Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

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How to Paint Plastic or Vinyl Exterior Shutters


Shutters on window

Can outdoor plastic window shutters be painted, and if so what kind of paint should be used? -Laurie

Hi Laurie,
Yes, you can repaint plastic or vinyl shutters. If they are new, check with the manufacturer to see if they need any special cleaning and follow their painting instructions.

If the shutters have been around a while, you’ll need to clean them before painting. If mildew or mold is present, kill it using a mixture of one part bleach to four parts water in a pump up garden sprayer or spray bottle, then rinse thoroughly with a hose. Be sure to protect your skin, eyes, and any plants when working with bleach. Next, scrub the shutters with detergent and water to remove any dirt or chalking. Rinse off the soap with a hose, and allow the shutters to dry before painting.

When painting plastic or vinyl, use a high quality, exterior, acrylic latex paint or a paint made specifically for plastic. While not required, priming the shutters with a latex primer before painting with acrylic latex paint can increase adhesion and allow better coverage by the top coat. Krylon Fusion paint is made to adhere to plastic, so plastic or vinyl surfaces shouldn’t be primed before painting.

Avoid painting the shutters a darker color than they were originally, since this can allow the surface to absorb more heat than it was designed for and may cause them to warp.

Good luck with your project,


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18 Comments on “How to Paint Plastic or Vinyl Exterior Shutters”

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  1. ron guliana Says:
    February 11th, 2009 at 11:25 am

    where do i buy exterior acrylic latex paint containing urethane?

  2. Karen Baskins Says:
    September 28th, 2009 at 7:08 am

    We just purchased new shutters for our house. After painting them 3 times, The paint is not staying on very well. What’s wrong, and what do we need to do?


  3. Karen Conlon Says:
    November 9th, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    I was going to paint my vinyl shutters with the same latex paint i painted my front door with. After reading a few articles, I am not sure I can do that. Also, I am not sure if what I have are shutterlocks. If I end up breaking them, where can I purchase new ones?

  4. Tom Says:
    August 13th, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    I was at my True Value paint store yesterday and I asked the guy in the paint dept about painting my vinyl shutters. He said it was not a good idea to paint vinyl a darker color as the shutters will warp. Yet, I see here on the internet, article after article saying it is OK to paint them. So, since mine are pretty old, and since it would only cost a few dollars to replace them, I am going to go ahead and paint and see how it works out. I’ll post a follow up soon. Wish me luck.

  5. gladys e owens Says:
    June 16th, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Hi I have so many vinyl shutters that it would be costly to replace them with new ones, so I would like to know if WHITE paint would cover well over faded light red. Also will the paint last a long time or do u have to keep repainting every year or so??

  6. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    June 30th, 2011 at 9:26 am

    Hi Gladys,
    Since the red in your vinyl shutters might bleed through, after cleaning I would prime them with an exterior, stain blocking, latex primer before topcoating with exterior latex paint. Good luck with your project!

  7. Aaron Says:
    March 23rd, 2012 at 9:23 am

    Vinyl shutters can be a bit tricky. We recommend polyurethane exterior shutters to all of our clients. If you’re familiar with faux wood beams it is the same material. They are pest/weather resistant and will not warp or twist. They’re the best value for exterior shutters, we don’t even mess with vinyl anymore.

  8. Misty Says:
    April 13th, 2012 at 9:44 am

    My shutters are white not sure what’s underneath I want to paint them colonial red would it cover good and not chip

  9. Karyn Says:
    April 24th, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    I painted my entire exterior vinyl siding and shutters. I painted the siding with Behr Exterior satin with the primer already in the paint, light blue to a rich taupe, and the shutters with Krylon paint for plastic, from white to black. It’s been almost 3 years and they both still look great. No warping on the shutters or chipping on the siding. I’m thrilled with the result on both. I’m hoping they both last a very long time, as I absolutely love the new colors!

  10. Joe Says:
    June 10th, 2012 at 9:21 am

    The poster should have told you to use primer prior to painting. Another example of what’s wrong with the Internet.

  11. Official Comment:

    Ben Erickson Says:
    June 10th, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Hi Joe,
    While it’s a good idea (though not required), to apply a latex primer before painting vinyl shutters with acrylic latex paint, the other option we mentioned, Krylon Fusion, should not be primed first. I’ve updated the article to indicate that. Thanks for the feedback.

  12. Jason Says:
    June 25th, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    I just painted my 14 plastic shutters last week, before I saw this article. I used Behr Exterior paint+primer and used a handheld sprayer to apply 3-4 coats. They came out nicely. The question now is: should I take them back down and seal them with some sort of polyurethane for added protection/easy cleaning? We’re in the middle of a heatwave/drought here in Denver, so we’ve had no rain since I finished them last week/put them back up. Our monsoon season is coming in a few weeks, though.

  13. adrienne Says:
    September 14th, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    I painted my shutters with the Fusion paint you mention. I let them sit in my basement for 2 weeks to dry completely.
    I was going to hang them last night but when I picked them up my hands were cover in black. Not wet paint or flakes, but more of black chalk. I sprayed them down with hose to get all the powder off. But it still is coming off.

    I painted brand new gray shutters black. I don’t want to hang them up and the paint run onto my house (my house is beige). What can I do?

  14. heidi Says:
    March 31st, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    i recently painted my vinyl shutters with baer exterior paint. they looked wonderful for approx 1 week. after that time they now look like they have stains on them. If i wipe them with a damp cloth they look good until they dry and then the stains appear again. Should I repaint them with a paint that has a primer already in it.

  15. Karen Wells Says:
    July 23rd, 2014 at 8:40 am

    House has forest green shutters, vinyl, that have been up for over 10 – 15 years. I want to either paint them black or buy new ones, black. How can I pain the green shutters black What paint would you recommend?

  16. Cam Beaupre Says:
    July 27th, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    I just took down my 35 year old previously dark brown shutters today. I was going to paint them but before I did I cleaned them with TSP and water and then I took a rag with acetone(buy from a paint store and dont use nail polish remover, also wear gloves)I rubbed them and it removed that chalky layer to bring them back to new. I work for PPG here in Canada and hung them back up with out painting them. If you are planning to paint only paint with a lighter colour than the shutters were originally, as they will warp in the sun. Use a good quality exterior paint and let them dry for at least 2-3 days before hanging them back up. Have fun and happy pianting.

  17. Moe Pelletier Says:
    October 1st, 2014 at 10:59 am

    I just purchased new plastic/vinyl shutters. According to a local home improvement store you can use a exterior paint made by Valspar w/primer already in the mix. As long as it’s a Duramax paint, you don’t need a primer. We’ll see, I’m painting mine this weekend.

  18. MARY ROBBINS Says:
    February 23rd, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    I want to hear how “Moe” (comment above) came out. Did the Valspar w/primer work well? I bought my new black shutters from Lowe’s and have not yet painted them. For sure, they will be a lighter color (probably a light seafoam green), and I’m worried that it either won’t cover well or won’t hold up well. I wish they weren’t BLACK!

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