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Painting Azek Trim - Yes or No?


Should I paint the Azek trim on my house?  It's a common question today.  In the past exterior trim was made of wood (typically pine) that was subject to rot, insects, and maintenance painting every few years.  Contractors have been specifying to homeowners and property owners PVC trim more and more with Azek as the leading choice.  Azek is a very good product that is impervious to moisture and insects but it is more expensive.  To keep the additional cost of the trim material in the project budget, some contractors are "selling" homeowners on the idea you don't have to paint azek.  Homeowners appreciate saving the expense on paint, but are often suprised a couple of years later when there home looks like it needs to be painted.

Azek does not "require" painting but it is highly recommended for the following reasons:

  1. Azek doesn't have a finish and that leaves the material subject to dirt, smudges, hand prints, mold, and mildew.
  2. Many contractors install trim only and don't fill the nail holes or clean the trim when finished.  You must use filler, caulk, and glue specified by Azek.
  3. Properly prepared and painted trim with even brush stokes gives the appearance of finely painted wood.
  4. A properly painted finish will last for years protecting the substrate from mold, mildew, and the uv rays from the sun.


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Painting Specification From Azek:

• AZEK Trim does not require paint for protection, but accepts and holds paint very well.

• If you choose to paint use a 100% acrylic latex paint with colors having a Light Reflective Value (LRV) of 55 or higher.

• For darker colors (LRV of 54 or lower), paints specifically designed for use on vinyl/pvc products such as, but not limited to, Sherwin-Williams VinylSafe™ coatings. These paints/coatings are designed to reduce excessive heat gain.

• Follow the paint manufacturer’s recommendations for use and compatibility with AZEK Trim and Mouldings.

• AZEK surfaces must be clean, dry, and void of any foreign material such as dirt, oil, grease or other contaminates that may come from normal handling, storage and/or installation prior to painting.

• Moisture cycling is a main reason for paint failure on wood. Since AZEK material absorbs no moisture, paints last longer on AZEK products than it does on wood.

• Since AZEK products have almost no moisture absorption, paints may take longer to cure on AZEK material than on wood. Generally paints on AZEK products will be dry to the touch quickly, but may take up to 30 days to fully cure depending on the humidity and temperature.

 The Paint Quality Institute offers a similar specification

In most cases Azek will require a properly painted finish in a couple of years for cosmetic reasons

painting azek


For more information contact Harbor Painting.

    Above is a photo of Azek installed in 2008 and has not been painted.  There are rusty nail holes, dirt blemishes, and settling.


There are many options to avoid the use of paint with AZEK, Cortex from FastenMaster utilizes screws and a plug system to conceal the fastener head, great finished look. Color match fastener is anohter option. I've been exposed to several jobs of AZEK (7 years old) that were not painted and look great! For most homeowner's who do decide to paint AZEK Trimboards they can expect decades of life from that paint (especially white)
Posted @ Monday, August 02, 2010 9:23 AM by David
David, thank you for your comment. We agree, Azek is a great product when installed properly. Unfortunatly that is not always the case. We have developed a relationship with a local lumber yard who has referred us to clients who were confused about painting Azek. What we are seeing is guys are hanging Azek like other trim boards using galvinized nails and not filling the holes or using the wrong filler creating smudging. In these cases, painting is a nessessary option.
Posted @ Monday, August 02, 2010 10:54 AM by Mark Clayton
i have decided to paint , what type of sand paper is needed on this azeck trim , also what type of caulk is beeter . i know what type of paint i want, just need this info asap. dennis
Posted @ Sunday, September 04, 2011 8:08 AM by dennis spafford
What Sherwin Williams Vinyl Safe paint should I use on molding to match AZek Tahoe decking?
Posted @ Friday, October 28, 2011 12:11 PM by joe flannery
I want to paint azek window box for flowers BLACK? Can I? Recommedations please ...
Posted @ Sunday, March 11, 2012 8:18 AM by VIctor Rossi
You can paint the boxes Black. I would use BM Aura or SW Duration. Check the exposure to the sun, if you are in direct sunlight all day, you may have some blistering. Just do a little touch up now and again.
Posted @ Sunday, March 11, 2012 10:51 AM by Mark Clayton
Beware painting with dark colors! Even Sherwin-Williams VinylSafe is limited to certain colors (according to Azek). Even then, my Azek trim boards are shrinking (1/2 inch!), breaking away from the glued joints, and cracking my fiber-cement siding! I may have a bad batch, but Azek won't confirm it, and, of course, won't cover the damages. 
I would be interested in hearing of anyone else that has had similar problems within the past 3 years or so.
Posted @ Thursday, May 17, 2012 7:31 PM by Gary Christian
Should you prime azak
Posted @ Tuesday, June 17, 2014 7:42 AM by Anthony
No need to us a primer. AZEK is a non porous product therefore you don't need to prime the surface. The paint chemically bonds to the AZEK surface. Make sure the surface is clean - denature alcohol works best
Posted @ Tuesday, June 17, 2014 8:50 AM by David
Thanks for writing this article, it gives me the information I need.
Posted @ Tuesday, June 30, 2015 2:13 AM by Folding Carton Manufacturers
I think you should prime the ends of Azek boards. Although Azek has no "grain" the ends tend to trap moisture and can get moldy (turn green).
Posted @ Monday, August 31, 2015 10:56 AM by Jamshed Mulla
I totally agree that Azek should be painted, the manufacturer likes to claim that it is not required however I beg to differ. Of course there are alternatives to painting it but I have never ever seen a contractor install it and then use the recommended filler for the nail holes. Of course if these holes are not filled and the trim is not caulked it will not look nearly as good as if it were prepped and painted as if it were wood. Of course the main claim to fame for Azek is that it will not rot, which is true. However it will become discolored and attract mold and look dirty much quicker4 than if painted. That being said it is a great product and looks fantastic when properly painted. By the way I am available to show you the difference!
Posted @ Wednesday, September 23, 2015 1:34 PM by MacDonald Painting
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