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8 Tips for Repairing and Painting Old Vinyl Siding

calander Sep 2 , 2021 user-icon Nash Painting

If your home is outfitted with vinyl siding, you’re in good company. In the U.S., vinyl has remained the most popular siding material for some time thanks to its affordability, durability, aesthetic value, and relatively low maintenance needs. Like any other material exposed to the elements, however, even vinyl can break down over time. And if you live in a hot and humid region like the southern U.S., your siding is at even greater risk of wear and tear from high moisture levels, searing sunlight, pesky pests, and more.

Taking a closer look at your house exterior, you might begin to notice cracks, holes, discoloration, and even mold growth. The sooner you address these issues, the better, as neglecting them will eventually result in needing an entire siding replacement -- a costly and time-consuming project. Fortunately, most vinyl siding repairs are relatively easy to tackle. Of course, you might also want to repaint your vinyl siding when all is said and done to help protect your surfaces from further harm and refresh your home’s curb appeal.

With all that in mind, here are 8 tips for repairing, painting, and maintaining your old vinyl siding.

1. Caulk Is Clutch for Minor Cracks

If you’ve had to make minor drywall repairs or seal off some exposed areas inside your home, you’re probably already familiar with the usefulness of caulk. As it turns out, this waterproof, synthetic material also comes in handy for fixing up small abrasions in your vinyl siding. After cleaning the crack or hole in question with a sponge, soap, and water (and letting it dry), fill it with caulk using a caulking gun. Fill the breach generously to make sure it’s completely sealed off from moisture, pests, dust, debris, and more. Allow the caulk to dry for about 24 hours and scrape away any excess material. Even if you selected a caulk that nearly matches the color of your vinyl siding, you’ll be left with a visible reminder of the repair, so consider touching up the area with paint (which we’ll further discuss later on).

2. Patch Larger Breaches with Fresh Vinyl

Caulk alone isn’t always enough to repair your old vinyl siding. For larger forms of damage, you might opt for a patch job instead. You’ll still want to have your caulking gun handy for this project, but you’ll also require a leftover piece of identical siding to serve as your patching material. Cut out a piece of your scrap siding that’s a bit larger than the hole you’ll be replacing. Then, remove the patch’s perforated top edge and bottom edge. Test your patch by placing it over the breach, making sure everything fits into place -- some additional trimming may be necessary to get things snug. Then, apply some caulk (this acts like glue) to the patch’s backing before inserting the patch. Hold the patch in place for a little while and then allow the caulk to dry before removing any excess material.

3. Replace Severely Damaged Panels

In some cases, the best course of action is to replace a damaged panel entirely. While this might seem like a lot of work, vinyl siding panels are typically easy to replace -- one of the many reasons why people prefer this type of siding over others. For starters, you’ll need to purchase fresh panels that match the color, style, size, and shape of your existing siding. Then, you’ll need to carefully unfasten and remove the damaged panel with the proper tools (i.e., zip tool, pry bar/claw hammer, drill). Unless you managed to find a perfect fit for your siding, you’ll need to make some adjustments to the new panel by cutting it with a saw or utility knife. From there, put the new panel in the empty slot and securely hook it into place. Install your fasteners (nails or screws), leaving some breathing room to allow for flexibility as temperatures and humidity levels change. Finally, bring it all together with a zip tool to lock the new panel together with the surrounding ones.

4. Clean Your Vinyl Siding Periodically

While nearly anyone can repair their vinyl siding with the right tools and techniques, it’s best to avoid these repairs altogether. You won’t be able to protect your home’s exterior from every threat, but you can keep it in great shape by power washing your siding approximately twice a year (typically once in the spring and once in the fall). Washing your siding about every six months will remove dirt, debris, mold, and mildew from its surfaces, protecting it from further damage and restoring its outward appearance. Moreover, pressure washing your siding is an important step to prepare it for fresh coatings. In other words, if you plan on painting your vinyl siding, you’ll want to thoroughly clean it beforehand anyway.

5. Prime the Siding Before Painting if Necessary

Pressure washing may not be the only task to complete prior to exterior painting, however. Though not always necessary, it’s often wise to prime your siding before applying paint, especially if the material is pitted. Priming your siding will provide an additional layer of protection while also establishing a more receptive surface for stronger paint adherence.

6. Mind the Type of Paint You Use for Vinyl Siding

Not every type of paint is optimized for vinyl siding, so make sure you select the right option. Generally speaking, high-quality latex exterior paint will do the trick. The paint you go with should also contain acrylic and urethane resins for increased performance and flexibility. Purchase enough paint to completely cover your house exterior at least once (applying two coats is often ideal).

7. Paint Color Selection Is Both Fashionable and Functional

As for the paint color itself, there are a few things to consider. To keep things consistent, you might simply go with the same color as before, of course. If you’re looking for a change, though, you’ll have to consult your personal preferences -- but even if you’re in love with a particular color, you might be better off doing something different. After all, lighter colors don’t get as hot as darker ones, offering more protection from the sun’s harsh UV rays and keeping your southern home cooler. If you decide to go this route, however, note that you’ll need more coats of paint to cover up a darker color with a lighter one. So, it’s often easier to paint your siding with a darker color than before, but it may be more practical in the long run to lighten things up instead.

8. Hire Reliable Local Painters to Fix and Refresh Your Siding

Our final tip for repairing and painting your old vinyl siding is to seek help from experienced home painting services. Whether you lack confidence in your DIY abilities or simply don’t have the time and resources to tackle a siding renovation of any size, the experts at Nash Painting have you covered. We’ve restored countless home and business exteriors across Nashville, Brentwood, and Franklin, TN.

To learn more about us, our services, and our values, call us at 615-829-6858 today!