To paint or not to paint Azek? That is the question.
Painting contractors here at Dennis Moffitt Painting have had this question asked over and over, season after season. We are a painting company, so of course we recommend painting it! Just kidding, but we do recommend it and here are our reasons why, as well as some F.A.Q.s about the Azek product.
The edge and end grain in Azek is more porous than the faces of the Azek. This edge and end grain will tend to hold water longer after moisture (rain, morning dew, etc.) This is why you will see the edges turn black and often green with mold and mildew when left unpainted. If you were to paint the Azek is helps seal up the Azek to prevent mildew from forming on the edge and end grain cuts.
When painted, Azek becomes much more washable than untreated Azek. Dirt, smudges etc will wash off much easier. Again, by painting the Azek, it helps seal up the porosity of the material. This is especially helpful around high traffic areas like entry ways and garage door trim.
After the Azek is installed, nail holes have to be filled and joints need to be caulked in. The fastening systems have gotten much better. The more qualified contractors are using the plug system. The essentially bore out a hole of the Azek and the material is saved. The trim in installed and then the Azek plug is used to cover the fasteners head. This blends very nicely and is not noticeable to the naked eye. The problem is that very few contractors are using this system. Joints where Azek trim boards will still need to be caulked in and over time the caulk ages a different color than the Azek color itself. This is one of the main reasons that our customers have made the decision to have Azek painted.
No way to get around this one: Azek only comes in white, and it is flat. So if you are looking for a different color or sheen, you have no choice but to paint.
Azek maintains that it does not require painting for a maintenance free product and we agree. I believe, however, that it does make their product appear much better by painting it. There are some things to pay attention to that a do-it-yourself home painter may overlook:
• Make sure to wipe down the Azek with denatured alcohol to clean and properly prepare the surface before painting.
• Your paint needs to be 100% acrylic. Do not prime the Azek, simply do top coats of 100% acrylic from a quality manufacturer.
• When selecting colors, lighter is better. If selecting a darker color with a Light Reflective Value (LRV) lower than 55, you will need to select a vinyl safe color. The deeper the color, the more heat it wil attract. The heat can lead to the Azek warping (it is plastic!) Sherwin Williams carries a vinyl-safe color chart.
If you have any other questions about painting your home in the Cranston, Richmond, or Narragansett areas, contact Dennis Moffitt Painting at 401-789-2181.