What is Vinyl Paint and When Should You Use it?

Shopping for paint can be confusing. There are oil-based paints, emulsion paints, whitewash, enamel paints, bituminous paints, distemper paints, epoxy paints, latex paints, lead paints… the list goes on. How anyone is expected to know what type of paint to use for what type of surface is a wonder. One of the most common types you’re likely to come across is vinyl paint. In basic terms, vinyl paint is a water-based paint that’s designed to be used on surfaces such as siding, floors, and plastics. It’s not an all-purpose paint by any means (apply it to the wrong kind of surface and you’ll still be waiting for it to stick 10 years down the line), but used correctly, it offers some excellent benefits. If you’ve ever wanted to find out more about the uses and benefits of vinyl paint, here’s what you need to know.

What is Vinyl Paint?

There’s a world of paints out there, with vinyl being just one of them. However, it’s one of the most common and almost certainly one that you might need at some point. So, what exactly is it? As Hunker explains, vinyl paint is a water-based paint that contains a proportion of vinyl plastic. It’s designed primarily to be used on surfaces such as floors, plastics, seat covers, and siding. It’s exceptionally hard-wearing: once it soaks into a surface, it becomes one with it – if you intend to remove it at a later stage, prepare to put in a lot of elbow grease. Vinyl paint isn’t the kind of paint you can happily slap onto anything: if it’s applied to the wrong type of surface, the paint won’t adhere and will simply slip off.

What Types of Vinyl Paints are Available?

While all vinyl paint has the same basic properties, the situation becomes a little more complicated when you consider the wide variety of vinyl paint formulas available. As each formula is designed with a specific task in mind, it’s worth familiarizing yourself with each one. The most common type that you’re likely to come across is the vinyl paint sold in gallon drums. Of all the types, this is the one that looks most like conventional house paint. It’s primarily used to cover soft plastics, vinyl covers, interiors, and floors. It has a very thin consistency that allows it to bond easily with the applied surface. Because of how well it adheres, it can be challenging to remove.

Vinyl spray paints are used for the same general purposes as the previous kind. However, rather than being applied with a brush or roller, it can be sprayed directly onto surfaces, making it the preferred choice for furniture, awnings, and small areas of siding. Vinyl siding paint and exterior paint are both designed to provide a durable, waterproof coating to exteriors and siding. Exterior vinyl paint is designed to withstand both heat and water, as well as resisting chips and fading.

What is Vinyl Paint Used For?

Although it isn’t an all-purpose paint, vinyl paint comes with a myriad of uses. When used on exteriors, it provides resilient, durable protection against weather erosion. When used on interiors, it can instantly update and modernize outdated vinyl surfaces. Used on vinyl floors, it can refresh the look of a room at a fraction of the cost of replacing the floor. Thanks to how well it soaks into a surface, it’s a good option for areas that see a lot of use.

What Kinds of Surfaces Are Best For Vinyl Paints?

Vinyl paints can be used on a wide variety of surfaces and are typically known for being easy to apply and quick-to-dry. However, certain surfaces aren’t appropriate for vinyl paint: if it’s used on them, it won’t dry or adhere as it should. It’s also worth bearing in mind that while sheen and silk vinyl paints are very durable, matt vinyl paints are less so. If you use a vinyl matt paint rather than one with a sheen, you might want to avoid using it in areas that see a lot of footfall. Vinyl or not, matt paints tend to mark and discolor easier than paints with a sheen. As such, they’re best reserved for low-intensity areas. As paintmaster.co.uk recommends, avoid using vinyl matt paint on surfaces such as:

  • High-Moisture Surfaces such as Kitchen Walls and Ceilings and Bathroom Walls and Ceilings.
  • Sealant, Particularly Acrylic Sealant.
  • Floors and Low-Walls.
  • Low Industrial Surfaces.
  • High-Impact or High-Intensity Areas.
  • Exposed Masonry.

Can you Clean Vinyl Paint?

One of the key benefits of vinyl paint (other than how easy it is to apply and how quick it is to dry) is how easy it is to clean. However, if easy cleaning is a priority, be sure to stick to vinyl sheen or vinyl silk paints only. These can be easily cleaned with a damp cloth. Vinyl matt paints, on the other hand, are known to be a nightmare to clean. As differencebetween.com (www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-silk-and-vs-matt-paint/) notes, even a small amount of soap and water can leave long, very noticeable streaks on matt paintwork.

Pros and Cons of Vinyl Paint

There’s no shortage of different paint types out there, so why should you consider vinyl paint over the other types? And are there any downfalls to using it? One of the primary benefits of vinyl paints is their excellent coverage. While other paints might need several applications (with plenty of drying time between each one), vinyl paint is far less time-consuming. In the vast majority of cases, one coat of vinyl paint is all that’s needed. Another key benefit is its durability. Although matt vinyl paints aren’t very resistant to marks, silk and sheen vinyl offer superb durability and resistance, even in well-used areas. As vinyl sinks into surfaces rather than simply sitting on them, it doesn’t chip or peel in the way of many other types of paint.

Although vinyl paint has numerous benefits, it also has certain drawbacks. Firstly, it’s not going to work with all surfaces. Before you paint an entire surface, you should always test it on a small area first in case the surface doesn’t absorb the paint in the way it should. Secondly, it can be incredibly hard to paint over with another type of paint. While other paints can be painted over easily enough, you’ll need to remove vinyl paint completely before using another paint on the same surface. As a final negative, vinyl paint is one of the least environmentally friendly paints around.


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