How To Paint Shutters (Guide For Vinyl, Wood & Plastic)

Say goodbye to dull and faded shutters, and say hello to restored, vibrant shutters by simply adding a lick of paint. Painting your shutters instead of replacing them will save you money, and it will keep your doors and windows looking up to date.  

This guide is to help readers learn how to paint shutters with ease so the process goes by without a hitch. 

There are different types of materials used for making shutters, and each material will require a specific type of paint. Not to mention, the techniques will be different when you begin painting them. The most common types of shutters on the market are as follows. 

  • Vinyl 
    Vinyl shutters are composed of vinyl PVC (polyvinyl chloride plastic). There are often vinyl shutters on the market with some aluminum inserts for added strength and stability, but most of the time, they are composed of hollow vinyl.  
  • Wood 
    Wood is significantly stronger than vinyl, yet they come at a higher price point. There’s also a little more work involved when painting and redecorating them. No matter the type of wood you have, your shutters will need to be re-finished and re-varnished from time to time to keep them looking good. 
  • Composite 
    If you’ve got shutters that are faux wood, then you’ve most likely picked up a pair of composite shutters. These have a mix of different grains with a layer of wax to give the strength of wood but at a quarter of the price. This faux wood is finished with PVC, which is the same material that vinyl shutters are made from.  
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Most Common Shutter Designs 

Paneled shutters 

Many homeowners opt to use solid panel shutters on windows and doors as they are a modern take on the most traditional style of shutter. Nowadays, they are commonly referred to as "Shaker Style Shutters." They are great for blocking out any unwanted light during the day. They can also add an extra layer of insulation to a room. Use a paint sprayer to apply an eye-popping color to your paneled shutters. 

Louvered shutters 

Louvered shutters are used on the exterior of the windows. These shutters are constructed with horizontal overlapping slats of wood or vinyl set into a solid frame. Many homeowners use these shutters to admit light and air into a room, yet they stop rain and direct sunlight from seeping through the window. You can paint or lightly stain louvered shutters for a beautiful, natural finish, or for a more modern approach, spray a deep green or vibrant red onto your louvered shutters. 

Café-style shutters 

The name, Café-style shutters, originates from France as they are commonly used in coffee shops there. They cover the bottom half of an interior window to give homeowners more privacy without blocking all of the direct sunlight from a room. With horizontal slats, you can still have the essence of the outdoors while keeping a cozy feel to a dining area or kitchen. Typically, they are painted in a cream or white color with a beautiful, glossy finish.   

Board & Batten shutters 

These shutters are typically arched or square-shaped at the top, and they feature shorter crosspieces or battens horizontally on a board. You can find them on the exterior of many doors or windows on many homes. Traditionally, they closed with a piece of wood barricading the shutters. Nowadays, they are often closed with a vertical metal bar that hooks onto the second board. You can paint or spray these shutters in a variety of colors, but black or dark brown are the two colors that are the most popular. 


How To Paint Shutters: Tips & Techniques for Various Types 

1. Vinyl Shutters 

Supplies you’ll need: 

  • Airless paint sprayer 
  • Power drill 
  • Power washer or garden hose 
  • Step ladder or extension ladder 
  • 5-gallon bucket 
  • Exterior paint 
How to Paint Vinyl Shutters: 
  1. 1
    Use your step or extension ladder to get to each shutter. You’ll need to remove them with the power drill as painting them connected to the window will be dangerous and, quite frankly, messy. 
  2. 2
    Clean the vinyl shutters with a power washer or garden hose and remove any peeling paint. Do not use any harsh chemicals during the cleaning process or you risk damaging the vinyl.
  3. 3
    If there is still some paint that’s peeling, then we recommend using a bonding primer before you add any paint. Add one coat of primer and allow it to dry completely before you begin spray painting.
  4. 4
    The last step is to set up your airless paint sprayer and begin adding your new paint to the shutters. Apply two coats in different directions, the first coat horizontally and then vertically. Allow them to dry completely before you drill them back into place.

2. Plastic Shutters

Supplies you’ll need: 

  • Power drill
  • Step ladder or extension ladder 
  • Bucket and mild degreaser 
  • Primer (suitable for plastic) 
  • Plastic safe paint (tin or aerosol cans) 
How to Paint Plastic Shutters: 
  1. 1
     Remove each shutter with the help of a ladder and power drill. Then, clean the plastic with a mild degreaser. Any plastic-safe household cleaner can be used to remove dirt or mildew from the plastic.
  2. 2
    Apply the plastic primer to the surface before applying any paint. This will help even out the surface of the plastic and give the paint something to stick to. 
  3. 3
    If you’ve purchased a tin or plastic safe paint, then add several thin coats of color and be sure to allow each layer to fully dry before adding another layer. For spray painting plastic, spray in a horizontal layer first, allow it to dry, and then add a second layer in a vertical direction.
  4. 4
    Once the paint is fully cured, we recommend adding a sealer on top of the paint to protect your shutters against water and sun damage. 

