Click Here to see our newly reonovated shop and showroom in the Dutchess County, new york

Sherwin Williams screwed up big time. That’s how we found out their special formula vinyl paint actually works due to their massive screw up

Sherwin Williams advertises that you can paint vinyl siding a dark color without it melting the vinyl if you use their special formula vinyl paint. Before we go into their claim, let’s talk about vinyl siding and why you typically can’t paint it a dark color. 

What is Vinyl Siding and Why You Usually Can’t Paint It Dark

Vinyl siding, a popular exterior finish for homes, is known for its durability, low maintenance, and relatively easy installation. It’s also usually much less expensive than wood siding.  It’s made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and possesses a unique characteristic: it expands and contracts significantly with temperature changes. This quality is crucial to consider when painting, as it requires the paint to be equally flexible to avoid cracking or peeling. However, the main challenge arises with the choice of color. 

Traditionally, painting vinyl siding in dark colors has been discouraged because dark colors absorb more heat. This absorption can lead to excessive expansion of the siding, potentially causing it to warp or buckle. The color limitations are due to the inherent properties of the vinyl material and the thermal expansion it undergoes.

Enter Sherwin Williams’ special formula vinyl paint. This product claims to circumvent the usual limitations by using advanced technology. The paint is formulated to reflect infrared rays, reducing heat absorption, even with dark colors. This means that the siding remains cooler, minimizing the risk of warping or damage due to thermal expansion. Additionally, the paint is designed to be highly flexible, accommodating the expansion and contraction of the vinyl without cracking. This innovation opens up a new realm of color possibilities for homeowners who prefer darker shades for their vinyl siding. By addressing the core issues of heat absorption and material flexibility, Sherwin Williams’ product seems to offer a solution to a long-standing limitation in exterior home design.

The backstory that led us to test Sherwin Wiliams claim unwittingly

In 2023, after the purchase of a 9,000 square foot commercial building in the heart of Millbrook, New York, the building owners decided to make the building fit the character and charm of the neighborhood. The building hadn’t been updated in many decades and when it was originally built in the 80s it was built with vinyl siding that likely hadn’t been replaced since it was purchased. 

The owners looked into replacing the entire building with wood siding but it was cost prohibitive even though wood siding would have a much longer life. With vinyl, the owners thought they only had one option: to paint the building a lighter color than the current color on the building.   The owners did a lightweight rendering using Fiverr in order to visualize what a lighter color would look like but weren’t thrilled with the result. 

The owners then got a quote from a local painter who told the owners that Sherwin Williams made a proprietary Vinyl Safe paint that would allow them to paint the building any color they’d like. The painter didn’t have direct experience using it but assumed it would work well since Sherwin Williams made bold claims about it. 

The owners loved Benjamin Moore’s Black Forrest and were excited to find out that Sherwin Williams Vinyl Safe Paint could be color matched to it. 

The painter immediately order was 3 5 gallon buckets of paint from a Sherwin Williams store and got to work. The paint cans clearly said: Custom Vinyl Safe Match. 

After a couple of weeks of painting, the painter realized he was short and ordered two additional 5 gallon containers.

The building was complete and looked great!

But then, the vinyl on the broad side of the building started to melt. First a little bit and then more and more. It got so bad that people were driving by and texting the owners asking what happened? The owners, nor the painter, had any idea.

It was so noticeable that the owner of a local painter company, Johnny K Painting, posted an Instagram story blaming the painter for shoddy work.

The painter had no idea why this side of the building was melting but all the other sides looked perfect.

What made the situation even harder to diagnose was the melting was happening on the side of the building that got the most direct sunlight.

The first assumption: Sherwin Williams vinyl safe paint mighty work with some sun exposure but it doesn’t work if put on the most exposed sunniest parts of a building.

Then, the painter had a realization: the side of the building that was painted was painted with the new paint order. Could it be that the paint we got in the second order was somehow mixed up?

The painter immediately checked the remaining paint and, voila – the side of the bucket listed the Forrest Green but not the vinyl safe. 

Could it have been that the painter forgot to order the vinyl safe the second time around?

The painter was panicked, believing he screwed up and worried he’d have to spend thousands of dollars out of his pocket to make it right. When he remembered he order the second bath of paint by email.

Low and behold, he ordered the correct, vinyl safe paint. Had gone as far as to include a screenshot of the original paint he had ordered. It was Sherwin Williams who had fulfilled it incorrectly. Yes, the painter should have double checked, but ultimately Sherwein Williams was responsible. But would Sherwin see it that was?

Would Sherwin Williams take responsibility and do the right thing?

The painter frantically called Sherwin Williams to describe what happened. It seemed like Sherwin Williams had a procedure for this.  Put it in an email. Forward the initial email you ordered, which the painter did immediately. In short order, Sherwin Williams took responsibility and offered to pay for the entire residing of the building. They asked for the painter to quote what it would cost to reside the building, which of course the painter did. But it was $7,000, which included tearing down the existing siding, putting up new vinyl siding, and painting it. It was a fair quote but would Sherwin Williams go for that big of a number?

Yes, they would. Sherwin Williams immediately approved the plan and weeks later issued the check.

The melted vinyl was then removed from the building in order to prepare new siding to go on. 

And, in the end, the owners decided to spend a few thousand extra dollars on top of the money Sherwin Williams gave to upgrade the vinyl siding to wood siding in order to have a longer life. 

But the moral of the story is this:

Sherwin Williams vinyl paint works (if ordered correctly). 

Sherwin Williams is the sort of company that puts its money where it’s mouth is and does the right thing quickly when it makes a mistake.

 Bravo to them.