How to Paint Existing Vinyl Shutters

Colorful shutters are an important part of any exterior house design.

Spray cans are convenient if you're just painting two or three shutters.Spray cans are convenient if you're just painting two or three shutters.
If you're unhappy with the current color of your vinyl shutters, you can update the paint. It's important to properly prep the surface. Vinyl is nonporous and does not accept exterior paint easily. With prep work, however, you can achieve better paint adhesion and longer-lasting results.

Remove the shutters, using a screwdriver. Most shutter hinges are held in place with simple Phillips-head screws.

Place the detached shutters on a plastic sheet or canvas dropcloth.

Sand the surface with 220-grit sandpaper. Vinyl is slick and does not take new primer and paint easily, but sandpaper helps rough up the surface for easier adhesion.

Spray an alkyd-base exterior primer on the vinyl shutters. Priming is vital for vinyl surfaces. Even though paint will cover over an unprimed surface, vinyl pigment chalk bleeds through the paint if you don't use primer. Alkyd-base primers are available in spray cans. However, if you're painting several shutters, it is often more cost-effective to use a refillable airless sprayer rather than using disposable cans. Wait for the primer to dry.

Spray the vinyl shutters with an oil-base exterior paint. Spray cans are ideal for small jobs, but use an airless sprayer if you have several shutters to paint.

Apply a second coat if necessary after the first one dries. Wait for the second coat to dry.

Turn the shutters over and repeat Steps 2 through 6 if you want to paint both sides of the shutters. If your shutters are purely decorative and you never close them, nobody will ever see the backside and you can save time by leaving it unpainted.

Reattach the shutters after the final topcoat has dried.

Things You Will Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Plastic sheet
  • Canvas dropcloth
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Alkyd-base exterior primer
  • Airless paint sprayer
  • Oil-base exterior paint

About the Author

Richard Kalinowski began writing professionally in 2006. He also works as a website programmer and graphic designer for several clients. Kalinowski holds a Master of Fine Arts from Goddard College and a Bachelor of Science in education from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.