Vinyl siding has been a common material on houses across the country… but it doesn’t last forever. More specifically, the colors of vinyl siding that were popular definitely don’t last forever! When you’re ready to update your home, it’s really likely that you stumble upon this important question: Can you paint vinyl siding darker?
This is actually not a yes or no question, but I will do my darndest to make the answer really clear and easy–AND make sure you have all the information you need. Here’s what we’ll cover:
- TLDR answer
- The Problem
- The Solutions
- Choosing the Right Paint
- How to paint your siding darker
- Painting vinyl siding before and after
- Final questions
TLDR: Can you paint vinyl siding darker?
The short answer is yes, you *can* paint your vinyl siding a darker color–BUT there are some serious considerations you should take. In general, most people will not be able to paint their vinyl siding black or extremely dark grey. However, there are a few potential solutions that may help you achieve the curb appeal look you’re dreaming of–like choosing the right paint (vinyl safe paint brands) or finding an alternative to vinyl siding panels.
I know we all love to skim, not read, but this one may be worth reading. 😉
The Problem with Dark Vinyl Siding Paint Colors
Basically, the concern over painting vinyl siding a darker colored paint goes back to elementary science. Dark colors absorb heat more than light colors. And in black or dark-colored paints, there is a specific pigment that absorbs heat.
Although vinyl siding is generally pretty weather-resistant, but it has its limits. It starts to warp when it reaches about 165° Fahrenheit. While heat-resistant vinyl siding exists, you’re probably not considering re-siding your house if you’re reading this post.
And interestingly (well, only if you’re a nerd like me), there is research that shows that dark colored siding can reach almost 220° F in direct sunlight!
SO, logically, if you take a surface that *can* be damaged by the sun, then you paint it black and make it extra sun-absorbing (that’s a technical term)… that surface *may* end up getting damaged.
Specifically, vinyl siding will start to warp, bend, and/or the paint color and finish will start to fade.
HOWEVER. There are many additional factors to this equation… so in the end, it goes beyond the 4th grade science fair. For example:
- Where you live: While vinyl siding is vinyl siding, the impact of painting your vinyl siding black on the equator vs. Seattle…… is going to be quite different.
- Type of paint: This is a HUUUUGE factor in this debate! Choosing the right type and quality of paint will absolutely make or break this project.
- Paint colors: “Darker” is a very relative term. If you’re going from white or beige to a soft green, you’re good. If you’re thinking about painting your siding black (like I was!), well, you’re gonna need to keep reading.
Obviously, you don’t want to go to all the trouble of either DIYing this job or paying $$$ to hire it out… only for your work to cost you even more in damage, and to just NOT LOOK GOOD! I know the feeling of working hard on something only for it to look terrible…. It’s not fun. So let’s not do that here.
The Solution(s) for Dark Vinyl Siding Colors
FRET NOT! You CAN still paint your siding a dark color, because there are multiple solutions to this problem.
(Okay, I’ll stop talking like it’s the 1800s now.)
If you’re scrolling and skimming, these are basically your options:
- Use the right type of paint (details on this below)
- Choose a different shade or color paint
- Choose a different type of exterior finish (this is only applicable if you’re building a house) — there are different types of siding, not only vinyl
- Install new siding that comes in black (or the color you want) instead of applying paint
Now. Let me explain a few of these options.
Choosing the Right Color & Paint for Vinyl Siding
As we’ve learned, some dark paint colors include a pigment that absorbs heat–which basically makes them a no-go for vinyl.
Important note: In this article, I’m not going into detail about paint quality and interior vs. exterior paints. Obviously, that is also an important decision when painting anything outside. If you aren’t familiar with the differences in types paint, it’s best to talk to a professional at a local paint store.
Thankfully, paint companies Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore both created a solution to this with a line of “vinyl safe” paint colors. Basically, the way they create this specialty paint is just by using a different formulation of paint colors that doesn’t include the heat-absorbing dyes.
Some of these paint colors are the same as regular colors from their line–I’m assuming they are just included because they’re generally good colors for exteriors. However, the particularly dark colors in these lines do have a different formula.
