Painting Vinyl Shutters: A Simple DIY Refresh

Updated May 5th, 2024
person spraying and painting blue vinyl shutters

You should consider painting your vinyl shutters when they start to show signs of fading, discoloration, or when you’re ready for a change in your home’s appearance. Painting is a cost-effective way to refresh the look of your home without the expense of buying new shutters. It’s also beneficial for maintaining the shutters in good condition, as the new layer of paint can provide some protection against the elements, reducing weather-related wear and tear. Choose to paint when the shutters are still in good structural shape but need a visual uplift or when updating your home’s color scheme.

Get Your Vinyl Shutters Ready

When you’re getting ready to paint your vinyl shutters, the first thing you need to do is clean them really well. If you can, take them off your windows so you can get into all the little spots where dirt hides. If you’re painting them while they’re still up, make sure they’re held open so you don’t end up painting them shut. A simple mix of soap and water should do the trick for cleaning, or you might want to grab a vinyl-specific cleaner for any stubborn spots. A soft brush can help scrub the textured areas without scratching them. If there’s any mold or green stuff, a bit of bleach in water can knock that out. Just make sure everything’s totally dry before you start painting.

Use a Primer

Using a primer is generally a good idea when painting vinyl shutters. Primer serves a crucial role in enhancing paint adhesion to the vinyl surface, which can often be slick and not hold paint well on its own. It also provides a uniform base that can help bring out the true color of the topcoat. Additionally, primer can help prevent any underlying stains or colors from bleeding through, especially if you are making a significant color change or if the original shutters have faded or discolored over time. Applying a layer of primer can lead to a more durable and visually appealing finish.

Pick the Right Paint

The right paint is super important for your shutters. You’ll want something like the best spray paint for vinyl shutters or another paint meant for plastic because it’s made to handle the way vinyl expands and shrinks with the weather. This helps keep the paint from cracking later on. When choosing your color, remember that dark colors like black can make the shutters hot and possibly warp them, so check if your shutters can handle it. If you’re thinking about going bright or light, like painting vinyl shutters white, that’s usually a safe bet because it reflects more sunlight.

Paint the Shutters

Now for the fun part—painting! If you’re changing colors drastically or the old color has faded a lot, slap on a primer first to make sure your new color looks great. When it comes to applying the paint, you can use a spray gun for the smoothest look, which is great if you’re spray painting shutters. But if you don’t have a spray gun, no worries—you can get a really good finish with a brush too. Just remember to paint with light, even coats, letting each one dry before putting on the next. This keeps drips or streaks from messing up your nice new color. If you need to get spray paint off your skin, use cooking oil or an oil-based lotion before washing with soap.

Put Them Back and Keeping Them Nice

Once the paint’s completely dry, which might take a day, you can put the shutters back up. Be careful so you don’t chip the fresh paint. Once they’re up, they don’t need much—just a gentle wash with soap and water now and then to keep them looking sharp. Avoid harsh cleaners or anything abrasive that could scratch up your new paint job.

Painting vs Replacing

Painting your vinyl shutters is typically much more cost-effective than replacing them. The costs involved in painting include purchasing paint, primer, and necessary tools like brushes or a sprayer, along with some cleaning supplies to prepare the shutters. Even with these costs, they tend to be significantly lower than the price of new shutters. Additionally, if you choose to do the painting yourself, you save on labor costs, making it an even more budget-friendly option. On the other hand, replacing shutters involves the higher cost of the new shutters and potentially greater labor costs for installation, especially if you hire a professional. Therefore, if your shutters are in decent condition and simply need a refresh or a new color, painting is definitely the more economical choice.

The lifespan of paint on vinyl shutters can vary widely based on several factors, but generally, you can expect it to last anywhere from 5 to 10 years. The longevity of the paint job depends on the quality of the paint used, whether a primer was applied, the painting technique, and the climate and exposure the shutters face.

High-quality paint formulated specifically for vinyl will typically offer better durability and resistance to fading and cracking. Using a primer can also extend the life of the paint by improving adhesion and providing a protective layer. Additionally, shutters that face intense sunlight, fluctuating temperatures, and harsh weather conditions might experience faster degradation of the paint. Regular maintenance, such as cleaning and touch-ups, can help preserve the paint and extend its life. To maximize longevity, it’s crucial to follow the correct preparation and painting procedures.

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