Three Essential Tips for Painting Vinyl Windows

December 26, 2009

One reason people buy vinyl windows is because, unlike wood windows, vinyl windows do not need to be painted. In fact, most vinyl windows come with a lifetime guarantee not to chip, crack or peel. So why would anyone consider painting vinyl windows?

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Why Paint Vinyl Windows?

Vinyl windows come in several colors: white, beige, brown, and, depending on the manufacturer, maybe a faux wood finish, and dark green. But not everyone wants to be restricted to these few options. If your color scheme calls for buttercup yellow, lavender, nautical blue, or any other hue, paint is the answer. And if you've heard that vinyl windows cannot be painted, read on to find out how to get great results with paint.

  1. Preparation is the Key to Perfectly Painted Vinyl Window
    If your windows are not clean, and you apply paint over dirt, even small particles, there will be air bubbles under the paint which can lead to peeling. So, the first rule of painting vinyl windows is to be sure they are clean before you begin. If you have sliders, your cleaning (and painting) job will be particularly easy, because the windows can be completely removed.

    • Remove screens but keep them near the windows to which they belong for easy re-installation later
    • Wash only as many window as you can paint at one time (within an hour or two)
    • Wash window glass and frames with warm water to which a little dish soap has been added
    • Rinse thoroughly
    • Dry completely using a chamois or lint free cloth
    • Just before painting, blow any microscopic debris from the frame with a hair dryer, vacuum cleaner or shop vac
  2. To Prime or Not to Prime When Painting Vinyl Windows
    If you are changing your window color from dark to light, you should prime your windows, even if the paint you are planning to use has a primer in it. If the windows you are painting are white or beige, but the paint you are using does not already have a primer added to it, then prime. Otherwise, you can eliminate this step.

  3. Use the Right Paint When Painting Vinyl Windows
    Even if your window frames are perfectly clean, if you use the wrong paint, you will have unsatisfactory results. Use only exterior paint that is designed to be used on vinyl. The expert in your local paint, hardware, or big box store can guide you to the best product. Expect to pay in the neighborhood of thirty dollars per gallon. Paint with primer already added can save you hours of labor, so consider the value of your time when selecting your paint.


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