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How to Get Paint Off Vinyl Siding (Water-Based, Oil-Based & Spray Paint)

Man washing the home's vinyl siding with a brush.

Learn how to get paint off vinyl siding so you can breathe new life into your home and give it a makeover by applying a fresh coat of paint and a refreshing color.

Is the old faded paint on your vinyl siding the reason why you never have anyone over? Does it make your house stand out like a sore thumb from the rest of the houses in the neighborhood? Could it be the reason why your neighbors always give you the stink eye every time they walk past the driveway?

If that’s the case, you should consider giving your home’s exterior cladding an upgrade. You’ll be surprised by the difference a fresh coat of paint will make to the overall appearance of your home.

Besides, if the thought of forking over a ton of cash to replace the siding doesn’t sound like something you’re ready to do at this point, the good news is that you don’t have to. Painting is a great cost-effective solution that will leave your home exterior looking as new as the day the panels were first installed.

This guide explores how to get paint off vinyl siding to leave it looking immaculate and pristine.

Related: Types of Vinyl Siding Tools

Painting Vinyl Siding – Reasons Why You Should

Woman painting siding panels.

If the existing siding on your home is still in pretty good shape, why replace perfectly good panels when you don’t have to? Old, faded, and dull-looking vinyl siding is more of an aesthetic problem than a functional one.

Many people, however, don’t realize that painting can restore the luster of drab siding, making them look as great as they did when they came off the factory line. The lifespan of bare vinyl is 20 years. Painting it, on the other hand, extends it to 40.

So, if the existing panels in your home are nowhere close to that age, then a fresh coat of paint is exactly what’s required to get them there.

Benefits of Painting Vinyl Siding

Cans of paint, a paintbrush, and color samples.

Aside from extending its shelf life, there are several other pros of painting vinyl siding. These include:

  • Cost-effectiveness – The cost to paint vinyl siding is considerably cheaper than the expense of purchasing and installing new panels.
  • Curb appeal – Nothing restores the beauty and magnificence of a home quite like painting dull and faded exterior vinyl panels. It makes them look brand new again.
  • Raises the property value – Your home is a prime investment, so you need to treat it as such. Painting keeps it fresh, appealing, and sale-ready if you ever want to dispose of it quickly.
  • Adds personality – Painting is the perfect opportunity to adorn your home’s exterior in vinyl siding paint colors that you love. That way, your home becomes an extension of your style and personality.

Can You Remove Paint From Vinyl Siding?

Scraping old paint off a siding.

If you want to get the best results out of any home improvement project you embark on, there’s one rule of thumb you need to always keep in mind: Never skip the prep process. This is especially true when it comes to painting projects.

If the existing panels on your home’s exterior were painted previously or accidentally paint-stained, before you can apply a fresh coat of paint, you first need to figure out how to get paint off vinyl siding.

If you’re new to this, ensure that you consult with a professional right from the start to avoid using techniques that could potentially ruin your panels – which is very easy to do without the right expertise. So why would you want to remove paint from vinyl siding anyway?

Here are a couple of reasons.

For Smooth Paint Application

One of the best-kept secrets to smooth paint application is to ensure that you have a clean base to work with. Applying a fresh coat of paint over old, faded, and more often than not, chipped paint is a vinyl siding painting faux pas. Imperfections like uneven application, flaking, or air bubbles present in the layers beneath, are likely to show up as uneven bumps on the new layer.

Enhances the Longevity of the Paint

The biggest selling point of vinyl siding is the fact that it is super low-maintenance. Painting simply keeps it looking new and lustrous and extends its lifespan by an additional 20 years.

With that said, unless you intend to keep painting your vinyl panels every other year, you need to keep two things in mind. First, don’t skimp on the materials. Only use high-quality paint to get the best results.

Second, work out how to get paint off vinyl siding safely and effectively so that the new paint bonds over the panel surface better. That way, it will be a long time before you need to slap on a new coat.

You Want a Different Shade

Traditional home with yellow and orange siding.

If the existing color on your vinyl siding is darker than the shade of the new paint you want to apply, you’re left with no choice but to strip off the old layer before you start. If you don’t, the outcome will disappoint you.

Assuming, for instance, that the panels on your home exterior were previously painted blue and you now want a more neutral color like Irish Cream – which is a type of beige. Chances are you might end up with something that looks more like a pale gray if you paint over it without getting the previous layer off.

