icon Is It Possible to Paint Exterior PVC Trim? Your Questions Answered

Is It Possible to Paint Exterior PVC Trim? Your Questions Answered

Your trim is one of the most important parts of your home. It creates a finished appearance. Furthermore, it gives your exterior an accent that adds style.

However, trim also has utility. It protects corners and rafters. It also saves the unfinished areas of your structure from moisture damage.

Touching up your trim can give your home’s exterior a needed “pop.” However, if you have Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) trim, you might wonder, “Can you paint PVC trim?”

To learn whether it’s possible to paint PVC trim, keep reading.

A Bit About PVC Trim

If you’re wondering if you can paint PVC trim, you’re not alone. This question is common among homeowners.

Before PVC products, manufacturers primarily used materials such as pine for trim. However, wood trim is subject to rot and insects.

Also, pinewood needs a good painting every few years. Resultantly, a growing number of contractors have turned to AZEK trim for these reasons. In fact, AZEK PVC is currently the leading material used for trim.

AZEK PVC trim is impervious to moisture and insects. Many contractors sell homeowners on the idea that there is no need to paint AZEK PVC trim.

Homeowners appreciate the idea of saving money by not painting trim. However, after a few years, it might still look like you need to paint.

AZEK trim doesn’t require paint. Nevertheless, you may still want to give your exterior trim a splash of color.

First, bare PVC trim is stark white. It can clash with the rest of your home’s exterior.

Also, PVC trim is subject to impacts like any other material. Over time, you can notice damage on unfinished PVC trim, such as dirt, smudges, handprints, mold and mildew.

Furthermore, some contractors don’t fill the nail holes or clean trim after installation. You can remedy this issue, but you’ll need to use filler, caulk and glue recommended by the PVC trim manufacturer.

Common PVC Trim Problems

Often, homeowners will leave PVC trim unfinished. By not finishing the trim, they save themselves from worries about aging and peeling paint.

Some contractors will try to do the job right and cover nail holes and spaces with some type of spackle. Again, covering nail holes gives trim a smooth appearance.

Over time, however, spackle turns yellow. However, AZEC PVC trim will remain white. Resultantly, the yellow, aging spackle will stand out boldly.

AZEC PVC trim is durable. For example, it does a great job of withstanding UV rays. However, it’s not invincible.

Like any other trim, it’s subject to dents, gouging and other damage. For instance, you might notice damage to your PVC trim around high-traffic areas outside your home.

Still, PVC trim has a unique property. You can fix damage to the trim with heat. You can also feel gouges and dents with manufacturer-recommended putty.

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons why you may want to paint your PVC trim. With that in mind, let’s dive into the facts.

How to Paint PVC Trim

Moisture is the enemy of traditional wood trim. It’s the main cause of paint failure.

However, PVC trim doesn’t hold moisture. Resultantly, paint lasts much longer on the material than it does on wood trim.

Firstly, you may wonder if you must prime PVC trim before painting. Well, that depends.

AZEC has excellent adhesion. In other words, paint can bond to it properly without a topcoat.

However, you’ll need to wipe the surface clean first. You also want to make sure it’s completely dry before you start the paint job.

Still, you may want to avoid voiding the manufacturer’s warranty. In that case, you’ll need to apply primer before you paint.

Secondly, you may wonder how long it takes PVC trim to dry. Here, it’s important to understand that AZEC PVC trim does not absorb moisture.

When you paint PVC trim, it will dry fast. However, it might take 30 days for the paint to fully cure.

AZEC states that its PVC trim does not need paint. However, it accepts and holds paint well. Still, you’ll want to choose the right paint for the job.

Selecting the Right Paint For PVC Trim

AZEC has a specific formula for selecting paint for its PVC trim. Firstly, the company recommends 100% acrylic latex paint. Also, the paint should have a light reflective value (LRV) of 55 or higher.

If you choose dark colors, the paint should have an LRV of 54 or lower. Furthermore, you’ll want to choose a paint that safe for vinyl and PVC, such as Sherwin Williams VinylSafe paint.

Understanding LRV

Light-to-medium paint has an LRV of 55 or higher. These are the colors recommended for PVC trim. Using a color below 55 LRV can void the warranty with certain manufacturers.

LRV is a color measurement. It’s also a measure of a color’s ability to absorb heat.

