Thursday, September 19, 2013

How to Stain Vinyl Shutters

***Update: I've had a lot of questions about whether this has held up. It's been almost two years since I tackled this project and I've written another post to show how the gel stained shutters look today. The link will be at the bottom of this post.
Did you know that you can stain vinyl shutters?  I know, right? Your mind is blown. You cannot believe it.  You are sitting with your mouth gaping open in utter disbelief.

Well, that may or may not have been the way I reacted when I saw this post over at Remodelaholic. I can stain my shutters?

You see, painting the shutters has been on my list of to-do's from day one. Our home had white trim and white shutters and white windows and a white door. BORING!  I was just completely overwhelmed at the thought of painting them, so I left them. 

I looked on Pinterest for how-to advice and kept coming up with the same solution---removing shutters and renting/buying professional grade paint sprayer to paint the shutters, then re-hang. Ugh. Did not want to do that. Bad experiences with paint sprayers equals a healthy fear of them.

As soon as I realized how easy staining the shutters would be, I didn't hesitate to get the project started. 


To stain vinyl shutters, you will need:
-Gel stain, (Minwax in Walnut is what I used)
-Paint brush
-Old Towel or rag 
Minwax Gel Stain in Walnut

First, I cleaned my shutters well with soapy water. Then, after they dried, I started brushing on the stain.  The gel stain is thick so no need to worry about drips.  Just keep a towel handy just in case. 

Usually, when staining, you brush on and wipe off.  I found that when I wiped off immediately, it took a good bit of the stain back off. I just brushed on then left it.

This is after one coat.  Two and sometimes three coats were necessary to get desired look. 

This is after two coats.  I like how the faux wood grain shows through.  It looks like I have stained wood shutters instead of vinyl. (If you don't like that look, then painting may be a better option for you.) 


A few tips:
-This one is kind of obvious.  Wear old clothes.  If you are anything like me, you will have stain all over you! My neighbors probably think I habitually dress like a hobo because at this point in the home makeover process, a good bit of my t-shirts and work out pants have paint stains.  And every time I see them outside, it's usually when I am doing a paint project. This project would be a great time to break out the old college tees. 

-Flip flops should not be the shoe of choice.  I have a really bad habit of sporting flops around the house when I work on projects and this day was no different.  By the time I was finished, my feet were donning Minwax.  And they hurt from not having proper support.

-Don't underestimate the time it will take to complete.  I looked at my six shutters and thought, Hey, I can knock this out in a couple hours. (That's probably why I didn't bother changing shoes.) It took more like five hours.  But that includes the times I stopped and talked with neighbors. (Did I mention I have great neighbors?) So make sure you factor in some face time  with the friendly neighbors as they stop to cheer you on with your home improvement endeavors!

-Wear sunscreen.  What can I say?  Five hours +  direct sunlight = sunburn.

-Wear Gloves.  I really wish I would've thought to put on gloves to protect my hands and nails. When I was finished, I looked like I had been working on a carburetor. 

And that's it!  Pretty, stained, faux wood stained shutters. 



Now I can't wait to paint my front door!

** See how the gel stain has held up two years later HERE.


  1. Brilliant! I have red shutters...FADED red. I want black. I've been wanting to paint them, and Andy has a prof. sprayer and is very capable...although not so willing. If I can get black gel stain, I will try this myself! Thanks for sharing!
    Leslie J, opp

    1. It was so much easier than I thought it would be! I'm sure the dark stain would cover the red easily. Thanks so much for reading!

  2. I love these shutters! they're fully beautiful in the houses, i have been debating putting window shutters in my house in UK.

  3. Not only did you give us an example on how it looks like (which is awesome!), but you even dropped us a few tips on how to do it! I particularly liked the "wear old clothes" suggestion, because people would randomly get things on their clothes, not thinking how messy it'll look after the job is done. And yes, the door should be next!
    Greg Arnett @

  4. Looks great! How long did they take to dry?

  5. Did you remove the shutters or leave them on?

  6. I have faded green shutters. Would you suggest priming them before staining? I LOVE the wood grain look!!

    1. I have the same, faded green. What did you end up doing?

  7. Did you use a sealant after staining?

  8. I have white interior shutters I used for deco only on wall each side of patio door to screened porch. I need to stain a walnut, ECT too much white / wall and shutters. They are polyresin will gel stain work ? Tks

  9. I used hickory color gel stain. Darker than I want. Is there a unique way to apply some light gel stain maybe just sort of distressed look. Sorry I picked too dark gel stain.

  10. PVC Shutters Thank you because you have been willing to share information with us. we will always appreciate all you have done here because I know you are very concerned with our.

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  14. Impressive transformation! Staining vinyl shutters to achieve a wood grain look is genius. Thanks for sharing your tips and the final result. Sienna Shutters - UK

  15. Great article! Staining vinyl shutters can really enhance the look of your home exterior. This article provides some valuable tips on how to effectively remove stains from vinyl shutters, ensuring they stay looking fresh and beautiful for years to come. Thanks for sharing these helpful insights! Visit here

  16. Great tips! I never knew staining vinyl shutters was possible. Definitely trying this out for a fresh look on mine. Thanks for sharing! Read Now - Noosa Shutters and Blinds


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