Can You Paint Vinyl Windows: Hear from the Experts

Can you paint vinyl windows? There is some disagreement on this topic, as experts keep arguing on whether it's cost-effective to paint vinyl window frames. Explore the pros and cons of painted vinyl windows, then learn how to paint vinyl window frames if you opt to go ahead. 

Common Painted Vinyl Windows Problems

Vinyl windows can be painted, but that does not mean they should be painted. Generally, home contractors will tell you painting vinyl window frames is a viable option, while window manufacturers will contradict them. 

The major drawback is that paint does not adhere well to vinyl. This results in paint flaking off, leaving you with windows that look worse than they did before you painted them. The color you choose can also be a factor. Darker paint colors attract solar heat, which puts additional heat stress on your window frames. If your current windows are older, the increased heat could cause warping.  

Another important consideration when thinking about painting your window frames is your window warranty. Altering the vinyl window frame may void your warranty. Without a valid warranty, you won't be able to get the manufacturer to fix your windows.   

Some manufacturers will accept certain colors of vinyl paint but not others - going so far as to ask you to send in the paint chip for verification. If your windows are under warranty, it's worth a phone call to find out what colors, if any, do not void the warranty. 

Now you understand the risks if you choose to paint the frames. But we live in the age of Pinterest where DIY is king. Painting vinyl window frames remains the cheapest and easiest way to change the color of your frames.  

The only other option is window replacement. When you choose to replace your windows, you should work with a company that customizes the windows, including style, size, and color. Here at Window Nation, we offer several vinyl windows colors for you to choose from to suit your specific taste and the style of your home. Explore all the vinyl replacement window options available at Window Nation 

How to Paint Vinyl Window Frames

Supply List 

  • 220-grit sandpaper 
  • Primer specifically made to work on vinyl such as an alkyd- based primer 
  • Vinyl safe latex exterior paint 
  • Foam paintbrushes of varying size  
  • Painters tape 
  • Drop cloth 
  • Warm water and sponge for ‘goofs’ 

Before you start painting vinyl window frames, clean the windows to remove any dirt. You never want to paint a dirty window, as that will trap dirt beneath the paint.  

You may want to sand the windows using 220-grit sandpaper lightly. Roughing up the frame encourages the primer to bond with the vinyl frames. 

Make sure you cover and tape off your window glass and position newspaper or a drop cloth to help manage drips or paint application sprays.  

After you have completed all the prep work, apply a primer that is formulated to work with vinyl. Primers can soften the vinyl, which can decrease material integrity, so one that is formulated for vinyl is critical. Using a primer is essential because the primers prepare the vinyl for paint, increasing the odds that your paint will stick to the windows 

Let the primer dry thoroughly. We recommend exceeding the amount of time directed on the packaging. Once dry, apply a thin coat of paint using a foam paintbrush.  

Ideally, you want to apply several thin coats of paint and allow lengthy drying time between applications. As with the primer, you should choose a paint formula that is appropriate for vinyl which will is noted on the label. 

While you are saving up for replacement windows, painting is a solid interim solution.  

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