Painting exterior Plastic siding

We recently purchased a 22 year old ranch house with light green (minty fresh!) vinyl siding. The siding is original to the house and is somewhat faded, although not much (we have a piece of the siding in the garage to compare it to). Can we paint this? We'd like to paint it a medium gray. What do we need to do to prepare the siding for painting? Is it ok to go somewhat darker than the original siding? How long will the paint job last (before needing repainted)? What is the best outside temperature to do this type of painting?

Here are some points and suggestions:

  1. With vinyl siding, DO NOT paint any darker than the original color, or the siding can get too hot from sunshine, and warp permanently. You should probably choose a light gray.
  2. Kill any mildew that is on the siding now. There are a number of factors that affect tendency to grow mildew on a paint job. Included is the removal of any mildew on the surface prior to priming/painting.
  3. Then clean the surface by scrubbing with detergent, then rinse thoroughly; or use power washing with plain water, as mentioned above. Be sure to aim the spray level or slightly downward, and keep the tip 6" - 8" from the surface.
  4. Apply one or two coats of a top quality 100% acrylic exterior house paint, in a flat, satin or semi gloss finish, depending on appearance wanted.

Normally, a primer is not necessary with cleaned vinyl siding. Use a quality 3" polyester-Nylon brush, or spray the paint. The light gray should last very well. If the surface is sound, clean and free of chalk when painted, and you apply two coats, you should be able to get at least 10 years, possibly longer.

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Popular Q&A

What primer and paint is best for exterior on redwood siding?

Should I use oil based or water based primer? And oil or water based top coat? I've heard using an oil based primer then a water based paint is best.

I would use an oil base. However, Cabot makes a great stain that is 100 percent acrylic and waterproof. It comes in several different finishes and many different colors. We have used many different stain products and really like the appearance of how this stain takes to the wood. If you go to a cabot dealer they can tell you exactly what you need.
Also, I noticed you said paint. That is really not a good idea, it will peel. If you use cabot they make a stain that looks like paint and covers like paint but is a stain - which is what you should stick with.

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