How to Paint Shutters

Elevating painting services across Massachusetts since 2005

Are Window Shutters Important?

Shutters are like glasses frames. They highlight not only the glass but the face as well. If the frames don’t fit, your face can look weird (trust me, mine sure did). Shutters may seem to blend into a house exterior at first, but imagine them not being there. Weird, right? It’s as though something’s missing, but you can’t put your finger on it. This is what makes shutters so important to a house. With them being so important, you might want to know how often to paint your home’s exterior. But right now your shutters are faded, cracked, and weary looking. Let’s fix that.


Painting shutters aren’t too complex of a project. All you need is time and the right materials. It’s time to bring your shutters back to life and get your curb appeal to its original level. Or will you take it higher? Maybe paint them a new, striking color to make your house stand out from the rest. Or you have new light fixtures that need to be matching with the shutters. Read on to learn the steps necessary to paint your shutters.

Find out how to choose the right paint for your project >>

Painting Your Shutters

Follow these 6 steps to successfully paint your shutters:

  1. Find a space large and clean enough to place drop cloths or tarps on, like outside or in a garage. The cloth can help catch dust from sanding and any paint drips.
  2. Remove the screws from the shutter and bring them down.

Put the screws in a Ziploc bag as you remove them because they are small and easily lost. Don’t want it to turn into one of those ship-it-and-build-it projects that always seem to be missing a part. See other tips for painting a house exterior >>

  1. Clean those shutters. For interior shutters use a sponge or brush with water and a mild detergent. Exterior shutters tend to be dirtier and require trisodium phosphate (TSP), a heavy-duty cleaner. Dilute the TSP in water before applying to shutters. Spray them clean with water, wipe them down, and then let them dry before continuing. Wear protective gear, including long sleeves and pants, goggles, and rubber gloves.
  2. Wood Shutters Only– otherwise move to step 5 Out with the old paint to make room for the new. One way to do this is by sanding. Take a paint scraper and remove any flaking or chipping paint, then lightly sand the surface with fine-grit sandpaper. Once finished, wipe off dust and residue with a damp cloth and let dry. The other way method uses a chemical paint stripper. Depending on the type (or instructions) apply with clean cloth, brush, or spray. Let sit for about 10 minutes, then remove old finish with scraper or sponge. Work outside or in a well-ventilated area. After the finish is removed, wipe down the surface and let dry.
  3. Place shutter with slats down, or pointing towards you. Apply primer first. Wooden Shutters- for exterior shutters apply a coat of exterior primer/sealer, for interior a coat of interior primer/sealer. Using a 1-2″ wide brush, start at the top on one side and paint your way to the middle. Repeat for the other half. Use smaller brushes for hard-to-reach areas. Let side dry. Use this process for the other side. Let dry completely. Vinyl or Plastic Shutters- use a paint that adheres to these surfaces and works for where they’ll be, exterior or interior. Use the same painting method as with wooden shutters.
  4. Reattach shutters and clean the work area. Dispose of used paint cans at the appropriate location.

There you have it, newly painted shutters. This may not happen without some problems, so see what problems exterior painting companies run into so you can avoid them!

It Is Done!

The shutters look like new and your house feels 5 years younger. You have the satisfaction of completing a project and doing it well. What’s next on your list? Painting the rest of the exterior, maybe moving to painting the interior, or hiring a contractor to help with a project.

When hiring a contractor, keep an eye out for these common scams >>