Published on June 13th, 2013 | by Henri


Painting a house with vinyl and steel siding

Q.    Our son will move into his first house (built in 1964) next month and would like to enhance the exterior with a coat of paint over the existing siding. The siding is steel on the older part of the house and vinyl on a recent addition. Will paint adhere to these surfaces? What type of paint do you recommend? Is there a preferred manner of preparing the sidings’ surfaces? Any additional tips to ensure a pleasing and long-lasting outcome?

A.    The most important thing to do for a successful paint job is the preparation of the surfaces; it is at least 80 percent of the job. The siding should be thoroughly cleaned either by hand with a long-handled car-washing brush and a solution made of one cup TSP or TSPPF, one quart fresh Clorox bleach and three quarts water to make a gallon. (He’ll need a lot more but those are the proportions.)

Or the siding can be cleaned with a pressure-washer using the same solution. However, care must be taken not to damage the siding by using too much pressure; it may be a job better left to experienced people.

To ensure success, both the steel and the vinyl siding should be primed with Zinsser’s Bulls Eye 1-2-3 followed by a 100 percent acrylic latex paint. Do not let too much time pass between the priming and the finish coat as air pollution, including mildew spores, could contaminate the surfaces and cause problems later. It is best to complete the job on one section or wall before attempting another section and so on.

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