: Mold and mildew will eat through your siding's paint and cause significant damage to your siding if left alone.
  • Second coat on a wet base coat: If the first coat of paint is still wet, you must wait before applying the second coat. A second coat of paint will only adhere to a dry base coat and peel and chip quickly if applied on a wet base coat.

What Type of Paint to Look for When Repainting Siding

There are many different types of paint to consider. When painting your aluminum or vinyl siding, you must find the right paint for the material. Here are the different types of paints we recommend you use for either option:

  • Best paint for aluminum siding: The best paint for aluminum siding is exterior acrylic latex paint. This paint doesn't require any priming, so you can quickly and easily apply paint that adheres strongly to the aluminum.
  • Best paint for vinyl siding: The best paint for vinyl siding is 100% acrylic paint. This kind of paint is lightweight and ideal for your vinyl panels, as 100% acrylic paint adheres to vinyl surfaces with ease. Benjamin Moore vinyl siding paint works perfectly with vinyl siding and comes in various colors to match your panels.

How Much Paint Will You Need?

The simplest way to calculate how much of paint you'll need to repaint your siding is to calculate the total square footage on each side of your home. Then, subtract 20 square feet per door in each area and 15 square feet for each window.

On average, 1 gallon of paint should cover 350 to 400 square feet. Using these calculations, you should be able to figure out how much paint you need — it may help to purchase a little more than you calculate to ensure you have enough.

How to Prepare Your Siding for Painting

Each type of siding will require slightly different preparation before painting.

Follow these steps on how to prepare aluminum siding for painting to make sure your aluminum siding is ready:

  1. Inspect: Rub a cloth on your siding to inspect for mildew and powdery paint pigments.
  2. Clean: Use a pressure washer and a sponge to clean your siding before painting thoroughly.
  3. Prepare: Prepare your painting area with drop cloths and painter's tape.
  4. Paint: Apply your exterior acrylic latex paint — oil-based paints and primers will corrode the metal.

Follow these steps on how to prepare vinyl siding for painting to make sure your vinyl siding is ready:

  • Repair: Repair any damage before painting.
  • Clean: Wash the vinyl sidings thoroughly and scrape off any loose paint before starting.
  • Prepare: Prepare your painting area with drop cloths and painter's tape.
  • Paint: Apply two coats of vinyl-safe paint to get the job done properly.

10 Best Tools for Exterior House Painting

When it's time to paint your siding, you'll need the proper tools to get the job done correctly. This list details the best tools for exterior house painting to make your siding painting job much more manageable.

1. Pressure Washer

A good first step in the preparation process is to use a pressure washer to thoroughly clean your home's siding before you start. This way, you have a completely clean base on which to apply your paint.

2. Sander

Getting your siding as smooth as possible is important for proper paint application. Whether you're painting aluminum or vinyl, you should use the right grit sandpaper or work with a hand-scraping tool to remove any chipped paint from the surface. It may be necessary to repeat the process with different grits of sandpaper to achieve the smoothest surface.

3. Paintbrush and Paint Roller

Of course, you'll need a tool to apply your paint. For aluminum siding, it's important to use a large wall brush — using a roller can make it seem like you've applied too much paint. When it comes to vinyl siding, you can use a paint roller instead, opt for a brush or use a combination of the two.

4. Sash Brush

A sash brush will help you with the angled trims you'll be painting. A 2-inch angular sash brush will help you get those awkward, hard-to-reach places under the eaves and soffits.

5. Drop Cloths and Newspaper

Keeping the area around your siding clean during the painting process is crucial. Because exterior paint is made to last, any drips and spills will last a while. If you're painting above spaces like your patio or deck, you'll want to keep them paint-free as much as possible.

Cover the area below you with some drop cloths and newspaper. As you move to different sections of your siding, move your drop cloths and newspaper with you.

6. Painter's Tape

Using painter's tape helps you keep your painting neat and tidy by giving you guidelines. This way, you can avoid painting spots on your siding or trim that don't need paint. Apply as many strips of painter's tape as you need before painting and remove them when you're done for a streamlined look.

7. Ladder

Be sure to get the right ladder for the right job. A good ladder should be sturdy and able to reach every part of your siding. Using a ladder stops you from hurting yourself by over-extending your body by trying to reach higher spots. Be sure to have someone spot you as you use the ladder to ensure you're safe.

8. Buckets or Bins

Keeping a few buckets or bins around will help you throughout the process. For example, you can use one bucket to store clean brushes and one bucket to store dirty brushes, so you don't get them mixed up.

9. Caulking Gun

A caulking gun might be one of the most important items you can have with you while painting. Use your caulking gun around the exterior of your windows and doors before you start painting to patch up any openings.

Sealing helps insulate your home and prevents water from leaking in. Even if your house has been caulked already, it's necessary to do it again when painting your sidings to ensure your paint job looks as seamless as possible.

10. Painting Clothes

Painting is a messy job. Be sure to paint in appropriate attire so you don't ruin your favorite shirt or permanently stain your jeans. Always paint in clothes you don't care about ruining.

Get the Right Paint for Your Home's Siding at Aboff's Paints

With all of the above tips in mind, you're now prepared to dive into your home siding painting project. When you go to purchase the right paint for the job, Aboff's Paints is here to help. With dozens of paint types and supplies available, we can help you locate the perfect tools to give your siding a completely new look.

The staff at Aboff's Paints has years of experience, meaning you can rely on our team to help guide your project if you need advice. With 32 locations across Long Island, you can easily find an Aboff's Paints store near you. Let us help you transform your home's siding by using our high-quality selection of paints and painting materials.

Find your nearest store on Long Island to get started.

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