Paint with an LRV of zero is black. Conversely, paint with an LRV of 100 is white. However, you shouldn’t assume that paint is a light color simply by looking at it.

For example, there are many instances where contractors might select a color that they believe is light beige. However, they later realize that it has an LRV between 20 and 30.

This scenario highlights the importance of consulting with the PVC manufacturer if you want to make sure that you don’t void your trim warranty. You may need to check with both the manufacturers of your trim and paint before you make a selection.

The Best Paint For PVC Trim

If you want more paint options, 100% acrylic latex paint with a urethane additive is an alternative. With or without urethane, 100% acrylic latex paint will enable you to achieve superior paint durability and flexibility.

Conversely, lacquer paint does not work well with PVC trim. Lacquer is a brittle paint. Over time, it won’t flex with the movement of the PVC.

Sherwin Williams, Manor Hall, PPG, and Benjamin Moore all make paint designed especially for PVC trim. What’s more, a PVC trim paint job lasts 3 to 5 times longer than painting wood.

Sherman Williams offers suitable PVC paint under its Green Seal line. Green Seal paint is a great option if you want to do your part to limit your impact on the environment.

For instance, Sherman Williams Kem BP Enamel is an acrylic topcoat that’s water-reducible. It dries fast and has no critical recoat time.

Also, Kem BP Enamel has excellent adhesion properties. Resultantly, it’s ideal for painting PVC trim.

Adding Finishing Touches to the Job

When working with PVC trim, you can treat it the same as you would premium lumber. It’s tough, but you want to make sure not to damage the visible surfaces of the trim.

Again, you’ll want to make sure that it’s clean before painting. You’ll need to remove all dirt and grime from the visible surfaces of the PVC trim.

You can use a product such as Soft Scrub with bleach to clean unfinished PVC trim. You could also use a cleaner such as Mr. Clean Magic Eraser with a bit of water. Corte Clean is also great for cleaning cellular PVC trim.

No matter your selection, you want to test your cleaner in an inconspicuous area. If all goes well, you can use that cleaner to prep the rest of your trim.

As for covering nail heads, you’ll want to select an adhesive that contains a solvent. For example, NPC SolarSeal #900-Trimboard White #111 works well for ceiling PVC trim. It’s also great to have around for repairing any loose trim.

In some cases, your PVC trim may have a stain that you cannot remove. In that case, you can sand it with 320 grit sandpaper.

If there are any rough areas, you can wipe them with acetone. The acetone will help to reseal the cells of the PVC trim.

A Beautiful Home Starts With Creativity!

Now you know more about whether it’s possible to paint PVC trim. It is, but you must know which paint and sealants are right for the job.

Selecting the right paint is the key to finding the best option for your PVC trim. A fresh coat of paint on your trim will transform and enliven your home. It will make your home feel brighter, bigger and more welcoming.

Sherman Williams is one of the best paints for trim and baseboards. The company’s paint is high quality. Also, Sherwin Williams offers rich, long-lasting colors.

Now that you have more insight into painting PVC trim, you may crave other great ideas for improving your décor. Melissa Vickers Design can help.

Please feel free to contact us today to get started designing the home of your dreams.


  • Hello, I am considering whether to ue PVC wide trim to replace the wood trim on my multi-biege colored house. The house has beige vinyl siding and wood trim painted in a shade of beige to match. My handiman suggested painting the PVC trim boards (8-10 inches wide) before attaching it to the North East corner where the wood trim needed to be replaced. I read above that Sherwin Williams paint is the best t paint PVC boards. Does the PVC board need to be primed? If so, which brand of primer should I use to prevent blistering/peeling in the hot summer sun? Also, what kind of nail should I use when putting up the PVC board? A friend found white nails for PVC board at Home Depot in Bellingham, WA. I am not sure whether the white nail heads will show on the beige painted PVC board, but if needed what should I use to fill the white nail heads so that I can then apply beige paint over them?

    Patricia Giricz
  • Thank you for answer this question without complicating it with scientific explanations, it was very helpful, I have no need to look anywhere else. Have a great day.

    Tony DeAlejandro
  • I love me some Sherman Williams paint. Far better than his brother, sherwins’.

  • Hello, I’m having issues with paint peeling over PVC trim. Do you have any advice on what type of primer to use, and whether a certain type of bonding agent is needed? My previous contractor had used Sherwin Williams A-100 acrylic latex.


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