Painting Vinyl Shutters

We hope you really enjoy the products we recommend! We do our best to be honest and transparent when it comes to our reviews. As a reminder, BestyBesty may collect a share of sales or compensation from the links on our site.

Are you looking to give your house a makeover that’ll help brighten its facade? If so, then one sure-shot way of boosting your home’s appeal is by painting your shutters. 

That may sound super-simple, but trust us, painting shutters can give your home a new lease on life without having to spend thousands in remodeling.

Not to mention, you can easily manage the whole project without having to rely on outside help. All you have to do is go through our detailed guide, gather the supplies, and get to work!

Generally, shutters are of plastic, wood, or vinyl variety. Each type has its pros and cons; for instance, vinyl shutters feature an aluminum core that makes them extremely durable. 

However, you’ll need to be sure about the type to ensure you follow the right prepping procedure when it comes to painting shutters. Sounds confusing? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. 

Simply scroll on down to discover how you’ll need to tackle each type of shutter before painting. 

Plastic Shutters

We know what you’re thinking – can you even paint plastic shutters? The answer is a resounding, yes! The only aspect you have to be careful about concerning plastic shutters is buying plastic-safe paints. 

Another common question we’re often asked about painting shutters is that can you paint them without taking them out? Well, here’s where things get a bit tricky. Removing each shutter before changing its color may seem like a hassle, but it can end up saving time and effort in the long run. 

Firstly, if you plan on painting the shutter without removing it, you’ll have to ensure that the paint doesn’t touch the walls or drips down from the shutters to create a mess. That’ll require taping around the shutter, etc. 

Additionally, it’ll require you to paint while on a ladder. If you’ve never done something like that before, then it’s not a good idea to start now for safety reasons.  If your shutters are in a hard to reach spot, then that’ll pose another problem when you’re trying to paint. 

That’s why it’s best if you just stick to removing the shutters from their location before donning your Michaelangelo avatar. 

Prepping Plastic Shutters

A big part of prepping your plastic shutters is making sure they’re cleaned and primed. 

If your shutters are painted, use a regular (plastic-friendly) household cleaner to eliminate the accumulated dust and grime. On the other hand, if your plastic screens are not painted, you can employ a solvent, like a thinner, to wipe away any residue. 

The next step requires you to get your hands on some high-quality acrylic latex paint or paint that’s specifically meant for plastic surfaces. 

If you end up buying the latex paint, you’ll have to cover your plastic shutters with a layer of primer first to ensure the color sticks to the shutters without much fuss. But, once again, be careful about the kind of primer you buy. For this project, you’ll need a primer that’s plastic-friendly and nothing of the sort used for appliances or cars. 

Before you get too anxious, though, you should know that any well-stocked home improvement store will have all this stuff, and you won’t have to run around too much. 

Another pro-tip for reducing time and effort spent prepping (or painting) your shutters is investing in spray cans because they’re easier to use. As long as the stuff you buy is meant for exterior use – you’ll do just fine. 

Painting Plastic Shutters

Alrighty, once you’re done preparing your plastic shutters to receive a brand-new, vibrant coat of paint – you’re ready to start painting! 

  1. Once you’ve cleaned and primed your plastic shutters – proceed to paint your shutter in thin layers. But, be sure to wait and allow each coat to dry before adding a fresh one. 
  2. If you plan on using spray paint to re-color your shutters, you also have the option of purchasing something like Rust-Oleum’s Painter’s Touch (Paint and Primer) Spray. Doing so will help you cut down on time because you won’t have to add a primer coat. 
  3. Also, if you’re utilizing spray cans, ensure you paint in a sweeping back-and-forth motion so that you can avoid painting in thick layers. 
  4. Allow the paint to cure properly. Be it painting via brush or spray can; you need to give your shutters ample time to cry out properly so that the paint hardens the way it’s supposed to. 
  5.  The last and final step of painting requires you to cover the shutters in a layer of clear acrylic sealer that’ll protect your newly painted shutters from the elements. 

Wood Shutters

Next up on the list, we have wood shutters. It’s true that this type of shutter typically costs more than their plastic and vinyl counterparts, but don’t let that put you off. 

For instance, did you know wood shutters are naturally insulative and can reduce heat loss by almost 50 percent in winters? That’s pretty amazing, right? And, it’s also more than enough reason to hang on to your wooden shutters as long as they’re not cracked or broken. 

A simple paint job can go a long way with wooden covers and screens. Plus, wood shutters are also pretty easy to repaint if you know what you’re doing – and we all know that won’t be a problem for you. 

Prepping Wood Shutters

Even artists need to prep their canvas with gesso before they commence with painting. If you want your paint job to rival that of a professional – there’s no overlooking the paint prep. A well-prepped shutter will give you the perfect amount of sheen and vibrancy once the paint job is over. And, here’s how to do it. 

Commence by unscrewing your shutters and taking them down. Painting wood shutters without detaching them isn’t a good idea for the same reasons we discussed in the previous section. 

Next, buy a top-quality chemical stripper to get rid of the old layers of paint. You can opt for a product like SmartStrip – which has benzyl alcohol as an active ingredient.

Chemical strippers without methylene chloride are less toxic and noxious, but they’re still pretty powerful. Once you’ve applied the chemical stripper on the shutter, carefully follow the instructions relating to dwell time and removal.

