Dear Angie: My home needs a fresh look. Is it OK to paint over vinyl siding? — Arlana H., Greenwich, Conn.
Dear Arlana: Vinyl siding is meant to last for decades but it can get dirty or dull. And yes, the right kind of paint, along with proper preparation and application, can perk it up.
Top-rated house painters tell our team that painting is a bargain, costing 50 to 65 percent less than replacing vinyl siding, which averages $200 to $300 per 100 square feet.
Check your siding warranty, though, because painting could void it.
If you opt for painting, start with clean siding. Pros recommend using a power washer to apply a vinyl-safe detergent that contains a mildew-killing agent. Be sure the siding is thoroughly dry before applying an adhesion primer. Follow that with two coats of a high-quality, 100 percent acrylic paint that has a vinyl-safe formula, to avoid buckling.
Some experts say a spray gun is the best way to apply the paint. Also, painters advise choosing a color that's lighter than the original siding; paint that's black, navy blue or other dark shades may absorb heat, causing bubbling or warping.
You should expect a high-quality paint job to last seven to 15 years, depending on weather conditions.
If you plan to hire a professional to do the work, start with companies that have positive reviews. Other considerations:
■ Longevity in your area
■ Reliance on subcontractors
■ Warranties offered
■ Proper insurance and bonding, licensing
■ A written contract that includes paint types and brands to be used, work and payment schedules, a clear outline of responsibilities and a termination process should something go wrong.