Thursday, June 13, 2013

House Painting Debacle

Today, I planned on showing the progress we have made on painting our house.  Instead, I am going to tell you about the debacle that painting the house has turned into.

Let me remind you what our house looked like a couple of years ago.

In the past couple of years, we have removed most of the awnings that were completely disgusting.  We removed hedges and old landscaping that was overgrown.  All of this was done in preparation for painting the house this year to start the process of updating the exterior of our house.  Needless to say, we were extremely excited to get the ball rolling.

We picked out a medium gray color that we liked (Almost Charcoal from Lowe's).  We wanted to start out on a small section of our house to make sure it was the right color.

I started with this small section on the back of our house.  I painted 2 coats of the gray on the vinyl siding, 2 coats of white on the gutter and corner piece and 2 coats of black on the foundation.  We were pretty pleased with it.  It was a huge difference from the stained white that it was before.  So we decided to proceed.

I painted all three sides of this small section of our house (the dog's room) and thought it was finally starting to look like a decent house.  We bought a 5 gallon bucket of paint to tackle the largest parts of the house.

We were so excited to paint the front of our house because it is the most visible part of the house.  As you can see in the before shot, the front was in bad shape.  The siding was moldy and stained and the awnings were hideous.  It was going to be such a relief to improve it.

The above photo is after the first coat of paint.  Something strange started to happen at that point.  The siding was starting to warp.  My worst fear was turning into reality.  It doesn't look that bad in this photo.  Let's take a closer look.

As you can see, the warping was all over.  It looks horrible.  If you look back at the other sides of the house there was some warping as well, but not as bad or as noticeable as the front of the house.  We aborted painting at that point.

After some research, I discovered that you can paint vinyl siding ONLY if the paint color is the same color or a lighter color.  Repeatedly, I found this information "DO NOT paint vinyl siding a darker color".  Well, that was a complete bummer.  We had no idea that only darker paint colors would have this effect on our siding.

We were completely devastated.  Painting our house was going to cost less than $200 for the whole house and detached garage.  Now, we are looking at way more money to fix this mess.

After thinking about what to do for several days, we have decided that replacing the siding is our only option.  We don't want to live another couple of years with deformed siding.  The silver lining in this debacle is that we are going to get what we ultimately wanted.

Here is a rendering of what we are planning on doing.

We are going to focus on the front of the house this summer.  It will be done in phases.  We are going to start with adding the deck that we wanted to add for a long long time.  The second phase will be replacing the vinyl siding with LP Smart Side Panel Siding (an engineered wood) which is a vertical siding (what I always wanted).  We will still paint it the medium gray that we bought a 5 gallon bucket of.  The third phase will be adding the pergola over the deck area to add some shade.

I am not sure when we will begin this process, but I will keep you updated.  So what do you think?  Have you ever failed so miserably on a project that it ended up costing you way more money?

Before I go, I want to announce that the winner of the paperback copy of Living in a Nutshell is:

Ingrid@nowathomemom who commented:
WOW! the spaces you showed us are beautiful and unique! :-) I love them! I will go and visit her blog! thank you for introducing Janet to us! :-) & how nice of her to send you a book for your followers! :-)

Congratulations, Ingrid.  I will be in touch.


  1. Oh my goodness! I have never heard of something like that. I'm sure you sharing this will save some people of having the same thing happen. Sorry for your troubles! But, the house is going to look great!

  2. Things always have a silver lining. Perhaps this was what was supposed to happen all along:(. Much love, J

  3. Rats, I'm so sorry to hear about your fail. Who would have known? I never would have guessed that you can't paint a darker color over siding. That really stinks. But I'm glad to hear that you'll ultimately get to have the siding you've been wanting all along. Will look forward to seeing what it looks like!


  4. Just about every job I tackle ends up costing me more than I thought and taking more time than I thought. I guess things do happen for a reason. At least you're getting what you really want. I love that color! It's going to look great.

