Whether your painting aluminum, vinyl or wood all three can be coated with either a clear-coat, stain or paint product.

No matter what the material the key to painting your siding is surface preparation.

Applying the primer (if needed) prior to putting the paint on is also an important step to remember.

Below you will find how to information regarding the process for painting your aluminum, vinyl or wood siding projects.


Before painting aluminum, vinyl, or wood siding it needs to be cleaned of dirt, waxy coatings and other debris found on its finish.

Furthermore, if your siding has some type of shine to it you will need to dull the surface by sanding the sheen away. Applying a top quality primer designed to go over a gloss paint will also work to take away the shininess.

What separates professional looking paint jobs from ones done by the average home owner is the surface preparation a professional does prior to painting.

Not only should nails, staples and screws be remover or hammered back in, Holes and cracks (around windows/doors) need to be filled with paint-able exterior caulk or filler.

If your not use to caulking and filling it might be a good idea to do some practicing before tackling the house. Otherwise, a poorly done caulk or filling job tends to stand out from the surrounding areas.

Another thing to keep in mind when caulking or filling aluminum, vinyl or wood siding is less is more. Use less product and more applications between the drying of each coat (if needed) as oppose to one thick layer of caulk or filler.

Cutting the tube with as small of a hole as possible while still having the hole big enough to let the caulk out also gives you more control over the caulking process.

When painting aluminum, vinyl or wood siding and the surface is excessively dirty or chalky, use a pressure washer to clean it. While your pressure washing, be careful not to apply excessive pressure as this is messy and can gouge woodwork and vinyl, while denting aluminum.

Finally, and most importantly let the siding dry out completely before applying your coating.

With that said, the best way to clean siding is to use a garden hose and an extension bristle brush (one that won't scratch surfaces). Pressure washers can mark your siding and cause debris from the ground to fly up onto your newly rinsed project.

If at all possible use a regular garden hose, scrub brush and your homes water pressure to clean siding.

Extremely dirty or greasy siding may require commercial cleaning products before painting aluminum, vinyl or wood siding. Check with local paint suppliers for cleaners that will work well with the material being painted.

The age old question what type of coating or paint should I use when painting aluminum, vinyl or wood siding, especially if it has been painted before. There are latex paint products on the market made to go over alkyd (oil) based coatings. I have used them in most cases with success.

My rule of thumb is old houses that have been regularly painted with oil or alkyd should be repainted with the same product.

If you would rather use a latex or have had problems with oil coatings (latex on exterior surfaces is usually recommended). I suggest applying a good quality primer over your old oil based painted surface. When the primer is dry put on two coats of latex paint.

Using a good primer designed for the type of siding or coating you have is also recommended if your painting aluminum, vinyl or woodwork still has the factory finish on it.

When painting aluminum, vinyl or wood siding with a paint sprayer, you will need to protect areas that you don't want paint on.

Understanding your spraying system is also essential. Spraying exterior projects can take some time off the painting process but will cause imperfections if the job isn't done properly.

Keep in mind to that a flat sheen works best on the siding while semi-gloss should be applied to the windows.

Your probably wondering how to use a roller/cover (cage and sleeve) while standing on a ladder. A power rollers gets the job done though I find that a can grid (from the paint store) inside of the paint can works well.

Be sure to fasten the can to the top of your ladder in a way that is easy to apply the paint to both your roller and the siding.

Use a can hook (also bought at the paint store) or bungee cord and a roller/cover that fits in the paint can.

Speed, Whizz, or quick rollers have nap (fabric) on the end that paints the lip of the siding where the siding overlaps. Speed roller do require some getting use to though and can be finicky to handle. If you have never used a speed roller before you might want to stick with a regular sash brush (2 1/2") and roller/cover.

Use your sash brush to coat the lip where each length of siding overlaps the other then roll on two coats of top quality exterior paint.

To have good coverage when painting aluminum, vinyl or wood siding along with less drips or runs your roller and cover should be the same width as your siding. What that means is, if your siding overlaps itself horizontally every six inches then your roller and cover should also be six inches wide (give or take an inch).

For the best results when rolling start from the top and work down to the ground. Roll on the paint quickly then back roll (dry roll) over your wet paint with the empty roller.

Use a continues and horizontal motion in one direction from where the siding starts to where it stops or buts up against the next piece of siding. By rolling in this fashion you eliminate marks left by starting and stopping in the middle of your siding.


If you live in any type of historical home there are in most cases painting regulations enforced by your local government that must be followed. When in doubt it's best to check it out. Otherwise you'll end up re-painting at your own cost.

Some governments organizations have grants or loans to help pay for the painting of your home, something you might want to consider.

Certain experts and paint manufacturers recommend using a brush that's about the same width of your siding rather than a roller/cover when painting aluminum, vinyl or wood siding.

I have always used a roller (except with transparent stains) having few problems. I do live in a part of the world where the climate can change from sweltering heat to freezing cold in the blink of an eye. With that said, if you prefer to apply your coatings with a brush it definitely won't hurt your project.

Brushing takes a little longer of course but some experts say a brushed coating has better durability than one that was not.

Use painters tape, drop cloths, plastic and old sheets or curtains to protect areas that you don't want paint or coating on. You may have to secure your covers to the ground using tent pegs, bricks or rocks, especially if your dealing with windy conditions.

Ladders and scaffolding are usually needed when painting exterior work. When a ladder or scaffold is required check with the proper local government organization regarding safety procedures.

Trees and bushes can be trimmed or tied back from your working surface. To do so, use ropes, tent pegs and an extra pair of hands.

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