Can You Paint Exterior Vinyl Window Frames? (How-to Guide)

Vinyl window frames are a popular choice for homeowners. However, over time, the color of the frames can fade and become damaged by the sun’s UV rays and other harsh weather conditions. So can vinyl window frames be painted? 

Painting vinyl window frames is a great way to enhance their appearance while adding to the overall aesthetic value of your home’s exterior. Painting vinyl window frames must be done with care and attention. Proper preparation and using the appropriate paint and primer are essential to ensure a good finish.

In this article, you will learn:

  • The pros and cons of painting vinyl window frames
  • The best paint and primer for vinyl window frames
  • How to paint vinyl window frames

Is Painting Your Exterior Vinyl Windows a Good Idea?



Painting your vinyl windows is a cost-effective way to change the color without replacing the entire window. It’s a straightforward task that doesn’t require hiring a professional.

Aesthetic flexibility

If you’re revamping your home’s exterior, painting your vinyl windows will give you the flexibility to achieve your desired aesthetic outcome. This can also increase your property value and enhance its curb appeal.

UV protection

Vinyl windows provide energy efficiency, reducing energy bills and consumption by blocking UV rays from entering the home. However, over time, the UV will fade the color of the windows. Painting them will enhance the color and provide UV protection, increasing their longevity.


Peeling paint

Vinyl windows tend to expand and contract with temperature changes. This can cause painted surfaces to crack and peel. If the window is still under warranty, painting them can void your warranty.


Painting your vinyl windows will cause them to become high maintenance. The paint will need touching up every couple of years to maintain its color and protection.

The Best Paint and Primer for Exterior Vinyl Windows

The type of paint you use on your vinyl window frames is important. It should be high-grade acrylic paint specifically designed for outdoor surfaces. This will ensure the paint adheres to the frames and won’t chip or peel due to temperature changes.

Using a primer is also important as it helps create an even surface for the paint to adhere to, increasing the longevity and protection of your vinyl windows.

Spray paint is usually the best option for painting vinyl window frames. It’s easy to apply and provides even coverage that’s difficult to achieve with a brush or roller.

Best Paint

When painting exterior vinyl window frames, Sherwin-Williams Emerald Rain Refresh Exterior Acrylic Latex Paint is hands down the best option available.

This ultra-durable exterior coating is specially formulated with self-cleaning technology, allowing dirt to simply wash away upon contact with rain or water.

In addition to its self-cleaning properties, Emerald Rain Refresh offers excellent UV and weather protection, ensuring that your vinyl window frames will look great for years to come.

And with the ability to be tinted in Sherwin-Williams VinylSafe paint colors, you can choose from a wide range of options to perfectly complement your home’s exterior.

But what sets Emerald Rain Refresh apart from other exterior paints is its ability to resist warping or buckling when applied to a sound, stable vinyl substrate.

This is because of its innovative formula that includes a limited selection of darker colors specifically designed to withstand the heat and maintain their shape.

Best Primer

Sherwin-Williams Extreme Bond Primer is a must-have for painting exterior vinyl window frames. It tightly bonds to glossy surfaces and ensures a uniform appearance of topcoats with just one coat application, making this primer fast-drying and extremely convenient.

Its superior bonding abilities make it perfect for hard-to-stick surfaces, and in most cases, it eliminates the need for sanding on clean and paintable surfaces. 

The Extreme Bond Primer is specially formulated with advanced resins that make it ideal for exterior vinyl window frames. Its consistent and strong bond assures that your topcoat adheres properly, giving your window frames a long-lasting and quality finish.

Compared to other primers in the market, the Extreme Bond Primer has demonstrated remarkable results in durability, longevity, and overall quality of the painted vinyl surfaces.

This primer is designed to work in harsh weather conditions, ensuring that your frames are protected from the wear and tear of the environment.

It also creates a strong barrier against moisture damage, making it ideal for use in areas with high humidity.

Lastly, the Sherwin-Williams Extreme Bond Primer is affordable yet high-quality, making it an excellent choice for homeowners and professionals.

Its benefits and features have earned it a reputation as the best primer for exterior vinyl window frames, and it is a valuable addition to any painting project.

How to Paint Exterior Vinyl Windows

Tools and Materials

  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Paint brush, roller, or spray gun
  • Cleaning supplies (sponge, rags, detergent)
  • Sandpaper (220-240 grit)
  • Protective mask
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Masking tape or painter’s tape
  • Safety goggles

Step-By-Step Guide

Step 1: Clean the Windows Thoroughly

Before you can begin painting, you must ensure the vinyl windows are clean and free of dirt, dust, and debris. Use a soft-bristled brush or a cloth to remove any loose dirt. Then, wash the windows with a mild detergent and rinse with water.

Step 2: Sand the Surface

To help the paint adhere better to the vinyl surface, you can lightly scuff the surface with sandpaper. This step is optional but useful if the vinyl windows are glossy.

Step 3: Tape off Any Areas You Don’t Want to Paint

Use painter’s or masking tape to cover any areas around the windows you don’t want to paint, such as trim or glass.

Step 4: Apply the Primer

Using a brush or roller, apply the primer to the window frames. Allow it to dry thoroughly before continuing.

Step 5: Apply the paint

Once the primer has dried, it’s time to apply the paint. You can apply the paint with a paintbrush or a paint sprayer. If using a brush, use even strokes and avoid leaving brush marks.

If using a sprayer, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results. Apply one or two coats of paint, allowing each coat to dry completely before applying the next.

Step 6: Remove the Tape

Once the paint has dried completely, remove the protective tape from the areas you covered. Do this carefully to avoid peeling off any newly painted surfaces.

Joshua Milton

Joshua Milton is a passionate DIY and home improvement enthusiast. With his expertise in various projects, he provides practical tips, step-by-step guides, and creative ideas for transforming your living space.

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