Can I Paint It – a Painting Guide for Unusual Surfaces

November 11, 2013

Putting a coat of interior or exterior paint over an already painted wall is easy. Things get more complicated when the surface you want to paint isn’t already sporting a coat or two. Here’s the lowdown on painting just some of the surfaces we’re asked about on a regular basis. You may be surprised at what you can paint!

Painting Over Vinyl Siding

Most people opt for vinyl siding specifically because they were sold on the idea that they’d never need to paint again, but vinyl siding fades and replacing siding just to change the color of a home’s exterior is costly. Painting vinyl siding makes exterior updates easy but vinyl brings with it challenges because it expands and contracts more significantly than other materials when temperatures shift throughout the day and from season to season. Luckily, more manufacturers are responding to consumer demand for vinyl-friendly exterior paints with darker colors designed to withstand the expansion and contraction of vinyl even when painting over lighter hues. For a more detailed look at painting vinyl siding, see our recent blog post.

Painting Over Aluminum Siding

Aluminum siding is also sold as a no-paint material but over time ends up looking chalky and faded due to the oxidation of the metal. Painting aluminum siding is possible but requires special preparation to guarantee that paint will adhere. First, the powdery oxide needs to be removed completely – sometimes that can mean scrubbing and multiple washes. Any rust should be removed at this point. Specialty primers can ensure that exterior paints bond with the surface of thoroughly cleaned aluminum siding so that the paint job is as durable as possible.

Painting Over Wallpaper

Removing wallpaper can be expensive if you have a professional do it and time consuming as well as messy if you do it yourself. On top of the expense and hassle, there’s also the fact that you can never tell what the wall underneath is going to look like once the paper is down. You might end up with a pristine ready-to-paint wall or a wall in need of partial patching or even complete re-texturing. So to answer the question ‘Can I paint over wallpaper,’ you certainly can but removing wallpaper first will give you the best possible results. If painting over wallpaper is necessary, you can achieve a smoother look by applying a sealer and smoothing over seams with drywall compound before priming. Flat wallpapers will take paint better than textured papers, and wallpapers will dark patterns may require extra priming or more coats of paint.

Painting Over Stained Wood

Yes, you can paint over oil based stains, but the usual rules about proper prep apply. Clean the surface; repair scratches, dents, and holes; and then prime with an oil based primer before applying an oil based top coat for best results. However, if you’re committed to painting with a water based top coat, choose a primer that is specifically designed to transition from oil base to a water base. This is especially important when it comes to painting kitchen cabinets or furniture – either of which may be coated with an oil based stain.

can i paint ceramic can i paint siding

Painting Over Ceramic Tile

While we wouldn’t recommend updating a bathroom or large kitchen backsplash by painting all of the tiles, you can paint ceramic tile. This is useful since even classic colors and styles of tile can start to look dated after a while and painting accent tiles is an easy(ish) way to give your bathroom or kitchen a facelift without spending a lot of money. You will, however, need to spend some time. First, you’ll need to remove grease, mold, grime, and anything else that might come between the tile and the paint. Next, scuff tile with sandpaper, removing as much screened on pattern as you can if you have printed tile, and then give it a final cleaning. Finally, prime with epoxy or urethane bonding primer and paint with a semigloss or high-gloss paint. Note: Do not paint ceramic tiles in areas where they will get wet, like in a shower or immediately behind a sink.

Painting Over Laminate

Laminate countertops and furnishings are durable, which is a plus, but that longevity means that laminate will eventually start to look dated or faded. Or you may simply tire of the color. And while you can paint laminate, thorough prep is absolutely essential to achieving good results. Scuff sanding and cleaning the laminate with a solvent like lacquer thinner creates a surface ready for primer. Use an adhesion primer designed just for laminate or a multi-purpose adhesion primer. Finally, use an enamel paint that will create a surface that can stand up to the same rigors as the original laminate.

In general, almost everything can be painted, from walls to radiators to furniture to tile to plastics and metals. The key is doing whatever is necessary to prepare the surface to accept primer and paint – as long as you’re working with a surface thoroughly prepped and the right paint for the job, you’re going to be successful.

At Jerry Enos Painting, we know the right products for the job. Every exterior painting project is different, and unlike other MA exterior painting companies, we will always treat your house, building, or surface as one-of-a-kind. Call us for a free estimate at 978-546-6843.

Categorised in: , , ,