Q: I just installed vinyl-clad windows in a room addition. I’d love to paint the white vinyl cladding to match the rest of the house trim. Do I need to use special paint or techniques? - Jim McDonald, Durham, NC
A: You can successfully paint vinyl trim and siding provided you follow a few guidelines, according to experts at the Rohm and Haas Paint Quality Institute (paintquality.com). First, don’t paint light-toned vinyl a dark color. Dark colors can absorb enough additional heat to cause the vinyl to warp or sag, particularly if it is exposed to direct sunlight. This is more of a problem with vinyl siding than vinyl window or door trim. Still, it’s a good idea to avoid dark colors on trim.
For the paint to bond well with the vinyl, follow these steps:
- Wash and rinse the surface.
- Lightly scuff-sand the surface with 220-grit sandpaper to create “tooth” for the paint.
- Wipe again with a damp rag.
- Paint the surface with latex exterior primer. Let the primer dry overnight.
- Apply two coats of paint. The Paint Quality Institute recommends a top-of-the-line 100 percent acrylic exterior latex house and trim paint in a satin finish. Let the first coat dry overnight.