Can You Paint Vinyl Windows? (6 Easy Steps)

Are you looking to spruce up your vinyl windows? Painting the frames can be an easy, not to mention, budget-friendly hack to give your windows a new look. Admittedly, painting PVC is quite tricky and not everyone agrees with it. But, with the right tools, techniques, and a pinch of patience, your little windows could become the envy of the neighborhood. We’ll give you amazing tips to paint vinyl windows like a pro!

Is it possible to paint vinyl windows?

No one seems to have any qualms with painting wooden windows. But, coloring vinyl windows? Even the experts cannot seem to agree on whether to paint or not to paint.

Before putting color on your PVC windows, you should consider several things.

Manufacturer’s warranty

Generally, manufacturers do not recommend painting vinyl frames. If the paint causes your windows to chip, warp, crack, or if they take any type of damage, your manufacture may not be liable for the replacement costs. Even if the damage has nothing to do with it, painting can easily void an active warranty on your vinyl windows.

Before getting busy with your brushes, we recommend calling your window company to find out if you can paint the windows without negatively affecting your warranty cover.

Heat and damage

Darker colors such as charcoal gray, black, and olive green might give your windows a calm and modern look. However, these colors tend to absorb heat, which may cause the frames to warp or glass to crack. Excessive heat can also lower your windows’ energy efficiency.

Aesthetic value

Paint does not always adhere well to vinyl. Putting low-quality paint on PVC frames or using the wrong technique can make your windows look worse than they did before you painted them. You certainly do not want to deal with peeling, cracking, and other paint problems just days after putting your brushes away.

Home resale value

If you are planning to sell your home in the near future, you should think twice before painting your vinyl windows. Even the slightest damage to the windows has the potential to affect your home’s resale value. Also, not every prospective homebuyer might find your choice of color attractive.

How to paint vinyl windows like a pro

Even with all the challenges involved, painting vinyl windows is completely doable. If you do not have the budget to replace your windows yet, painting those frames with your favorite color might be a low-cost alternative.

Here is what you will need to get started:

  • Canvas drop cloth
  • Sandpaper with grit size 220
  • Brushes of varying sizes (preferably sponge brushes) or airless sprayer
  • Vinyl-specific paint
  • Vinyl-safe prime
  • Painters tape, masking paper, and hand masker
  • Sponge and degreasing dish liquid

Now, for the fun part—here’s how to paint your windows like a pro. As you will notice, preparation is everything to ensure that the paint comes out smoothly and adheres to the PVC surface.

Step 1

Place the drop cloth on the floor underneath the window. I recommend a canvas drop cloth as it is less slippery and the material does not let paint permeate to the floor.

Step 2

Step 2

Add a few drops of degreasing dish liquid in a liter of warm water. Dish soap is a great choice as it is mild and easily eliminates grease and other debris lingering on the frame.

Dip a sponge into the mixture and wipe the frames thoroughly. Use a damp cloth to rinse the vinyl and another dry one to remove any remaining moisture. Cleaning the frames eliminates the risk of paint failure due to trapped dust.

Step 3

Step 3

Rough up the surface of the frames using the right sandpaper. A 220-grit sandpaper will roughen the vinyl without leaving visible marks on it. Sanding allows the primer and paint to adhere to the vinyl for longer. Be sure to use light strokes to avoid damaging the delicate surface.

Step 4

Cover the glass and siding using masking paper and painter’s tape to prevent paint from touching the areas outside the frames. Instead of covering and taping manually, one of my favorite tools to use is a  hand masker, which gets the job done fast and easily.

Step 5

Apply a thin coat of vinyl-safe primer onto the PVC frames. Be sure to check whether the paint requires you to use a primer. Generally, premium paints do not require application of a bonding primer. That being said, a good primer has its unmatched benefits.

So, once you apply it, allow the primer to dry completely. To be on the safe side, I recommend waiting an extra hour or two in addition to the manufacturer-recommended drying time.

Step 6

Step 6

Apply a thin coat of paint specifically formulated for use on exterior vinyl. An airless spray lets you work faster. Rent one with a small spray fan to easily work your way through the frame’s nooks and crannies. If you prefer a brush, it is best to use a sponge one for even, smooth strokes.

Allow ample time for that initial coat to dry completely before applying another coat. Ideally, you should apply several coats for the color to not only ‘pop’ but also to adhere to the frame.

Pro tip: For a smoother finish, consider lightly sanding the painted frames in between coats.

Conclusion

Putting a pop of color to your vinyl windows is no longer a far-fetched DIY fantasy. With a range of PVC-friendly primers and paints, you can finally boost the aesthetics of your windows. For the best results:

  • Pick a premium primer and paint
  • Opt for lighter colors—dark colors absorb heat, which can increase the risk of window damage
  • Sand the frames lightly to increase the bond

Have you tried painting vinyl windows or are you considering it? Let us know in the comments section below. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask either!

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