Unfortunately, neither of these lines have a color that is straight black or even very dark grey. For that reason, another one of the possible solutions is just choosing a different color than you originally wanted.
If that makes you want to cry, I get it. Seriously.
So here’s one more possible solution:
Purchasing Dark Vinyl Siding
If your heart is DEAD SET on black siding, I think the best option is to buy manufactured black siding. Unfortunately, black vinyl siding paint just isn’t going to be risk-free.
However, it’s definitely not the cheapest or easiest option. But just for your viewing pleasure (okay maybe I got too interested and looked these up for fun), here are a few places where I found black siding for purchase:
Plus, if you are considering replacing vinyl siding, you don’t have to choose vinyl. There are other types of siding! Maybe someday I’ll fall down that rabbit hole and write a guide on that too.
How to Paint Vinyl Siding a Darker Color
If you ignore all the complications on this topic, painting vinyl siding is actually a relatively simple project, and it can make an incredible difference in your exterior. Vinyl is a really durable material and it takes paint really well.
In fact, cough cough, the reason I know the things in this article is because I painted the vinyl siding of my house! These are the steps:
- Clean your siding: Paint doesn’t stick to dirt, and siding is… well… outside. So to prepare the surface property, it’s going to need a REAL good clean, ideally by pressure washing.
- Tape off the area around your siding: This is a little bit tedious, but it will go faster than you think. If you spray your siding, which I did and highly recommend, you’ll also want to cover the area around your siding, like the roof and the ground.
- Spray or brush on the paint: I DEFINITELY recommend using or renting a paint sprayer for this project. It makes the process go so quickly and easily and leaves the siding with a beautiful professional-looking finish.
Supplies you’ll need:
- Cleaning supplies
- Pre-taped painter’s plastic sheeting: Lowe’s | Home Depot | Amazon (You can also use painter’s tape and sheeting separately, but this thing is WELL WORTH the money)
- Paint sprayer (this is the one I used): Lowe’s | Home Depot | Amazon
- OR a good quality paint brush and rollers
For more of my suggestions on the tried-and-true products I have used and continue to use, visit my incomplete tool guide.
Painting Vinyl Siding Before and After
Since I told you I painted my siding a darker color, I obviously have to show you!
Here’s my house around the time I first bought it:
Since then, I cut the tree down (I know! It’s a tragedy! But it was going to cause major foundation issues), replaced all three light fixtures, painted my storm door, and attempted to plant a garden and create a pathway where the tree was. That part is still not amazing.
Then in 2022, I limewashed all that brick. It took a weekend, but it’s better quality than paint and it looks like a new house! Here’s the tutorial on how to limewash brick (+ mistakes to avoid).
Then I spent about 8 months stressing over the paint color for the garage & siding–I mean, doing research so I could provide this accurate information to you. 😉
Finally, I got it done! 8 months of stress, 17.4 million trips to Sherwin Williams, and only about 3 hours of work.
Here’s my (almost) black painted vinyl siding and garage:
It’s even better to see with this video:
Final Thoughts & Questions: Painting Vinyl Siding Black
If you’re looking for vinyl siding paint colors, I really hope this information was helpful. There are many pros and cons of painting vinyl siding, and a lot of important information to keep in mind about the potential dark vinyl siding problems.
More related posts:
- How to Paint Your Front Door (the easy way)
- 13 Board & Batten Wall Ideas for Every Room
- How to Build a Window Box
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What kind of paint do you need to paint vinyl siding?
As long as you choose the right color for your vinyl siding, vinyl takes paint extremely well. Make sure you use a high-quality exterior paint, but avoid regular latex or oil-based paint. The best type of paint for vinyl siding is typically acrylic paint or acrylic latex paint.
Can you paint vinyl siding black?
This is a complicated question, but the safest answer is that you should not paint vinyl siding black. Black paint for vinyl siding includes dyes and pigments that absorb heat, which can warp the vinyl and cause the paint to fade–ultimately wasting your time and money. However, there are multiple alternative options to paint your vinyl siding a darker color!
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