Can You Paint Vinyl and Metal Siding to Look like Wood?

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Homeowners love wood sidings not just because of their durability but because of their classy and natural look. Unfortunately, wood sidings are quite expensive and not affordable for all homeowners. Thus, many opt for vinyl or metal sidings and wonder if it’s possible to paint them to look like wood.

You can paint your vinyl or metal siding to look like wood. The right paint does a marvelous job of giving your alternative sidings a more natural, wooden look.

The good part is you don’t need a professional to paint your vinyl or metal sidings. All you should do is follow the simple steps highlighted in this text. Here, you’d find all the materials and other details you should know about wall sidings.

How to Paint Vinyl and Metal Sidings to Look like Wood


The first mistake most homeowners make is believing that painting their vinyl or metal is a challenging job. Painting sidings can indeed be tasking, especially if they make up the entire part of your exterior. Still, it’s not a difficult job; rather, it can be a fun experience.

You can paint your sidings before installing them or long after they’ve been installed. The first time your sidings were installed, they probably looked new and had a shiny surface. At this point, you might love to leave them the way they are, even though they’re not wooden.

Unfortunately, with time comes to wear, your sidings will begin to look old, worn, and less appealing. In this situation, painting your siding is an excellent option, especially if you’ve always preferred wooden color. Paintings also allow you to make your sidings look more presentable.

To paint your siding, follow the simple steps outlined below.

Collect Your Materials

Gather the materials you’ll need for your painting job. The first thing you’ll need is hot water and liquid dish soap for cleaning the surface thoroughly. You’ll also need a primer, the color of the paint, and a brush for application.

Clean the Surface of the Vinyl or Metal Siding

Cleaning the surface of your siding makes it easier to apply your paint by removing any dirt or dust on the siding. For vinyl, use a solution of liquid dish soap and hot water. For metals, use a solvent especially designed for prepainting prep work.

Sand the Surface of the Siding

Vinyl and metals are nonporous; thus, they have a sleek and smooth surface. The nature of their surface makes it difficult for paint to stick to them. As a result, you must add abrasions to their exteriors.

Turning the material’s surface abrasive gives it a rough feeling, making it easier for the paint to stick. If you’re using vinyl, you add abrasions by gently sanding the surface with 220-grit sandpaper. Avoid filing viny forcefully because it has a soft exterior easily damaged by too much force.

Use 320-grit sandpaper and a handheld sander tool to create abrasions on metals. You should know that metals are stronger than vinyl and require more force when sanding.

Apply Primer

Primer is necessary on these surfaces because it allows even distribution of paint on the surface. It also creates strong bonds between the surface and the paint, making it difficult for the paint to wash off.

Apply a thin primer layer to the surface and let it dry for a few minutes. Afterward, apply a second coat leave it to dry before proceeding to the next step.

Apply Paint

Apply dark brown latex paint with your paintbrush to achieve a brown wooden color. Vinyl is prone to warping; therefore, select paint with a high Light Reflective Value (LRV). This prevents it from being damaged by exposure to light, preserving the siding for longer.

You can apply a second coat of paint to achieve a more solid look. Adding an extra coat also improves the paint’s resilience, which can help extend the life of the paint job.

Create Wood Patterns on the Surface of the Material

After painting, you’ll need to add more detail to make it look like wood sliding. Get a darker shade of brown paint than the initial color and a thinner brush to achieve this. Apply the paint to look like wood knots and other imperfections present on a wooden surface.

If you’ve never tried this before, practice the patterns on another surface. Use wooden logs or siding as an inspiration to get better pattern details. You can also use a lighter paint shade to achieve a wooden appearance.

What Paint Should I Use on Vinyl Siding?

It’s no news that paint doesn’t adhere to vinyl easily. As a result, many people opt to leave their vinyl siding unpainted.

The good news is that, over the years, several manufacturers discovered how to create paint specifically for painting vinyl. These paints contain the necessary materials to preserve your vinyl surface and keep it from warping.

When selecting paint for vinyl, you must consider its Light Reflective Value. If you’re painting vinyl siding, ensure the LRV is above 55 percent. This figure is essential since it indicates how much light the paint will absorb.

A lower LRV signifies that the paint absorbs light faster. The faster the paint absorbs light, the faster it fades, making it look dull after a while. On the other hand, a greater LRV value signifies that the paint will retain it’s color longer.

What Kind of Metal Siding Paint Do You Use?

Unlike vinyl surfaces, you don’t have to be picky about your paint. A good paint job on a metal surface depends on how well you prepare the metal before applying paint. Therefore, if the metal siding has flaws, ensure you correct them before prepping and applying paint.

While prepping, use a metal-specific solvent-based primer. Such primers have been specifically designed to prevent rust. This is necessary because your siding will be more exposed to natural elements like wind, direct sunlight, and rain.

Though you don’t have to consider the LRV value for metal paint, you should consider its waterproofing ability. Ensure that you choose a paint that’s water-resistant and designed to withstand harsh weather conditions.

Do I Need to Prime Metal Before Applying Paint?

You should always prime metal before painting to enable the painting to stick better. Even if you don’t create abrasions, ensure that you prime the surface. Like vinyl, metal has a smooth surface, making it hard for paint to stay on it.

At first, when applying without a primer, it might seem like the paint will stay on the surface. However, the paint will begin to chip and peel after a while.

The best primer for metals is an epoxy primer. Other multi-purpose variants will not stay on metal but will only worsen the paint job.

How Long Does Paint Lasts on Metal Siding?

A good paint job will last for at least 15 years before being repainted. To make the best out of your siding, ensure you follow the necessary steps before painting.

Do I Paint My Siding Before or after Installation?

You can paint before or after installing your sidings. However, painting them before will give more room for other touch-ups. It’ll also allow you to create wood patterns to make the sidings look more like wood.

Another option will be to get sidings that are already painted to your desired color. The only downside is that you might not find a brown-colored siding with a wooden pattern.

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