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Welcome to Biddle Bits! My name is Sarah & I believe that *anyone* can create amazing things, if you just work on them one step at a time.
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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

How to paint vinyl shutters

We've been in our house for over a year now, and we've compiled a list of things that we notice need a little updating. 
Near the top of that list (for me, anyways): painting our shutters.

Our current shutters are vinyl/plastic and are in *perfect* condition...in fact, I can't tell how old they are b/c they look brand new (but I know they're not). But, the longer I looked at them, the more the color was blah to me - depending on the light, they're brownish/reddish, with a tinge of wine-purple. blah-blah.

I went on Sherwin Williams' website, for their "color visualizer". There, you can upload a picture of your house (or use their photo examples) and play around with different colors for siding, trim, and shutters... = FUN for moi! I didn't have anything too whacky in mind...just classic black shutters, so I chose their blackest black color, called "Tricorn Black": It looked like a million bucks on the Sherwin Williams website, and it really got me excited about the idea of painting our shutters.

I showed the updated online picture to the Hubs, and his reaction wasn't quite as dramatic as mine. (Can you imagine??!) He shrugged his shoulders and said something along the lines of "yeah - looks good" - little did he know that I already had one foot out the door to go buy the paint at Sherwin Williams' 40% off sale!  

At the S. W. store, I asked the (very helpful) manager what paint would work best for vinyl shutters, and did I need to use any primer? His reply: no primer is needed (unless you're going from a very light to a very dark color -  a tinted primer would be beneficial in that case), and he recommended their "SuperPaint" Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint. I chose their Satin finish...not too glossy, but not too flat. They do offer a Flat finish, but the manager said it has a slight chalk-like finish, which isn't the look we were going for.

Stuff you need:
  • Exterior paint (I bought one-gallon, and have a ton leftover)
  • 2" Paintbrush
  • Ladder 
  • Screwdriver (depending on how your shutters are attached to your house)
  • Bucket of soapy water (water/dish detergent)
  • Water hose

Step #1: Remove the shutters from your house. (We only have shutters on the first story of our house...For safety's sake, you may want to hire someone to take down shutters on 2nd story windows). I used a cordless screwdriver - the screws on our shutters were located on the very top and bottom of each shutter (2 on top, 2 on the bottom), then one more in the very middle of the shutter.

**Be sure to keep track of which shutter goes where!** 
Stick a piece of masking tape to the back of each shutter, and write down if the shutter goes on window 1, 2, or 3, etc...and on the left or right of that window. This little step will make re-hanging the shutters easy-peasy!

The house is looking a little naked...
Step #2: Clean the cobwebs and general outdoor dirt from each shutter. I used a sponge and soapy water  to clean out all the cracks and crevices. Then, rinse off with a water hose.

 Step #3: Let them dry overnight.

Step #4: Time to paint! I used my paintbrush to paint into the interior recessed "rectangles" in the shutters first, then painted the edges and flat surfaces of the shutter. Be sure to only put down a thin layer of paint, so it won't "glop up" and it will dry evenly. Once you've painted over a surface, leave it alone - if you go over it repeatedly, you run the risk of pulling up half-dried paint under your brush! When the first shutter is done, move onto your next one, and let them each dry in a covered area for a minimum of 5 hours. (I let them dry overnight, just to be sure). 

Step #5: Paint the 2nd coat, again painting the recessed areas first, then the edges and flat surfaces. Let dry at least 5 hours.

Step #6: Hang your shutters back up and give yourself a pat on the back for your handiwork!

Next on our my list: Replace our front door with something that's a little less "Welcome to Granny's Parlor", but still lets light into our very dark front hallway. I'd love a front door with some color, so I predict I'll be using the online color visualizer again in the near future :)

Just as I was about to pour myself a glass of wine to celebrate another "to-do" ticked off our list, Mike called me outside to call attention to another set of shutters on the side of our garage. DOH!

...it's a good thing that none of our neighbors can see them! Guess I've got some more painting to do this weekend :) 

What have you painted lately?


  1. That’s very nice, Sarah. ;] Even if those shutters don’t look like their age, they still deserve an update or two. It’s for the whole house actually. The simple act of painting them gives the house a kind of makeover. If the house is a face, the windows would be the eyes. Trust me. Doing something to your windows can make a tremendous difference to the house.

    Roxie ^.^

  2. Thanks, Roxie! I totally agree :) Now, what to do about our front door...
    That's hopefully next on our list!

  3. Your new window shutters look amazing! Considering that it was a DIY, makes it more awesome as it is very pretty. I love how it stood out from your wall painting. Overall, it gives your house a more sophisticated look. Good job!

    Ronald Miller

  4. Ronald, thank you! We are loving the black shutters and are very pleased they've stood up to the weather so nicely! I agree that it gives our home a more sophisticated look, and I appreciate that others think so too. Thanks for checking out my blog!

    1. I am about to do the same on my house....how has the SW paint held up over the past year? any cracking, peeling, etc?

    2. Hi Danner,
      The SW paint has held up beautifully...it looks great and no cracking/peeling, etc. We even had our house powerwashed earlier this year, and the shutters still look great! Good luck with your project!

  5. I really appreciate for sharing this post expecting more information from your blog.
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  6. Nice job on your shutters and thanks for the tips!
    Btw, did you paint old screw tops black and reuse or buy new ones already painted black?

  7. Nice job on your shutters and thanks for the tips!
    Btw, did you paint old screw tops black and reuse or buy new ones already painted black?

    1. Hi Steve,
      The shutters actually have a small cap that's attached to the shutter, and covers the screw tops...to prevent rusting (that's my best guess). Those were painted black as well, so it looks seamless!

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  9. Just curious how these held up. Did you have any problems with chipping, peeling or pant bleeding onion siding. I am looking to paint my shutters which were painted by the previous owners. They are currently the reddish/ burgundy color yours were. My house is white and I’m thinking black will look best with my red door.

  10. Hi Steven, they have held up beautifully!! No cracking/peeling...they look just the same as the day I painted them!