Learning How to Paint Vinyl Windows

Happy Thanksgiving weekend! 🙂

I hope everyone ate until they had to unbutton the top button, surrounded themselves with family and friends, and expressed their thankfulness, in one way or another. I know I did. Although Thanksgiving looked a bit different this year with Covid keeping extended family in their respective homes, we were able to celebrate with my older sister and her boyfriend Adam. We always have such a good time cooking, eating, drinking and playing together. I find myself pausing in those moments, so thankful we all live relatively close to each other, able to enjoy each other’s company for days on end.

I wanted to finish out this wonderful Thanksgiving weekend with a blog post; when thinking of all the topics I plan to cover and where to even begin, painting my vinyl windows seems to be at the front – a fun, controversial subject. I myself am a lover of controversy, so this should be fun!

Back in July, I started researching what kind of windows I needed; their dimensions, placement locations, and any available colors. I knew I wanted black exterior windows, and that I needed 7 windows in total, and roughly where they were to be hung. Once I had figured out what was what, I was able to purchase my windows from MidCity Lumber , a local construction and building materials store here in Columbia. MidCity is known for their competitive pricing – for example, my 6x3ft window at Menards was $345. At MidCity, my total was $222. Being able to save so much per window really helped me save a lot, but even still, my total window price was $1200. Thankfully, dad has an account with MidCity, so I was able to put the window purchase on credit, and I am making payments on it every month. 

If you’re interested, these are the exact window details 🙂

One 6×3, slidingKitchen$222.35
One 3×4, slidingLiving Room$183
One 2×4, slidingBathroom$153
Two 4×2, pictureUpper Open Space$270
Two 4×2, slidingLofted Bedroom$318
Please keep in mind window prices vary greatly, these are the prices I paid for Quaker brand windows at my local construction supply store

With windows purchased and delivered, I then set to work researching vinyl safe paints, along with the pro’s/con’s of painting windows. 

Vinyl safe paints were hard to come by; most everyone is aware of the Sherwin Williams vinyl safe paint line, however, they don’t offer black pigments. That’s because vinyl flexes under heat and painting with a dark color can cause it to absorb even more heat and possibly crack/chip off. Also, painting vinyl is a tricky business in itself, and you can’t just buy regular exterior paint. Since vinyl is flexible and slick and weird – paint doesn’t want to stick to it. Vinyl is created from PVC, the same material used for gutters and pipes, and is verrrry fluid resistant. The only chance of having your exterior paint stick to the vinyl is if you get an acrylic based, or urethane-modified acrylic based paint. Acrylics are more likely to stick to the slick surface without cracking or chipping. 

Also, painting vinyl is one thing. Painting vinyl windows is a whole nother business in itself. Paint manufacturers (like the dudes behind the Sherman Williams vinyl safe paint line) will tell you yes, you can paint vinyl windows. You can paint anything, right? Well, right, except there is a different between can and should. Still with me?

So the paint guys over at the paint counter will tell you you can paint vinyl windows. However, the bros over at the window counter will strongly recommend you don’t, and for some pretty serious reasons. Painting your windows can void your home and window warranty, your windows have a higher chance of absorbing heat and shattering in the hot summer months, and there’s the issue of finding an appropriate, vinyl-and-hot-weather-approved paint. 

So we’ve come full circle. It gets more interesting soon, I promise. 

So once I had done all the necessary research (aka 25hrs researching paint certifications and acrylic formulas) and decided that yes, this was a good decision for me, I set to work trying to find examples of people painting their vinyl windows black, what paints they used, and began the process of trial and elimination. 

Google led me to Jess, over at the Bright Green Door

In Jess’s blog post, she was able to paint her interior windows black, using a custom mix from Sherwin Williams. Her paint technician promised with 2 coats of a dark blue paint, it would look black. So I decided I would try the same thing. I screenshotted her paint recipe, took it to MY Sherwin Williams paint guy, who was astonished paint recipes were even a thing, and custom made me a quart ($14).

Let me tell you, I’m glad I just ordered a quart of the stuff because it was GREEN. I’ll admit I held a lot of hope on this mix, because not only did it work for Jess, but her windows looked AMAZING . I just wanted black windows sooo bad. But no, my little piece of PVC tester pipe looked dark green blue. It was a bummer, but I went back to work for a true black paint.

20201006_162219

In my second experiment, we tried using an exterior spray paint, the Rust-oleum Protective Enamel. This came at a recommendation from my local Orschelns, who insisted it was a great exterior paint, could stick to anything, and was very long lasting. You know what’s funny? This $5 can of paint was actually pretty good 😀 However, it was flat matte, and I was looking for  satin. I set this in the ‘last resort’ pile. 

While researching, I made an effort to call all the paint stores in town, and see if they could recommend me anything. “I’m looking for a black, vinyl safe paint, do you know of anything?” After several you-shouldn’t-paint-your-vinyl-windows-black lectures, and after the Rust-oleum experiment, my search led me to the Home Depot paint counter, more specifically, Kevin.

Dearest Kevin, you’re my brand new paint dealer, and I love ya man, I really do. 

Kevin listened to my request, and instead of mansplaining what I already knew, he was helpful and friendly. As it turned out, Kevin had just painted his exterior windows black, and used Behr Marquee

Behr Marquee was perfect for my project. It’s 100% acrylic enamel, has built-in primer properties which meant it would stick to my vinyl, and is known for it’s durableness. Kevin even sold me the gallon for the quart price of $29, and recommended we use a paint sprayer at 10% water dilution for optimal application. Thanks Kevin 🙂

After purchasing the perfect paint, I prepped the windows using Frog Tape and newspapers to cover the glass, then proceeded to use 150 grit sandpaper and roughened up the slick vinyl edging. The sandpaper was super gentle and didn’t leave any scratches, but gave the paint a more gritty surface to stick to. 

After mixing up the 10% water solution, Dad used his paint sprayer (here’s a similar one) and was able to spray on the paint in a thin, solid coat. I’m already expecting them to be scratched upon installation, but plan on going back and hand touching up any scratches when the build is completed. 

All in all, I’m SO happy this part of the tiny home project is over and done with. It was so much more research than I had ever expected, and while there are some risks involved with painting vinyl windows, I am well informed of them, and still believe it to be worth the risk. I am too cheap to pay an extra hundred fifty per window for them to come in black, and am super proud of myself for finding a cheaper alternative. 

If you made it this far, thanks for reading! If you tackle the window painting project, please let me know how it goes, and hopefully this information was entertaining and helpful! Check the pic below for a sneak peek of the next post!

20201120_155018

**Disclaimer** I’m not responsible for any warping, flexing or shattering of painted windows. I knew the risks that came with this decision, and encourage you to do your own research before starting. If you’re looking to paint your windows any other color besides black, I’d definitely recommend the Sherwin Williams vinyl safe paint line! They have a ton of colorful options 🙂

Published by

sincerelysarah

Hey! I'm Sarah, a 25 year old book nerd, dog mom, model and soon to be tiny home owner! I write about my journey to debt free living, body acceptance, modeling, tiny home life, and travel. It is my eventual goal to leave my 9 - 5 and travel full-time, join me on my adventure! Sincerely, Sarah

One thought on “Learning How to Paint Vinyl Windows

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: