Azek – Frequently Asked Questions


Surface preparation is easy, but crucial.  PVC must be cleaned thoroughly prior to coating; this is the most critical step to achieve many years of performance.

The only ways to make D100 fail on pvc are inadequate surface cleaning and/or not following the environmental guidelines for successful application.

D100 creates a molecular bond with PVC, not with the surface contaminants left over from its manufacturing process. It is crucial to remove those contaminants from the surface to be painted, to achieve this type of bond and avoid any potential for failure.

Removing the surface contaminants (silicone or other oils and lubricants) allows for a direct application of the paint to the pvc, which results in a molecular bond after curing.

If you are using PaintPro material, then you do not need a special cleaning process/solution. Simply make sure the surface is free of dust and/or dirt and apply the paint.


Yes!  As stated above, the surface contaminants which need to be removed come from the material’s manufacturing process, not from exposure to the elements.  Brand new pvc needs to be cleaned thoroughly.

If you are using PaintPro material, then you do not need a special cleaning process/solution. Simply make sure the surface is free of dust and/or dirt and apply the paint.


Our VK Degreaser, an abrasive pad (such as a Scotch Brite pad) and a lint-free rag. Wearing clean gloves is also recommended to avoid transferring oil from your hands onto the cleaned surface.

The degreaser will break down the surface contaminants to allow for easy removal from the surface. The abrasive pad is used to add friction to the process, making the cleaning much quicker and more efficient.

The idea is not to sand down or scuff the surface, but simply to introduce friction into the cleaning process. Just like when cleaning any greasy surface, a combination of detergent and friction is ideal.

A lint-free rag is ideal to remove the degreaser from the surface, along with the surface contaminants. Alternatively, the surface can be rinsed with clean water and dried before painting. Failure to properly remove the degreaser after cleaning is equivalent to simply displacing the contaminants rather than removing them.

If you are using PaintPro material, then you do not need a special cleaning process/solution. Simply make sure the surface is free of dust and/or dirt and apply the paint.


Apply the VK Degreaser to the abrasive pad and start scrubbing the surface until a light foam develops. Applying a bit more pressure specifically along the edges or into grooves on the surface at this stage will ensure the coating “wraps” well around the edges and bonds molecularly to the pvc.

You then need to remove the degreaser from the surface by wiping or rinsing and dry it completely. Use a lint-free rag for this stage of the process.

You cannot simply pressure wash your boards with water instead of cleaning using our VK Degreaser. However, you may use a pressure washer to apply the VK Degreaser. In this case the pressure will serve as the friction needed to help decontaminate the board before painting.

Make sure to rinse the cleaned areas using only water once the washing is complete.

As always, we recommend you test for proper surface preparation before painting. (See below and/or instructions for ways to test for adequate cleaning).

Any areas that will be painted need to be cleaned according to the instructions. Areas that will not be painted or won’t be visible after installation do not need to be cleaned.


If you want to try and “smooth out” or “seal” the more porous texture of the edges/ends of the boards, you may perform a sanding with +/- 320 grit sandpaper and wipe with acetone. In this case, you should clean the boards after doing this.

Please note, however, that this will not yield a result that is exactly as smooth as the face of the boards. There will still be a difference in texture between those surfaces, but it will be more subtle and usually not noticeable unless viewing them from a very short distance.

As soon as possible.

This is to avoid having the cleaned surfaces be re-contaminated by the surrounding environment or by handling them. If cleaned boards are kept in a clean, controlled environment, they can still be painted multiple hours after cleaning. However, this is rarely the case and the best way to ensure that the clean surface does not get dirty again is to paint it right after the cleaning process is completed.

Consequently, for field applications, it is best to work by section: clean & paint one section before moving on to the next, rather than trying to clean an entire job before painting it all.

There are 2 ways to make sure the cleaning was adequate before application.

The simplest is by performing the water test detailed in our instructions. However, this will not work on vertically installed surfaces. In those cases, you would need a dyne pen/dyne ink. This is used to measure surface tension. If the surfaces to be painted have a dyne level of 54 or higher, this indicates that the cleaning was successful and that the pvc is ready for paint.

Technically yes, other cleaning products may be used to achieve the same results, but we do not recommend using anything other than our VK Degreaser. It is formulated specifically to be the easiest and most efficient cleaning solution to use on pvc.

No other cleaner has proven in testing to be as consistent and reliable, so using any other product will void Aqua-DIY’s 15-year warranty.

If you still decide to use anything else for surface preparation, make sure to test the surface to ensure the pvc is ready to be painted.

The painted surface should be lightly sanded. Afterwards, make sure to remove any dust or debris created. You can rinse, pressure wash or wipe with a damp cloth and let the surface dry before painting. If the pvc itself gets exposed by the sanding or pressure washing process, it should be cleaned with VK Degreaser before painting.

Any good quality brush can work. Avoid the cheapest available brushes as they tend to lose bristles which can be frustrating if you must try and remove them from a freshly painted surface.

We also recommend against using 100% nylon or foam brushes, simply because they make it slightly harder to achieve the best possible finish. (Nylon bristles tend to “separate” the paint rather than spread it evenly, and foam brushes can introduce excessive air in the coating which can lead to a bumpy finish).

Otherwise, any good quality paint brush will work fine. Natural bristles tend to work best for most users, but synthetic bristles (polyester or polyester-nylon blend) are most commonly usedas they tend to be more affordable and will easily yield a very nice finish also.

You can use a roller, but it is not recommended.

Rollers tend to introduce too much air in the coating, creating bubbles on the surface and making it harder to achieve a smooth finish. The paint will usually start to dry before the air has a chance to escape from it, which can lead to finish issues. In extreme cases it can also lead to performance issues if large pockets of air remain trapped under dry paint.

If you still want to try rolling the paint, do not use foam rollers and make sure to test on an inconspicuous area or piece of extra material to ensure you are satisfied with the finish before proceeding.

Any spray equipment can be used with our coatings. However, the settings or tip sizes you use with other types of paint may need to be changed.

The most popular way to spray our coatings is by using an HVLP spray system, using a tip size between 1.8mm – 2.0mm and adjusting the air pressure between 30-45psi.

Other types of spray equipment systems can be used as well, like airless or air-assisted sprayers. Follow your equipment manufacturer’s recommendations for water-based paints when selecting a nozzle/tip size or air cap. As opposed to HVLP, these systems do not use a standardized identification system so the part code will vary depending on the manufacturer, gun model, etc.


GrainEx can be applied with a variety of different tools:

  • Sea sponge
  • Paint brush
  • Cheese cloth
  • Clean, lint-free rag
  • Rubber graining tools
  • Etc. (In general, any uneven surface will work since the objective is to create lines and a woodgrain pattern on the surface, rather than achieving complete coverage).

Stain Top Coat

We recommend spraying the top coat as the best way to achieve consistent results. You can use any spraying equipment and apply our Stain Top Coat in the same way you would apply D100 for solid colors (see above for more details).

If you choose to brush the top coat, you should expect to have more color variation in on your finished surface. This is because the top coat is semi-transparent and will look lighter/darker depending on how thick it is applied. Brushing a coating naturally leads to film thickness variations (brush marks).

When applying Aqua-DIY D100 coatings, the objective is always to achieve a total wet film thickness of 4 mils (0.004 inches) over the entire surface. This might be less than what you are used to with other paints. For example, most acrylic latex paints require a wet film thickness between 5.5 – 8 mils or more.It’s important to mix the coating before application as some pigments may settle over time. To do so, it is recommended to stir (ideally with a power drill mixer for 2-3 minutes) rather than shake the coating to avoid introducing excessive air in the coating. It’s also recommended to filter the coating before application, especially if you’re re-using a previously opened container, to avoid having any debris or dry paint particles end up on your surface or in your spray equipment.

Brushing or spraying. Rolling is possible but not recommended as it tends to introduce too much air in the coating, creating bubbles on the surface and making it harder to achieve a smooth finish.

What you need is a total wet film thickness of 4 mils. This can be done in 1 to 3 coats.

Please consider the following:

  • Multiple thin coats usually lead to a smoother finish. A light sanding can also be performed in-between coats if you are trying to get the smoothest possible finish out of a brush application.
  • Performing a single coat is possible, but not recommended. Although it saves labor, it will usually leave heavy brush marks on the surface. If working on a vertically installed surface, it will also make it hard to avoid creating runs and/or sagging.
  • Applying 2 coats tends to be the ideal middle ground. You can achieve a smooth finish without spending too much time on application, and it will eliminate the potential for runs and/or sagging.

Important Information: Brushing

Our coatings dry fast* and bond molecularly to pvc. This has the following implications:

*(Keep in mind that drying time always depends on temperature, humidity, and air flow).
  • Your first coat will usually be dry to the touch in roughly 10-20 minutes. Once it is, you can apply a successive coat.
  • You do not want to wait more than a couple of hours in-between coats, and certainly do not wait overnight. This could lead to delamination between coats in the future. The first coat will bond molecularly to the pvc, but if it cures before the second coat is applied, then the second coat may not be able to access the pvc to create the same type of bond. It may end up simply adhering mechanically to the first coat and could separate from it in the future.
  • If, because of unforeseen circumstances, you do need to finish an application multiple hours after the first coat, or even the day after, give the surface a light sanding and wipe clean before re-applying paint. This will help promote a stronger bond between the coats of paint and the pvc itself.
  • You should plan & perform your application by section. For example, by the time you are done applying your first coat to the trim on one side of a house, you should be ready to go back to where you started and complete your second coat without any down time.
  • This will help eliminate the potential for waiting too long in-between coats and will make your time spent on the project more efficient.

Please consult our Troubleshooting Guide to find a specific explanation and solution to your finish issue.

What you need is a total wet film thickness of 4 mils. This can be done in 1-3 passes. The concept of “coats” does not really apply when spraying our coatings because it implies waiting for paint to dry before applying more. Spraying should be done in a continuous application until the target film thickness is achieved.

Please consider the following:

-When painting over sharp edges or corners, it is best to start with a fume coat (also called fog coat, mist coat, etc.: a very fast first pass using a low volume of paint). This essentially creates small anchor points for the finishing pass(es) to stick to, making it easier to maintain the recommended 4 mils of wet film thickness even around corners and edges.

-You should let the fume coat flash-off for about 30 seconds – 1 minute. This typically implies that by the time you have finished applying the fume coat, you can go back to your starting point and start applying your finishing pass(es).

-You can perform 1-3 finishing passes to build up the recommended 4 mils of total wet film thickness and complete the application. A single finishing pass is often used on horizontal surfaces, but if the product you are painting is vertically installed/hanging, it is best to perform 2-3 passes to make sure you don’t create runs or sagging.

Important Information: Spraying

-If your spray equipment has been used to apply high-solvent or oil-based coatings, it is important to clean the equipment using solvents before rinsing thoroughly with water. The presence of oils or solvents in the equipment would contaminate the paint and could lead to finish and performance issues.

-Always test your spray pattern on a piece of cardboard or scrap material before painting your surface. Paint dots on the edge of the spray pattern should be no larger than the tip of a fine pen.

-If your spray pattern is inconsistent, it might be necessary to clean the nozzle or air holes of your spray gun.

Please consult our Troubleshooting Guide to find a specific explanation and solution to your finish issue.

TruStain designates the system we offer for creating convincing wood looks. It involves a 2-step application process:

1. GrainEx: Goes on first and serves to create a woodgrain pattern on your surface or fill in an existing pattern already on your material.
2. Stain Top Coat: Is applied over the GrainEx to create contrast and a convincing wood look.

Matching wood looks can be difficult. The final appearance of any product coated with GrainEx& Stain Top Coat is heavily dependent on the application methods and tools used, as well as the thickness of coating applied to the surface.

Always perform a test application first, especially if trying to replicate an existing wood look. Keep in mind that, even with the right GrainEx & Stain Top Coat colors, it may be challenging or impossible to perfectly replicate your target product’s grain pattern, texture, gloss level and subtle color variations.

No you do not.

You can mix & match any colors you want. For example, Black GrainEx and Cherry Top Coat is a popular combination. (Black GrainEx is in fact often used with all of the different top coatcolors as a way to create maximum contrast).


If you want to create a more complex grain pattern and more color variations in your final look, you can use multiple colors of GrainEx underneath the top coat. Simply let the first GrainEx dry, which will happen within a few minutes at most, before applying another color GrainEx on top and completing the application with the Stain Top Coat.

Coverage capacity will vary based on application technique and equipment used, as well as your chosen color. The values below are estimates.

Brushing (D100 & Stain Top Coat): For brush applications, you can expect to cover up to 300 sq. ft. per gallon.

Spraying (D100 & Stain Top Coat): Depending on how much overspray you create, you’ll generally cover around 250 sq. ft. per gallon.

GrainEx: Since the purpose of GrainEx is not to cover an area but simply to create lines on the surface to serve as a woodgrain pattern (or fill in an existing pattern on the surface), a little bit goes a long way. You can expect to finish roughly 1,000 sq. ft. per quart.

In the large majority of cases, no. Most popular colors are formulated to create opacity once our target wet film thickness of 4 mils is achieved, so total coverage capacity will be the same.

Notable exceptions are very bright and light colors. (Lime green, bright red, fiesta orange, light yellow, for example). Colors in that range usually provide roughly 30% less coverage than popular more popular options, which is what our estimates are based on.

Generally speaking, the rule of thumb is that you will require 1 gallon of VK Degreaser for every 8 gallons of paint. This means most users successfully clean roughly 2,400 sq. ft. of material with 1 gallon of degreaser.

VK Degreaser is also available in a 1L format, which will clean roughly 600 sq. ft. of pvc.

If you’re using VK Degreaser through a pressure washer, you can expect to require more because of the overspray/waste generated by this process. (Roughly 1,500 sq. ft. per gallon of VK Degreaser).

2 options are available for purchase: brushable & sprayable.The brushable version is made thicker so it’s easier to use in a manual brush application. It is roughly twice as thick as the sprayable version.

The sprayable version is made thinner to make it easier to use through spray systems.

