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,



  1. 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?


  2. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. 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??

    • 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

    • 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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?

  9. 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.

  10. 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?

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. I just purchased the plastic shutters for my home. Bought the Valspar Duramax paint with primer already in it. So, I didn’t prime my shutters first. Paint went on well and they looked great for a week. Got our first rain today and all the paint is pealing and bubbling off. So now I suppose I will pull all the paint off, prime and repaint. Thinking I may go with an oil based paint this time. Frustrated but oh well.

  15. I worked in the painting industry for almost 15 years. vinyl shutters are not meant to be painted with long-term results.
    Vinyl expands and contracts with the temperature so over time (within 5 years) the coating will fail. If you have to paint them to try to get a few years out of them use Zinnser 123 latex primer then top coat with a good exterior paint.

  16. I repainted 4 sets of plastic shutters and a wooden wishing well with Olympic One paint + primer in 1. It was fine until I tried it on a pair of NEW plastic shutters.In 2 days they blistered looking real bad. I washed them beforehand and used 2 coats allowing 4 hours after the first coat and 12 after the second before reinstalling. What happened? Looks like I will be scraping paint off the new ones.

  17. I painted my dark brown vinyl shutters a light sand with the krylon fusion paint 7 years ago with excellent results. Didn’t use a primer. Now I’m ready to repainted them an aqua color. Very happy with the results. No problem with sun, heat, or rain.

    • Hi Mo,
      Thanks for your feedback on using Krylon Fusion to paint outside shutters. Glad to hear it held up!

  18. My vinyl midnight blue shutters have been on my house since 2000, I would like to repaint them black. Since I’m going from dark to dark should I still worry about warping? Also living in the northeast with sub zero temps and winter being the longest season what would be an effective way to ensure the paint stays on the shutters, priming and paint or should I use a spray paint?

  19. Hello everyone.
    My husband and I just purchased our home last August. It is a old home and we have to remodel everything. We did not get a improvement loan, only enough to buy the house…so the cost of everything is coming out of our pocket. I have plastic shutters that we found at an auction, and after searching all over the internet, I along with many others recommend using Krylon Fusion paint. I use the website DIY for all of my information on home improvements. Lots of great advice, and we have saved a lot of money. Good luck to everyone with your projects.

  20. I painted our vinyl shutters over 10 years ago with Sherwin-Williams oil base exterior paint. They have held up well thru harsh Wisconsin winters and blistering summer heat. They are beginning to peel a bit and have faded so I am going to repaint the same color with Sherwin-Williams exterior latex. I’m not planning on priming because 95% of the oil base paint has good adhesion. I’ll keep you posted on how they hold up….wish me luck!

    • How are the shutters doing? We have vinyl shutters, painted 35 years ago with latex paint and they still looked good but in having the trim painted, the painter painted the shutters with SW oil paint. I am worried that it won’t last and was glad to see your post. There are nine sets so I hate to buy new shutters.

  21. I finally bought enough used ‘plastic’ shutters on line to replace some nice but failing wood shutters that just won’t hold paint well in the Cape Cod environment. The shutters are I guess rigid vinyl and I pressure washed them all, with about half I had to blast off (came off relatively easily) a single coat of paint. I have plenty of oil based paint in the color I want and I will spray the shutters but any ideas as to primer?

    I hate to buy a bunch of spray cans of plastic primer and the only way I see to get some I can spray on my own is to buy 2 quarts. More than I can imagine ever using. And its kind of pricey ($20-30 qt)

    I have used Glidden Gripper primer on fiber glass doors with good success.

    I am looking for any new ideas because I want to do this job only once.

  22. hi,
    I want to paint our external upvc doors, but one of the inner panels has a black rubber seal around it. Do I paint this, mask it, or try to take it off before painting the doors?
    Ray Marshall

  23. I have exterior vinyl doors we painted them last year before seeing this article on Krylon Fusion. Anyway they came out streaked and looking orange peel. What can I use to remove that paint and start over the correct way?

  24. I am going to paint my faded shutters which are now a lighter green of dark they used to be, they are prolly 15 years old. Would I be able to paint them a maroon dark burgundy? I will follow steps on cleaning them properly. Do u think I need to put a,primer on them ? And what kind of paint is best for doing this job.

  25. My 10 year old double wide 64×32 ft. has vinyl siding. The vinyl green shutters have faded and I want to re-paint them dark green. What paint do you recommend?
    I also want to paint both white vinyl covered metal doors. What steps do I take? An can I pain the door the same color/same paint as the shutters?

    The doors leading under the house are metal. Can I paint them too?

    Thanks for your time in answering.
    Thanks for the help.

    Debra Spence

  26. Wind blew down 1- 20 year old plastic shutter. Painted brand new shutters to match what the color on older shutters had. – had painted all the old shutters 3 years ago no problem Used the same brand and new paint for the new shutter – paint is melting right off after a few weeks from the sun???
    What is wrong

  27. We have hunter green vinyl shutters of unknown quality and 12 yrs old.. The ones directly exposed to the sun had this faded chalky whitish oxidative look. It did not come off on my fingers though it sure looked like it would. I was on the net for hours and finally locked on to sanding with 220 ….prime and top coat with Rust-Oleum spray. Then I had this idea. Since I retired from having my own cleaning biz and I had 2 gallons of an Armour All type product why not try it. Golly gee it worked. The test area looked brand new after 24 hours or enough to say it definitely enhanced curb appeal. Don’t know how long it’s going to last but I am goin’ with it .Hope this helps . The way I have it figured once you initiate the paint gig then you are in for the long haul..I would rather paint something more exciting and less tedious for my home.

    • Hi, Ann! is the website for “Today’s Homeowner,” a Daytime Emmy nominated, nationally syndicated TV series that reaches 1.7 million live viewers each week.
      Host Danny Lipford is among the most sought-after home improvement experts nationwide, with regular appearances on The Weather Channel, “Fox and Friends” and numerous other media outlets.
      He generously answers fans’ home improvement questions when possible.
      Of course, answering all the questions we receive, between taping a weekly TV show, appearing on national and local media outlets throughout the year and serving as the president of Today’s Homeowner Media, as you can imagine, would be challenging! 🙂
      Our website is a resource for home improvement as opposed to a blog. We encourage the Today’s Homeowner community to answer other fans’ questions when possible.
      Thanks for your question. Take care!

  28. A contractor replaced one of my damaged vinyl shutters with a new one after he had painted it. He painted it with Glidden Premium Exterior Paint–100% Acrylic (2 coats). He didn’t prime it, nor did I see any other surface preparation. Anyway, 3 weeks later, I saw paint peeling off, and now it looks like leopard spots. He said he was going to fix it and asked if I still had the extra paint he had given me. I told him I needed to know what happened as I doubt he’ll get different results doing the same thing. Should I get some sort of primer? And how long should he wait between coats? Thank you.

    • Hi, Mary,
      Danny says, “I would suggest the shutters be lightly sanded, a bonding primer applied over the entire surface. Then the Glidden paint should hold up well.
      Thanks for your question!”

  29. Purchased a ten year old low country home, windows are flanked by GREEN plastic louvered shutters. I want to paint them a grey blue color. The Krylon spray paint does not have very many color choices. Can the cans of pant be tinted? need to meet the ARB requirements in my community too. Just to clarify ( there are 25 of them) prime and then spray paint or brush paint them? Thanks for the help…have lots and lots of repairs and renovations to do.

    • Hi, Robert,
      We always defer to the manufacturer because they know their product better than anybody.
      If the product says not to paint them, it’s probably best to go ahead and take that advice.
      You should contact the manufacturer for more information and alternative options.
      Take care!


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