Everything You Need to Know About Painting Shutters

Inside: Everything you need to know about painting shutters; can you paint them on the house, what type of paint to use; how to use a sprayer to paint shutters more easily; tips for how to paint vinyl shutters

Shutters are like the eyelashes of a home. They give you exterior presence and can really make a space feel grand, cozy and modern. Today, I’m testing out a couple of products to make painting shutters easier – specifically painting louvered shutters, but also offering some of my best tips for how to paint shutters in general.

I’ve teamed up with HomeRight to use their Large Spray Shelter and Finish Max Paint Sprayer to get the job done.How to Paint Shutters

 

You might recall we’ve been working on a bit of a deck refresh.We can’t afford to redo the deck for a while, so we’re focusing on improving what we have. So far we have built an amazing chevron privacy wall and we have managed to do some power washing on the bottom portion of the deck. 

 But, for sake of reminder, here’s what it sort of looked like before we started anything. There is this one awesome sunny spot on our deck and ever since we moved in, I’ve been dying to dress it up and put a nice little seating area there.

Outdoor Patio Nook BEFORE

How to Paint Louvered Shutters

I’ve been holding onto this old bi-fold door for years. It was once on our front hall closet. I even took it down and gave it a light coat of primer expecting to do something with it, but then got lazy and stashed it in our shed. As my vision for this little patio area started to take shape, I knew the door would finally have a purpose! So out it came.Outdoor Shutters BEFORE

It’s fairly large (more than 6 feet tall) and it’s awkward because it’s louvered and has all those slats and nooks and crannies. Given that, I figured it’d be an excellent candidate for a rehab using my Finish Max Paint Sprayer and Finish Max Paint Sprayer.HomeRight Spray Shelter

I disassembled the door and Dan helped me set up the shelter in the yard. This is a situation where the shutters cannot or should not be painted while still attached to the house. The louvres would make that incredibly messy – so my advice is to remove any louvered shutters before painting them. (Read on for my advice about other types of painted shutters).

A word of warning about this large shelter – it’s basically like putting up a tent. So a) don’t do it on an empty stomach or when you’re crabby; b) have patience c) it’s best done with two people.Assembling the Spray Shelter I know all about a) because I attempted to put this shelter up with Dan while six months pregnant and when I had missed lunch by an hour. Let’s just say I needed to eat a slice of pizza and have a juice box before I was fit to cooperate 🙂 Hangry for two!Spray Shelter set up in the yard

What Paint to Use on Your Outdoor Shutters

Alright, now for the paint. My plan was to turn the bi-fold door into large scale outdoor shutters to add some drama and style to my developing patio area. So I decided to use exterior grade latex paint. The HomeRight paint sprayer comes with this little cup strainer that you use to test the viscosity of your paint to make sure it won’t clog the spray gun. You simply test it by filling the cup with paint and timing how long it takes to drain.Testing the viscosity of the paint

We ended up water down our paint a bit – filling the paint gun vessel with water to the bottom measure line and then the rest with paint. It worked really well. (Actually, before doing it with paint, we followed the manufacturer’s instructions and did a run through of the sprayer with just water so we understood exactly how it worked.)Dilute paint before using the spray gun

How to Paint Shutters with a Spray Gun (or Spray Paint)

For my doors-to-be-shutters – I laid a drop cloth on the bottom of the shelter and Dan hauled over two concrete blocks that we then covered with another drop sheet. I leaned my door up against it to expose the largest surface area of the door and to make it easy for me to reach.Setting up the spray shelter

Then just pull the trigger and use long wide sweeping motions, ensuring your motion is coming from your shoulder and you’re holding the gun as close to a 90 degree angle as possible.Spraying outdoor shutters with a paint gun

I honestly cannot believe how quickly it went and the coverage that I got in such a small time frame. It would have taken me ALL DAY to paint these by hand and I never would have achieved this finish.How to use a paint gunEasy way to paint with a paint gun

I let them dry for about 20 minutes and then flipped them over to make sure I got good even coverage. Folded up my drop cloths, disassembled the tent, put it back into its sleeve and cleaned out the sprayer.Painted shutters in spray shelter

How to Clean a Paint Sprayer

I ended up cleaning the sprayer bits in a bucket of soapy water outside and then I ran some soapy water through the sprayer itself to make sure all the paint was removed from the tubes and such. It wasn’t the tidiest method, but it is probably comparable to cleaning brushes and will be easier the second time around for sure.

We let the shutters dry and cure in our garden room for a couple of days before hanging them up. We used basic exterior grade 3″ screws to mount them to the wall.Bold patterns on an outdoor patio

Can you say ‘Le Drama’?! YES! This space is coming together so nicely and is such a far cry from where it once was.Bright Blue outdoor shutters painted with a sprayerPaint Sprayer makes shutters an easy DIY

I can’t wait to find another project to spray with my sprayer and use the shelter. I should mention that Home Right also has a table top version of the spray shelter for smaller items, which I’m sure would be super handy to have as well.New recycled shutters

Before and After with Spray Painted Shutters

Other Ways to Paint Shutters

If your shutters are still attached to the house there are a few things to keep in mind – the first of which is safety. If they are anywhere above the first storey of your home, you’ll want to consult a professional or make sure you can reach them safely.

The best case scenario is you remove the shutters prior to painting, let them dry and them replace them. But if that is not a possibility, use some thick painting tape to protect the home’s siding and a great synthetic brush on the non-louvred shutters. You’ll want to wait for dry, non-humid weather to do this. Exterior grade paint will work if you shutters are already painted. If they are raw wood, prime first, then paint.

Painting Vinyl Shutters

To paint non-wood shutters, such as vinyl shutters, you’ll want to remove them from the house first. Give them a good scrub and let them dry fully before painting them with any sort of high-bond spray paint. Then seal them with a polycrylic spray to prevent chipping and fading. Let them dry and cure for a few days before hanging them back up.

 

 

how-to-use-a-paint-sprayer-and-spray-shelterHere are a few other painting projects you might like!

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17 thoughts on “Everything You Need to Know About Painting Shutters

  1. Cool! Love the colour, Erin. Not sure I’d have the patience for the prep and cleanup, but I might try to refresh our front door.

  2. OK these “shutters” are brilliant! The pop of color they bring to your patio is AMAZING! The whole space is looking fantastic. I bet you are loving to spend time out there now!

  3. What a fabulous way to use old folding doors, Erin! They bring beautiful color to your deck! It looks great and I’m sure you’ll enjoy some lovely afternoons out there!

  4. Can’t believe just how easy it was to get the project done with the tent & sprayer! Crossing my fingers to win – I have furniture for my daughter’s bedroom to get refinished! This would make life much easier!

  5. LOVE how you were able to repurpose those old doors into awesome shutters! It looks like they were always meant to be there. Your outdoor space has really come together and I bet you’re enjoying have a nice space to enjoy the sunny weather!

  6. I would actually tackle my house shutters. I have removed them and are cleaning them up. I was just going to lay a drop cloth out in the yard and hope for the best but this would my the process so much easier.

  7. So cool! I’ve been dying to paint my own shutters (currently white) a nice rich black, so this would be the perfect tool for that!

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