3. Wood Shutters 

Supplies you’ll need: 

  • Power drill 
  • Step ladder or extension ladder 
  • Chemical stripper and paint scraper 
  • Sandpaper  
  • Primer suitable for wood 
  • Wood safe paint or stain 
  • Acrylic clear coat (optional) 
  • Brushes 
How to Paint Wooden Shutters: 
  1. 1
    Remove the wooden shutters with the ladder and drill. Then lay the shutters flat and remove any old layers of paint by applying the chemical stripper over the whole surface. With the paint scraper, remove the bulk of the old paint.
  2. 2
    Begin to sand down the shutters with medium sandpaper until you are left with bare wood. This process may seem tedious, but it is necessary to get the best result. Now you are ready to apply your layer of exterior wood primer. Allow it to dry completely.
  3. 3
    Thoroughly stir the wood safe paint until you get an even consistency. Dip the wide flat brush into the paint and work from the center of the panel towards the corners. This will prevent any build-up of paint along the edges.
  4. 4
    Once you’ve applied two thin layers and they are fully dry, you can add an extra layer of protection by applying an acrylic clear coat varnish on top of the paint. This will stop the color from fading against strong sun rays.

4. Aluminum or Metal Shutters 

Supplies you’ll need: 

  • Power drill 
  • Step ladder or extension ladder 
  • Deglossing liquid and a rag 
  • Sandpaper  
  • Primer 
  • Metal safe paint 
  • LVLP paint sprayer 
  • Metal silicone sealant 
How to Paint Metal & Aluminium Shutters: 
  1. 1
    Remove the metal or aluminum shutters from the house with the ladder and drill. Then clean the shutter with lukewarm water. Towel-dry and apply a deglossing liquid to the shutters with an old rag. This will help the new paint to stick more easily. 
  2. 2
    Once you’ve applied the deglossing liquid to the entire surface, use 220-grit sandpaper to cut through the surface even further. Remove any dust after the sanding process with water and a towel.
  3. 3
    Place the shutter flat on a surface and get your LVLP paint sprayer ready. We recommend this type of paint sprayer as it has a super soft, finely atomized spray. They are great for metal and aluminum safe paint types. Apply 3 layers of very light coats so you don’t get any build-up in spots.
  4. 4
    Once the paint is dried and cured, we recommend finishing the process by adding a layer of metal silicone sealant to your shutters before you drill them back into place. You can purchase this sealant in a handy aerosol can for your convenience.

Why Should You Paint Your Shutters? 

By painting and maintaining your old, faded shutters, you’ll improve the look of your home, and in return, the value of your home could increase if it’s on the market. As you can see from this review, there are a few easy steps to follow to paint any material that your shutters are made from. 

Whether you want to add a subtle accent to your windows or you want to incorporate a bold highlight to the front of your home, you can do this job yourself without the need of a professional. Below is a list of some popular colors that homeowners tend to go for when they’re painting their shutters. 


Popular Paint Colors for Shutters 

Black

Painting the exterior shutters of your home in black paint will give you a traditional and timeless look. Black shutters look elegant while also adding a touch of elegance. 

interior

Navy Blue

Pair natural stone or tan-colored homes with a navy blue shutter. This color gives a bit more personality to your home while remaining modern and graceful.  

Gray

There’s nothing as clean and cultivating than a white window paired with a glossy gray window shutter. It’s subtle and suits many current home designs without being too exaggerated.  

White

Give the appearance of larger windows by painting your shutters a clean, crisp white color. It also tones down the look of more bold-colored homes in green, or blue, or red.

Dark Brown

Many homeowners choose brown and dark brown paint when they own earth-toned homes. It pairs well with stones, bricks, and stucco. The natural colors leave you with a refined and polished outcome.

Green

Interior and exterior shutters look peaceful and soothing, especially when paired with creams and white tones. Deep greens are very popular for a small hint of color, or you can brighten a room with a chartreuse tone.

house

Blue

If you want to step away from darker shade or navy blue, then why not try a sky blue or cerulean blue on your shutters instead. These shades are quite charming and serene when paired with white or yellow. 

Red

If you’re hoping for a vibrant and bold color for your shutters, then red is the way to go. Pair a deep red with light brown and earthy tones, or pair bright red with white, gray, blue, or brick.  

Earth-Tone Shutters

Many stains on the market will leave your shutters clean and earthy while keeping the natural wood effect. It’s a great way to subtly change the color of your shutters.


People Also Ask (FAQs)

How much does it cost to have shutters painted by a contractor? 

The cost will be different based on the type of material the shutters are made from. If they’re wood, expect to pay between 70-100 dollars per shutter. For vinyl, they’re typically $50-80, and for a composite, it's $35-75 per shutter.  


Is it better to paint or replace vinyl shutters? 

If there aren’t any major cracks or extensive damage on your vinyl shutters, then it's better for your wallet to simply sand and repaint vinyl shutters.  


Which exterior paint for shutters is best for mold and mildew-prone areas? 

Rust-Oleum has created the Perma-White Mold and Mildew Proof exterior paint for exteriors. You can also find many products by KILZ that will work wonders in areas with mold and mildew.  


What is the best paint finish for exterior shutters? 

We recommend buying paint with a soft or high gloss finish for your exterior shutters. They look great, and many of them will have protection against UV rays. 


Conclusion

As you can see, there are just a few steps to take when painting your shutters inside or outside your home. You can be bold or go subtle with the color of your shutters. Just make sure you follow our guide and match the final color with your personal taste. 

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