The same thing applies if you want to paint vinyl siding a darker color when the existing shade on the panels belongs to a whole different color family. Think – painting a dark gray over a deep red. The results? Well, you’ll get something other than a dark gray, that’s for sure. The point is, if you’re changing shades, you’ll first need to strip the existing paint off the vinyl siding.

You Used the Wrong Type of Paint

If this is your first time painting vinyl siding, you might not be aware of the fact that you can only use specific types of paint for the project. Vinyl siding is very sensitive to temperature changes. As a result, it expands and contracts significantly throughout the day.

Any paint you use on vinyl siding should also be capable of responding to these changes to prevent it from flaking and also stop the panels from buckling or warping. If the wrong type of paint was used previously, you first have to get it off the vinyl siding. Once you do this successfully, always use paints that have acrylic resins and urethane in their ingredients.

You Accidentally Got Unwanted Paint on It

Sometimes, in the process of painting something else like the roof trims, gutter, or window frames, you may accidentally end up splashing some paint on the vinyl surface. You need to figure out how to get paint off vinyl siding without ruining the color or the panel itself. There are several techniques you can use to do this with minimal damage to your siding.

How to Remove Paint From Vinyl Siding

Paint brushes and a bottle beside a concrete and metal siding.

If some wet paint accidentally splashed onto the surface of your vinyl siding, don’t panic. Start by mixing in a little household laundry detergent with some water and use a medium-firm bristled brush to scrub off the paint.

If that doesn’t work, get your hands on some Goof Off or Goo Gone. But first, test it out on a small spot on the panel and leave it on for a short while to make sure that it is safe for vinyl. If it is, use it to remove the paint.

You can also try using a solution of dish soap and baking soda. Rub the paste onto the paint stain and leave on for a few minutes before using a soft rag to scrub it off gently.

Additionally, consider using acetone or thinner to remove paint stains. However, keep in mind that these compounds may dull the finish on your vinyl panels. To minimize the chances of this happening, consider “thinning the thinner” further by diluting every cup of the chemical with eight parts water.

Removing Water-Based Paint

Cleaning materials on a blue basin.

Materials required:

  • Small basin
  • Cloth or soft-bristled brush
  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Water
  • Isopropyl alcohol

Procedure:

  1. Place a little water in a small basin and mix-in a couple of drops of laundry detergent
  2. Dip a soft cloth or soft-bristled brush in the solution and use it to gently scrub off the stain
  3. If it doesn’t come off, rinse the spot off with water before using a little isopropyl alcohol to rub the paint stain until it’s gone

Removing Oil-Based Paint

Holding Odorless Mineral Spirits by Klean Strip at a store.

Materials required:

  • Cloth
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Mineral spirits

Procedure:

  1. Use the cloth to apply a small amount of the mineral spirits over the stain and leave to sit for a few minutes
  2. Use the brush to scrub the stain off the surface until you notice an improvement in the appearance
  3. Repeat the process as many times as it takes to get the stain off

Removing Spray Paint

Spraying black paint.

Materials required:

  • Mineral spirits
  • Brush
  • Light penetrating oil
  • Cloth
  • Paint thinner
  • Graffiti remover
  • Pressure washer

Procedure:

  1. Apply a generous amount of mineral spirits to the graffiti stain and leave to sit for a few minutes
  2. Use a brush to scrub off the graffiti stain
  3. If that doesn’t work, try using a light penetrating oil and use a cloth to rub it on to the stain before wiping it off.
  4. You can also try using a paint thinner to remove the graffiti from the vinyl siding
  5. If that still doesn’t work, use a graffiti remover together with a pressure washer to remove the stains

What Works and What Does Not

Glossy concrete wall surface.

The best strategy for dealing with paint stains is to handle them as soon as they occur. If you don’t, the stains will eventually dry out and bond to the vinyl siding surface. When this happens, they won’t come off using conventional stain removal methods.

You may have to employ more damaging removal techniques like scraping off or sanding over the paint-stained area before painting over it.

Using solvent-based stain removers, on the other hand, are also likely to dull the vinyl. So you may also have to consider repainting it entirely at some point.

How to Get Paint off Vinyl Siding – Additional Tips

Here are some tips you’ll find useful when removing paint stains from vinyl panels:

  • Graffiti stains are the most difficult to remove. Aim to get rid of them within 24 hours from when they occur.
  • Test out the strength and effectiveness of a cleaning solution on a hidden area of the vinyl siding before applying it to the actual stain. This gives you a chance to assess any possible damaging effects it may have on the panels.
  • If you can’t remove paint or graffiti stains using any of the methods described in the previous section, you might have to paint over the siding surface entirely.
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