We often hear how certain exterior building products are maintenance-free. Once installed on your home, you can forget about them forever, the ads say. Vinyl siding, composite decking, fiberglass trim and factory-finished aluminum are just some of the materials that fit the description.

But what if you want to paint them — to change the color, freshen the appearance or simply provide an extra layer of protection? Can you paint something that doesn’t require painting?


“Most of the time, you can paint these materials,” said Debbie Zimmer, paint and color expert at the Paint Quality Institute. “But it’s important that you follow the right procedures when doing so.”

As with other exterior paint jobs, it’s important that you first make any repairs that are necessary, then thoroughly clean and rinse the surface before applying any type of coating, said Zimmer. If mildew is present, remove it using a three-to-one water/bleach solution, followed by a thorough rinsing.

Another thing: It’s always wise to apply a coat of top-quality acrylic latex primer when painting maintenance-free materials. A primer will help the paint get a better grip on the surface, and give the finished paint job more uniform color and sheen.


When it comes to the paint itself, it’s important that you use the right product. Zimmer said that high-quality, 100-percent acrylic latex paint is a great choice for almost any type of exterior painting, but it’s essential when painting surfaces that are designed to be maintenance-free, which often are very smooth and slick.

“Top-quality, 100-percent acrylic latex paint provides the best adhesion to virtually any material, it produces a very durable paint film and it has very consistent color and gloss,” said Zimmer. “By applying this type of paint, the surface will look great, and it will stay that way for years to come.”

It’s a good idea to apply the primer and paint with quality brushes and rollers. They’ll help you put down thicker, more protective layers of the coating, and enable you to get the best possible appearance with your new paint job.


This article is courtesy of Home Improvement News and Information Center.