  5. Oh no! I seem to have problems like that a lot :(

  6. Oh!no Lauren! so sorry to hear about this! I can't believe of not supposed to paint in a darker color oh! but at least you will get the siding you've been wanting! :-) I'm sure it will look great with the improvements you will make!
    thanks again Lauren for the book! I can't wait to receive it and read it! :-)
    wish you a great weekend!

  7. How strange! The first thing we did to our ugly pea green house was paint it a nice dark gray - pretty similar to your color from the pictures. We went darker and didn't have the same problem - I would have flipped out. The cost stinks but it is pretty nice to get exactly what you want - you'll be so happy in the end!

    Thanks for your sweet comment on my Log Lamp - I'm having a lot of fun checking out your blog. Newest follower!


  8. Ouch!
    Too bad about the warping factor. I've never heard of that and would not have known this.
    Good thing you only got a little ways with the painting before you realized the 'fail'.
    I think your plans for the front of your house when finished will look great. I'm working on painting our house this year too. I started on the front using some paint left from the back when we replaced some while at Lowes, I picked up the paint swatch so I can buy the whole 5 gallons to finish the project in the a few weeks.
    Good luck with your projects.

  9. Sorry to read about your painting nightmare. Never knew the dark paint rule for vinyl siding. Your future plans for your home are beautiful. I can relate to your story as I had a bad interior painting experience that I just corrected today and it involves grey paint too! Here's the link to my dilemma Wish you luck with your future renovations.

  10. Who would have thought that a darker color would affect the siding like that. Very weird. But the color is beautiful.

  11. Oh my-I never knew that about siding!! Thanks for sharing! I'm visiting from Sew Can Do!

  12. I never knew this about vinyl siding! Well, at least you'll end up with what you originally wanted! Thanks for sharing!

  13. I can't even begin to understand why the paint color would make that happen -- does it actually cause the warping, or just make it show up more?

    Good luck getting the results you want!

    1. Michelle, I guess the darker paint base has some ingredient in it that causes the vinyl siding to not expand and contract properly. When the sun hits the siding it will expand and it won't go back to original form like normal vinyl siding does. So the sun causes the warping, but the paint effects whether it contracts. I hope that makes sense.

  14. Lauren, I am so sorry this happened to your house :-/ I am glad there's ultimately a silver lining, though. Your doggie is super cute too!

  15. Oh my word, this is terrible. I can't imagine why a darker color would do this. Such a shame. Hopefully it will all work out ok and not be too expensive. Thanks tons for joining Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

  16. Wow I have never heard of that - how odd. Enjoy your new siding :)

  17. Oh dear! It was looking so nice with the darker paint and it is too bad it started to warp. However, it looks like you have a plan that is even better-staying with the medium gray and a better base to apply it to. We can't wait to see how it turns out.

    So glad you linked up with us at the BeBetsy BRAG ABOUT IT Link and Hop.

    We'd love it if you would link back to BeBetsy at the bottom of your post.

    Have a great week~xo
    Sharon and Denise!

  18. How strange! I would have never guessed. I'm sorry that must have been so frustrating!

  19. Oh my, that is a bummer! I bet you could hardly believe your eyes as it was happening! But I love the new plan and I know you will be thrilled with the end result!

  20. Oh no! I didn't know that about siding. I really loved the color you picked too, darn it!

  21. I did not know this! I wonder what the science is behind it? I would love for you to share this at Party In Polka Dots!


  22. Oh no! Glad you shared, but sad that it was such a mess! Thank you for sharing at Give Me The Goods!

    Dimples & Pig Tales

  23. Having to spend more money after a failed DIY project is truly disappointing. While there is nothing wrong with trying to take care of house projects on our own, having the knowledge and skill on what you're about to do can truly come in handy. But hey, looking at the bright side of things, at least now you have new sidings, and with proper maintenance, can serve for far longer time.
    Danielle @ Vinylume Home Improvement