Next, when you’ve rinsed off the chemical stripper (you should buy one with the option) and the wood is dry, proceed to sand the shutter with medium-strength sandpaper gently.

The final step of the prepping process for wooden shutters involves brushing or spraying your shutter with a suitable primer layer and allowing it to dry.

After you’ve followed all the steps, your shutter should look bleached of all color – grey or white. That’s how you’ll know you’re ready to start painting your shutter.

Painting Wooden Shutters

If you’re unsure about what paint is best for your wooden shutters, then you’ll be happy to know you can choose between oil-based or water-based paints. 

Oil-based paints for exterior use are pretty durable and stick to wooden surfaces better. Not to mention, this type of paint isn’t affected by wood stains either. One drawback of oil-based paint is that it’ll take longer to dry, and you’ll have to buy an oil-based primer for the prep. 

Conversely, water-based paints are just more comfortable to work with and are quite long-lasting too. Furthermore, they’re also resistant to peeling and cracking thanks to their latex formula, and they have a faster drying time. 

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s focus on how to get the actual painting done. Just a quick word of advice before you begin – don’t try and rush through things. Painting on a wet coat or moving the shutter before the paint has hardened can cause streaks, scratches, etc., and can potentially ruin all your hard work. 

  1. Before you start painting, don’t forget to keep an additional brush around to give your paint a whirl to reduce any chances of lumpy particles ending up on your beautiful coat of paint. 
  2. It’s best to use a paint tray for this type of job so that you can quickly unload the extra paint on your brush without causing a mess. 
  3. Use an adequately-sized flat brush, and paint with or according to the wood’s grain for a smoother finish. If your shutter features slats, it’s best to start painting the slats first before moving outward. With solid shutters, follow the same outward pattern by starting with the center panel. 
  4. Remember to paint in thin layers. The entire painting job may take two to three days, but you must hang on to your patience. Only paint on a new coat once the previous one is dry. 
  5. Once the paint job is complete and the paint is cured, use an acrylic sealer to paint a clear coat on the shutter. This will ensure your paint job lasts longer.
  6. When the seal coat is completely dry, you can put the shutter back up and stand back to enjoy your good work.

Vinyl Shutters

Vinyl shutters are super-easy to clean and maintain. What’s more, they’re more economical than wood shutters. 

If you’re wondering about how to paint vinyl shutters, the truth is, the process is pretty similar to painting plastic shutters. But, we’re all about thoroughness, so we’re going to walk you through it all step by step. 

Quite a few people prefer using spray paints for vinyl shutters, but be it regular paint or otherwise, we recommend detaching your shutters before you get to painting them. 

The process is just less painful that way, and there’s no chance of ruining your window frame or siding that way. 

Prepping Vinyl Shutters

Once you’ve removed your vinyl shutter from its moorings, the first step of preparing it for paint involves cleaning it to remove all traces of dirt or stains. 

You can use a regular degreaser or opt for household bleach. If you run into some particularly stubborn stains, you can also utilize thinner to get them out. 

However, be sure to wet a rag with bleach or thinner, and avoid applying the chemicals directly to the surface. 

Additionally, if you want to change your shutter’s color from its original hue, you’re going to have to apply a latex-based primer to get it ready for the paint. Remember to buy a lighter shade primer to ensure the color you use will appear brighter and more enhanced. 

If you plan on refreshing the shutter’s actual color, then you can skip the primer if you want. 


Painting Vinyl Shutters

The first step of painting involves picking out the best paint for vinyl shutters. Generally, latex-based colors work best with vinyl surfaces because these adhere to the surface better. 

Oil paints tend to peel or crack easily on vinyl shutters when the shutters expand or contract due to the weather. This will have a direct bearing on how long your paint lasts, and we’re sure you don’t want to keep on painting your shutters every so often. 

If you’re thinking about using spray paint to reduce the overall effort involved, go ahead. Remember to opt for brands like Rustoleum or Krylon that make paint -and-primer products because they stick to vinyl surfaces better than others. 

However, remember to wear a respirator while using spray paints to look after your health!

  1. If you’ve opted to paint your shutters using a brush and have followed all the recommended prepping steps, start by mixing the paint thoroughly with the help of a brush.
  2. Next, tip some paint into a paint tray and load a flat brush to commence painting. Remember to apply thin coats, and as always, wait for a coat to dry before adding another.
  3. If you’re using a paint-and-primer spray can to color your shutters, skip adding a coat of primer and proceed with spray painting the shutter directly. Use a steady backward and forward motion to apply a thin coat of paint. Add as many coats as required.
  4. Once you’ve achieved the density you require, allow the paint to cure.
  5. Add a final coat of Water-Based Polycrylic Protective Finish to seal the paint and extend its life. Once the protective finish has dried, put up the shutters, and you’re done! 


We can only hope we’ve put all your shutter-painting queries to rest. But, if you feel a bit out of your depth with the amount of effort and time required – you can always opt to hire professional painters. 

We understand you lead busy lives and don’t always have the time to indulge yourself with DIY projects. 

However, if you do end up painting your shutters all on your own (you daredevil!), don’t forget to tell us all about it in the comments section below. We always look forward to your input.