Today, many outdoor housing components like trim and your deck are made of wood, which is prone to issues from the elements.
So painting and other precautions have been the norm to ensure the longevity of the wood.
You also have to perform yearly maintenance on everything, which is time-consuming and costly long term.
AZEK on the other hand is a kind of PVC material that has been coated with a scratch-resistant and weather-resistant polymer.
It’s a stronger and longer-lasting alternative to traditional wood material and it does not need to be painted, though nothing is stopping you from doing so.
This means if you have a specific reason you can paint AZEK boards and trims without a problem.
How to Paint AZEK?
Before painting the AZEK, make sure you properly clean the material as it should be completely free of any debris and other marks.
Typically you’ll want to use a solution like denatured alcohol to clean the AZEK.
When applying the paint, ensure that you’re using nice even brushstrokes so that you can mimic the appearance of wood.
Not doing this takes away a number of advantages you get by doing the painting in the first place.
So, it should be addressed with your painter if you won’t be doing it yourself.
Also, remember that unlike wood AZEK is not porous, so the paint will take around 30 days to cure fully. You should be aware of that before everyday use.
What Type of Paint to Use for Azek?
If you decide to paint AZEK, you will need to use 100% acrylic latex paint with a color that carries a Light Reflective Value (LRV) of 55 or above.
If you want a darker color, ensure the light reflective value (LRV) is 55 or lower and it comes with special heat reflective properties.
A lighter color will be better as darker colors attract heat and could warp the AZEK material due to the expansion and contraction.
Sherwin Williams® paint stores have a VinylSafe® color palette that has an LRV above 55 and is best suited for Azek.
AZEK mostly recommends their users to use these 100% acrylic latex paints from Sherwin Williams:
- Emerald® Exterior Acrylic Latex
- Duration® Exterior Acrylic Latex
- Resilience® Exterior Acrylic Latex
However, if you are interested in checking more options, here is a complete list with the color name, number, and LRV rating.
The collection of colors you find here meets AZEK’s painting guidelines that ensure the best overall product performance.
Make sure you do not customize or adjust the paint colors in any way.
Use the exact same information that’s provided by the manufacturers when selecting the final paint.
If possible, get a paint sample or a color swatch by visiting a local paint store or if available while ordering the paint online.
How Many Coats do You Need to Apply?
Usually, a single coat of paint will be enough to provide you with the desired solid coverage.
However, it all depends on how well you applied the paint, what color you picked, and the brand of paint you used.
Do You Need to Prime Azek Before Painting?
Azek products with PaintPro Technology don’t need any special prep work before painting.
This means you do not require to prime the Azek before applying paint to it.
All you will need is good clean-up, once the surface is dry you can apply the paint directly over it for recoloring.
Reasons You Should Be Painting AZEK- The Pros and Cons
First of all, the edges of AZEK are much more porous and can retain moisture.
If left unpainted, you can see mold growth, turning black or green.
You either need to clean it when this happens or if you spray paint it, you can remove this issue.
Another reason is that AZEK installers may not have performed the best job, and you’re left with holes from joining the AZEK.
These need to be filled, caulked, and then sanded. So, painting may be a good option to hide this.
On the other hand, properly installed AZEK with plug and play joints will not need this.
So, your initial investment in the product and installers would fix this requirement.
Now when you know the reasons to prepare and paint AZEK, let’s look at some of the benefits and drawbacks of painting the material.
Depending on how contractors have installed your AZEK, you may get many cosmetic advantages out of painting AZEK.
- AZEK only comes in white, so painting is the main option for making that change if white is not to your liking.
- When painted correctly, you’ll have the appearance of wood rather than a PVC pipe. So, this is better and more aesthetically pleasing, especially when trying to resell your home.
- AZEK can become dirty and smudged and is a little hard to keep clean. However, if painted, it becomes much easier to wash and care for the appearance of the AZEK.
AZEK does not require any painting, and once you decide to do so, you get a number of disadvantages that you should consider.
- Using the incorrect paint can warp the AZEK, and you will need to replace it.
- Additional maintenance costs going forward as you will need to maintain the paint.
If we’re being honest, the major disadvantages are reasonably minor.
Still, part of the point of properly installed AZEK is to remove maintenance, so you’re adding that back with the added risk of warping.
Can you sand Azek?
No, Azek is as such is not sandable and should not be sanded before painting.
It’s a type of vinyl polymer composite, and if you try to sand or strip the surface, it would damage the material.
Plus, sanding the Azek can leave dust residue on the wetted interior surfaces of the trim, siding, and boards that can be hard to remove.
How often do you need to paint Azek?
Azek products are designed to be as waterproof as possible.
Once painted nicely, the paint on Azek products can last for up to 3 to 5 years without showing any signs of chipping or cracking.
You should therefore expect to repaint them every three to five years.
Can Azek get molds on it – what is the best way to clean it?
Yes. Azek boards are slightly porous and can get molds due to regular dirt and moisture outdoors.
You will most likely see this problem on the edges that are unpainted.
The most effective way to clean it is by using an all-purpose cleaner product such as Krud Kutter, Zep 505, or Chomp Gutter cleaner.
While cleaning, avoid using any abrasive cleaners and use only a natural fiber brush for scrubbing.
The Bottom Line
While you don’t need to necessarily paint AZEK, it’s a possibility, with the main benefits being your ability to pick colors other than white, better resistance to mold on the cut pieces, and an easier time keeping the product clean.
It does seem as though painted AZEK is a better option than leaving it plain white.
It’ll also be much more aesthetically pleasing to you and potential homebuyers in the future.
Your main downside is however the additional maintenance you add by painting it.
So, if you’re looking to paint your AZEK products, then go for it.
Just remember to use the right paint to avoid additional costs of replacing it due to dark colors like black or repainting it due to the wrong paint used.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for over a decade serving customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, and Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.