Can You Paint Vinyl Shutters and How to Do It Like a Pro

Bob Thomas


Vinyl shutters are a popular choice for homeowners due to their durability and low maintenance requirements.

However, over time, the color can fade, or you may simply want to change the look of your home.

Many people wonder, "Can you paint vinyl shutters?"  The answer is yes! 

In this article, I'll walk you through the steps to paint vinyl shutters like a pro, providing detailed instructions and sharing my personal experiences as a qualified painter and decorator.

Quick Summary

To paint vinyl shutters, follow these steps: 1) Clean the shutters, 2) Choose the right paint and primer, 3) Apply the primer, 4) Paint the shutters, and 5) Reinstall the shutters. With proper preparation and technique, you can give your vinyl shutters a fresh, new look that lasts for years.

Clean the Shutters

Before you start painting, it's essential to thoroughly clean the shutters to remove any dirt, dust, or debris.

Use a soft brush and soapy water to scrub the shutters gently.

Rinse them with a garden hose and allow them to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Pro Tip: For stubborn dirt or stains, consider using a mixture of water and white vinegar to help break down the grime.

Sanding Vinyl Shutters: An Optional Step

While sanding is not always required when painting vinyl shutters, it can be beneficial in certain cases.

This section will discuss when sanding might be a good idea and how to do it properly.

  1. When to Sand: If your vinyl shutters have a glossy finish or any imperfections, such as scratches or uneven surfaces, lightly sanding them can help create a better surface for the paint to adhere to. On the other hand, if your shutters are in good condition and have a matte finish, you may be able to skip the sanding step.
  2. Benefits of Sanding: Lightly sanding vinyl shutters can improve paint adhesion, leading to a more professional-looking result and a longer-lasting paint job. It can also help remove any surface contaminants that might interfere with the paint.
  3. Proper Sanding Technique: If you decide to sand your vinyl shutters, use a fine-grit sandpaper (such as 220-grit) to avoid damaging the surface. Gently sand the shutters in a circular motion, focusing on any glossy or uneven areas. Be sure not to apply too much pressure, as this can damage the vinyl.
  4. Cleaning After Sanding: Once you have finished sanding the shutters, it's essential to clean them thoroughly to remove any dust or debris generated during the sanding process. Use a soft brush or vacuum to remove the dust, followed by wiping the shutters down with a damp cloth.

Remember, whether or not you choose to sand your vinyl shutters is up to you and the specific condition of your shutters.

Regardless of your decision, always ensure that the shutters are thoroughly cleaned before painting to ensure the best possible results.

Choose the Right Paint and Primer

When painting vinyl shutters, it's crucial to choose the right type of paint and primer.

Look for a high-quality acrylic latex paint specifically designed for use on vinyl surfaces.

This type of paint provides excellent adhesion and flexibility, ensuring a long-lasting finish.

For the primer, choose a bonding primer that is compatible with vinyl surfaces.

This will help the paint adhere better and provide a smooth, even finish.

Apply the Primer

Lay the shutters on a flat, protected surface.

Using a 2-inch angled brush, apply a thin, even coat of primer to the shutters.

Be sure to cover all areas, including the edges and any grooves or decorative features.

Allow the primer to dry for the recommended time on the product label, usually 2-4 hours.

Paint the Shutters

Once the primer is dry, you can begin painting the shutters.

Stir the paint well, and using the same 2-inch angled brush, apply a thin, even coat of paint to the shutters.

Start at the top of the shutter and work your way down, making sure to paint in the direction of the slats or louvers.

Allow the first coat to dry for the recommended time, then apply a second coat for added durability and coverage.

Reinstall the Shutters

After the paint has dried completely (typically 24 hours), carefully reinstall the shutters on your home, making sure to fasten them securely.

Additional Tips

  • Avoid painting in direct sunlight or on a hot day, as this can cause the paint to dry too quickly, leading to an uneven finish.
  • If possible, remove the shutters from your home for easier painting and better results.
  • Use painter's tape to protect any hardware or areas you don't want to paint.

Personal Experience

Last summer, I decided to give my vinyl shutters a makeover.

I followed the steps above and was thrilled with the results.

The new color added a fresh, updated look to my home, and the shutters still look great today.

Using a high-quality acrylic latex paint made all the difference, as it provided excellent coverage and a durable finish.

Frequently Asked Questions Section (FAQs)

Q. Can I paint vinyl shutters a darker color than the original?

  A: Yes, you can paint vinyl shutters a darker color than the original, but be cautious as darker colors tend to absorb more heat and may cause the shutters to warp over time.

It is recommended to choose a color with a similar or lighter shade to avoid any issues.

Q. How do I maintain the appearance of my painted vinyl shutters?

  A: To maintain the appearance of your painted vinyl shutters, clean them regularly with a soft brush or cloth and a gentle soap solution to remove dirt and debris.

Rinse thoroughly with water and let them dry. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials to prevent damage to the paint.

Q. Can I use spray paint on my vinyl shutters?

  A: Yes, you can use spray paint on your vinyl shutters, provided it is specifically formulated for use on vinyl surfaces.

Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper application and drying times.

Q. How long will the paint last on my vinyl shutters?

  A: The longevity of paint on your vinyl shutters depends on several factors, including the quality of the paint, the thoroughness of the preparation, and exposure to the elements.

If you follow the proper steps and use high-quality paint, you can expect the paint to last for several years.

Q. Is it necessary to remove the shutters from my home before painting them?

  A: While it's not strictly necessary to remove the shutters from your home, doing so will make the preparation and painting process much easier and more thorough.

Removing the shutters allows for better cleaning, sanding, and painting coverage, ensuring a more professional-looking result.

Q. How many coats of paint should I apply to my vinyl shutters?

  A: It's generally recommended to apply at least two coats of paint to your vinyl shutters for adequate coverage and durability.

Be sure to allow the first coat to dry completely before applying the second coat.

Check the manufacturer's instructions for specific drying times and recommended number of coats.


Painting vinyl shutters is a straightforward and cost-effective way to refresh the appearance of your home.

By following the steps outlined in this article and using the right products, you can achieve professional-looking results that will last for years.

Remember to take your time with the preparation and painting process, as this will ensure the best possible outcome.

So, go ahead and give your vinyl shutters a fresh, new look and add some curb appeal to your home.

Suggested Products:

  1. Krylon Fusion All-In-One Spray Paint: This versatile spray paint is specifically designed to bond with plastic surfaces, making it an excellent choice for painting vinyl shutters. Its easy-to-use spray nozzle and quick-drying formula ensure a smooth, professional finish.
  2. Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch 2X Ultra Cover: This paint is another great option for vinyl shutters, as it provides excellent coverage, durability, and long-lasting color. The double-cover technology allows for faster completion of your project, and the any-angle spray ensures easy application.
  3. Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer: A high-quality primer is essential for preparing vinyl shutters for painting. This water-based primer provides excellent adhesion and coverage, ensuring that your paint job will be smooth and long-lasting.
  4. 3M Fine-Grit Sandpaper: If you decide to sand your vinyl shutters, using a high-quality fine-grit sandpaper, like 3M's 220-grit option, will help create a smooth surface without damaging the vinyl.
  5. Wooster Brush Softip Paintbrush: For those who prefer brushing on paint rather than using spray paint, this high-quality paintbrush is an excellent choice. Its soft tips ensure a smooth, even application without leaving brush marks.

About the author 

Bob Thomas

A fully certified interior decorator and house painter , Bob Thomas brings immense expertise and knowledge amassed from many years of hands-on experience with residential, commercial and specialty painting and decorating projects of all sizes and scopes.

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