No, this refers only to the thickness at which the paint is produced. The coatings and pigments used remain exactly the same, only the viscosity is adjusted to make it easier to use depending on your chosen application method.

When in doubt, order the brushable viscosity.

It is very easy to make the paint thinner: you can always mix in up to 5%, or approximately 6oz for a gallon of paint, of clean water (distilled or bottled) to the paint to reduce its thickness. Hot temperatures will also make the paint thinner.

By contrast, you cannot easily make the coating thicker once it is delivered to you. You could always refrigerate the paint as lower temperatures will make the paint thicker. (Do not freeze, however. Being water based, our coatings do have the potential to freeze).

You will find in our online store a large standard color palette composed of some of our most popular colors.  If you have ordered a specialty color in the past, you may re-order the same color again.

You can order one by contacting our office directly:

Please note, however, that the color ring essentially includes the options from the standard color palette. We do not produce complete color charts of all our available colors.

You can choose a color from our large standard color palette.  If you have ordered a specialty color in the past, you may re-order the same color again.


You can re-order a previously matched color or choose from our large standard color palette.


Every color we match is saved in our database and gets assigned a code (DD#). When ordering, simply provide the color name and DD#. This is available when ordering quarts as well as gallons.

Example: SW6528 Tricorn Black DD#10360

Only if it’s a re-order and you can provide a DD# assigned by Aqua-DIY to your requested color.

No.  Only the select stain colors are available.


If you are experiencing finish issues, please consult our Troubleshooting Guide.

Only 2 reasons can cause our coatings to fail on pvc:

1-Failure to properly clean the surface before application.

Your product must be cleaned according to our instructions. You must also make sure to completely remove the VK Degreaser (along with the surface contaminants it broke down) from the surface before painting.

2-Failure to comply with the environmental guidelines.

Only apply when temperature at the time of application and for the next 24 hours will remain above 50°F. Painted surface must also be protected from precipitation for the first 24 hours.

Lightly sand the problem areas, and the areas immediately around them, making sure any failure cannot be expanded.

Clean the areas to be re-painted according to our surface preparation instructions.

Re-apply paint, following our application instructions and environmental guidelines.

Aqua-DIY coatings must be stored inside and out of direct sunlight. Storage temperature should remain between 41°F and 95°F.

All containers must be closed when not in use to prevent formation of skins or dry particles.

Aqua-DIY coatings have a shelf life of 12 months if stored correctly. Do not allow Aqua-DIY D-100 to Freeze.

The shelf life gives an indication of a best before date rather than a firm expiration date. If your container was closed correctly and stored properly, the coating may still be suitable for use. Stir thoroughly and test on an inconspicuous area or extra piece of material first.

Aqua-DIY coatings are all water based and ultra-low VOC. They should be disposed of according to local regulations.

The fastest and most effective way to order Aqua-DIY products is through our online store. If you are experiencing issues placing an order, please review the information below.

-Products required



-Viscosity (Brushable or Sprayable)

-Finish (Satin Finish 30% gloss – Euro Texture Finish 10% gloss & fine texture)

-Billing Information

-Shipping Information


No payment is actually processed on our site or online store. You do not have to enter any credit card information on our site or store to complete your order.

Transactions are processed through PayPal, which does offer a secure payment platform. Whether using a credit card or a PayPal account, your account or card information is only entered once you access PayPal at checkout.

You can pay with a Visa or MasterCard, but you still need to “proceed to PayPal” to do so.

Even when using a credit card for payment, the payment is processed by PayPal. Once you click on the “proceed to PayPal” button, you will have the option of using a PayPal account or entering your credit card details.

If you need to add something or make a modification to a completed order, or if you need to cancel an order, please advise us as soon as possible.

Orders are often produced and shipped out within hours or less of being completed online, so do not delay in contacting us if there is any issue with an order you made.

In such a case, contacting our office is the best choice to have your issue addressed as quickly as possible:   You can  email Sherwin Williams Support for assistance.

Placing your order online is always the fastest and most effective way to purchase our products. If you’re experiencing issues, please review the information above.

If the problem persists, you can submit an order request by email to Sherwin Williams Support. Orders sent in by email will take a bit longer to get processed and payment will have to be made by credit card (Visa or MasterCard) over the phone.

Here is a pdf document explaining the Azek Warranty.

All Aqua-DIY paints & stains are mixed and/or color matched after an order is received. Due to the custom nature of these products, please select your items and colors carefully. We are unable to offer refunds, accept returns or exchange items.


If your order arrives damaged, or there was an error in your order (such as missing or incorrect items), please contact our office within 3-5 business days of receiving your order. We will address your order issue immediately to ensure that you are fully satisfied.

If you still have technical questions or require additional product information you can email Sherwin Williams Support.

If you have questions regarding your order, payment or shipment please email Sherwin Williams Support.

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