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Paint Not Sticking To Vinyl Shutters – What To Do?

Painting your vinyl shutters gets frustrating when the paint refuses to stick. When it comes to painting vinyl, you need to do a couple of things to get the job done the right way. In this post, we have done the research for you on how to get paint to stick to vinyl shutters! 

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If you want to paint over vinyl shutters, you should do the following:

  1. Prepare and prime the vinyl shutters for painting
  2. Use vinyl-safe or 100% acrylic paint
  3. Properly cure the paint between thin coats

Each step is vital in making sure that the paint sticks. Make sure you use the correct paint and follow its curing instructions on a clean and primed vinyl shutter surface.

Still unsure about how to prep your vinyl shutters for painting? Don't worry; we will explain how to do this further down. For more information, keep on reading!

View of modern residential house dormer accented by green vinyl shutters, Paint Not Sticking To Vinyl Shutters - What To Do?

Why Won't Paint Stick To Vinyl Shutters

two pane vinyl window with shutters on a vinyl siding house siding Vinyl shutters are similar enough to wood shutters that you can paint on them. If your paint goes over patchy or starts flaking off when dry, then you may be skipping a couple of steps.

Brand new vinyl shutters might come with a thin layer of factory grease on the surface. This results in an uneven surface for your paint to go over. If you find your shutters difficult to paint, give them a good clean.

The other reason paint refuses to stick to your vinyl shutters is incorrect paint application. You are either using the wrong paint or not waiting for it to cure between layers.

When you do not let the paint cure or dry thoroughly between coats, the paint will bubble up and possibly chip or peel off. This is especially going to happen if you live somewhere with warm weather.

How Do You Prepare Vinyl Shutters For Painting

Your preparation will depend on the condition of your shutters. In general, make sure you give them a clean surface. As mentioned, wash your shutters first to eliminate grease and dirt.

One way to clean your shutters before painting is to scrub them down with soapy water. Make sure to clear out all the gunk and rinse thoroughly. Dry your shutters well afterward. You can also do this when renewing old shutters.

Some DIY shutter cleaning recipes might call for other ingredients like Tri-Sodium or TSP. These substances are a little more heavy-duty than soap as they are powerful grease cleaners. If you choose to clean your shutters with TSP, use heavy-duty gloves and protect your eyes and skin from the fumes.

Scuff sanding your shutters before painting gives the paint a good surface to cling to. You can use a primer if you want, but this is not often necessary for brand-new shutters. Although, primer can help cover up some visible damage on older shutters.

If your shutters are already attached to your windows, you can choose to remove them first, but you don't have to if the weather is good outside. Conversely, you can paint your new shutters before installing them on your windows.

It might be better to remove your shutters before painting overall since paint needs to be in a controlled environment to cure well. If you paint your shutters during rainy, humid, or hot weather, they will not stick.  

What Is The Best Paint For Vinyl Shutters

Gable with grey horizontal vinyl lap siding, double hung window with white frame, vinyl shutters on a pitched roof attic at a luxury American single family home neighborhood

Use 100% acrylic paint when painting your vinyl shutters. Vinyl is a sort of plastic and is not as porous as wood shutters. Acrylic paint will stick to the vinyl and last for a while. 

Per coat, acrylic paint takes up to 12 hours to cure. Though it dries in 30 minutes,  it is not fully hardened until cured. Curing acrylic paint gives the paint time to chemically bond to the surface of your vinyl shutters.

Did you know that different colors of paint will behave differently? This has something to do with the physics of color. Lighter colors reflect light and sunlight, while darker colors absorb it.

Since darker colors absorb light, they are prone to heating up more. While drying, the water evaporating will react to the heat, resulting in the paint bubbling up. You can prevent this by avoiding direct sunlight or high temperatures during drying and curing.

As mentioned, you must wait for each layer of paint to cure before painting on a new coat. You can check if the paint has fully cured by gently pressing a fingernail into the paint.

If your nail leaves an indent, leave the paint to cure for longer. The paint is finished curing if it is fully hardened, so your nail will not leave a mark. At this point, the acrylic paint has adhered to the vinyl shutter surface.

What Brush To Use

While you can use a flat brush or angled flat brush to apply the paint, using an airbrush is also recommended. You can apply an even layer to the vinyl shutter surface by spraying on the paint.

If you lay on the paint too thick, it will have difficulty drying and will take forever to cure. Remember, acrylic paint that does not cure well will chip and peel off quickly.

Click here to see Acrylic Bonding Primer on Amazon.

Click here to see Acrylic Outdoor Paint on Amazon.

Is It Better To Paint Or Replace Vinyl Shutters

The great thing about vinyl shutters is their longevity. Vinyl shutters can last for over 50 years with good upkeep, so you will not have to replace them too often.

Click here to see Mendyl Vinyl Repair Kit on Amazon.

Unless your shutters are damaged to a point beyond repair, a simple repaint is enough to update them during any renovations. Sand the surface of the shutters you are going to update before painting over them.

Sanding off the original coat of paint is essential in repainting your shutters because this is how you will get the fresh coat to stick. Sand off as much of the old paint as you can. Then clean and apply primer to your vinyl shutters. As always, only use vinyl-safe or acrylic paint on them.

Keep in mind that repainting vinyl shutters only works for minor repairs. Most contractors recommend getting a new set of vinyl shutters as repainting them completely is not feasible.

You will have to inspect your shutters every few years to check if they need replacing. Vinyl wears and breaks down just like anything else. Do not confuse actual damage with superficial damage, though.

Assess the state of your shutters if ever you are considering a new set. Chances are that the damage is just the paint wearing away. As long as your shutters are still rigid and intact, they are good to keep.

If the paint wearing away bothers you or affects the shutters' appearance and is too worn for wear to patch up, then it is time to replace your vinyl shutters completely.

Home exterior with gray wood vinyl siding and white frames

Vinyl Shutters Vs. Other Types of Shutters

While wood shutters are a popular choice, vinyl shutters make a great alternative. They are significantly cheaper and imitate the look of wood quite well.

The thing to note about vinyl shutters is that they are lightweight. Composite and PVC shutters are heavier than vinyl and are known to last a little longer.

Regardless of these comparisons, vinyl shutters have a significant set of pros. For example, aside from being the cheaper option, vinyl shutters are low maintenance. You do not have to spend too much time cleaning them. They work great in most environments, especially in humid temperatures.

Vinyl shutters do not react to moisture as much as wood shutters do. They are not as susceptible to moisture damage and mold, so you do not have to worry about your vinyl shutters rotting.

How Long Do Vinyl Shutters Last

Gable with grey horizontal vinyl lap siding

While vinyl shutters can last for over 50 years, certain conditions could eat away their life span. Interior shutters are easier to keep intact, but external shutters are more exposed to the elements.

Changing weather and extreme temperatures will take a toll on any of your home's accessories, not just the shutters. However, vinyl shutters can be better than wood shutters since they will not be prone to termites or rotting.

Taking good care of your vinyl shutters will serve you well for a few decades.

Wrapping Things Up

Paint will not stick to your vinyl shutters if they are not prepared correctly. To ensure your paint job sticks, prime and prep your shutters beforehand. Make sure to use acrylic paint, and allow the paint to fully cure before doing anything else to your shutters.

You can expect the paint on your vinyl shutters to last a long time as long as you practice proper application and maintenance!

Did you find this article helpful? If so, you will want to check out our other posts:

How Much Does Vinyl Siding Cost For A Whole House? [Including Installation]

7 Colors That Vinyl Siding Comes In [And Does It Come In Black?]