Steps to Painting Vinyl & Wood Shutters

Vinyl shutters are paintable and often require painting every 5 – 10 years, depending on the color. Painting shutters is a quick and easy way to boost your home’s outdoor presence. If you need guidance on how to paint your vinyl or wood shutters, you are in the right place because you are getting advice from professional exterior painters in Raleigh, NC!

The Goal When Painting Vinyl Shutters

Have you ever wondered how professional painters paint shutters so easily? When we brush or spray shutters, there are no paint runs, and the shutters are uniform in color and texture.

Even pre-colored vinyl shutters will fade over time, just like exterior paint fades. You may even have plastic shutters that need recoating, the good news vinyl shutters are paintable but using a vinyl-safe exterior acrylic latex paint is best when painting them.

Materials & Tips

Painting your shutters is one of several items on your exterior painting checklist if you plan to put your home up for sale. In order for your freshly painted shutters to look good, you need to choose the right paint.

Choose high-quality exterior acrylic latex paint if you have vinyl or wood shutters. Darker colors may cause your shutters to absorb more heat and eventually warp.

When working outside, remember to stay out of direct sunlight. Avoid taking on this project on scorching, hot, very humid days. However, moderate humidity is fine.

Steps to Cleaning Shutters

The first step in painting exterior shutters is cleaning them. If you have wood shutters, use a scraper to remove old paint layers.


Then, use fine-grit sandpaper to smooth out any bumps or lumps on the shutter. This step is vital in order for your new paint to stick well and look glossy.

For vinyl shutters, use a broom to wipe away cobwebs. Then, use a damp rag to wipe away dust and dirt. If you see any patches of mold or mildew, you need to tackle them before you paint.

Mix one part bleach with four parts water. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and soak the moldy area. Rinse clean with a hose. Next, scrub the shutters with soapy water and a soft-bristle brush. This will remove hardened dirt and chalking.

Let the shutters air dry before beginning to paint them.

Do I need a Primer?

It’s a good idea to spot-prime your shutters first. This allows the paint to stick to any unpainted areas and can also offer better coverage if tinted in a similar color.

If the paint on your vinyl is not peeling but just faded, priming is unnecessary. For blistering wood shutters, you can power wash or scrape the shutters until there are no blistering or peeling areas left.

If primers are needed, we recommend using an exterior-specific bonding primer. This will help the top coat bond properly.

Painting Shutters Without Removing Them

There are two ways to paint shutters. You can remove them and paint them. Or you can paint them without taking them down.

Most home advice places will tell you that you have to remove the shutters, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to. You will just have to approach the task differently.

In fact, some shutters can’t be removed. In this case, or if you just want to save yourself some time, you can paint them with a brush.

Make sure you use a pail to have the paint with you. Dipping a brush into a gallon can is easier than dipping it into a tray.

Steps to Painting Shutters While Hung

First, tape off the surrounding areas to avoid getting paint on other parts of your exterior. Then, use an angled sash brush to paint in between the slats. Start with a light application of paint and let it dry.


You’ll likely need at least two coats of paint for each shutter. Working in light layers prevents the paint from forming globs in the corners of the shutters.

During the second application, do your touch-ups. Look for any small areas you’ve missed.

If you accidentally get paint on the trim or siding, promptly wipe it away with a damp cloth. If you find paint spots after the paint has dried, rubbing alcohol or a lot of water and a rag will do the trick.

Steps to Painting Shutters After Removal

Many people claim that removing the shutters is easier and less time-consuming than painting them in place. If you prefer, you can choose this method. Especially if you have shutters that are very high up on your house. You don’t want to be on a high ladder for too long if you are not a professional house painter.

Step 1. Rent an Airless Sprayer

An airless sprayer makes this job a breeze. In fact, the time it takes to paint exterior shutters will be less than the time it takes to take them down.

You can usually rent an airless sprayer for the day. You can expect to pay between $70-$135. Or you can purchase one to keep on hand for future paint projects.

Step 2. Covering & Setup

Place a drop cloth on the grass to protect your lawn. Then, spray the shutters horizontally. Rest the shutters in a high and safe area for drying between coats. You don’t want to allow the wind to blow dust or dirt on wet paint.

Spraying vinyl shutters will take less than 10 minutes each. Just add a little dry time in between coats. Two coats will give you the best vibrant color.

Tip: The best thing about an airless sprayer is that the finished product looks smooth, rich, and uniform. When sprayed correctly, there are no brush marks or globs of paint to be concerned about.

Final Thoughts on Painting Shutters

You’ll be amazed at how big a transformation painting shutters can make on your home. We hope this guide has given you the tips you need to give your shutters a facelift.

If you decide against painting the shutters yourself, contact us and get a free, no-pressure quote. We serve the entire Triangle Area.

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