May 29, 2024

How to Refinish Composite Shutters

7 min read
Learn how to refinish composite shutters with our step-by-step guide.
A composite shutter being sanded and refinished

A composite shutter being sanded and refinished

When it comes to home decor, shutters are an excellent addition to any space. Composite shutters, in particular, offer durability, aesthetic appeal, and energy-efficient qualities. But what should you do when these shutters become worn out and faded over time? The answer is simple: refinish them. In this article, we’ll guide you through every step of the refinishing process, from the materials you’ll need to upkeep tips for keeping your composite shutters looking fantastic.

Materials Needed for Refinishing Composite Shutters

The first step in refinishing composite shutters is to gather the necessary tools and materials. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Drop cloths or plastic sheeting
  • Sandpaper or sanding sponge
  • Painter’s tape
  • Soap and water or TSP cleaner
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Paintbrushes or a paint sprayer

Before you begin refinishing your composite shutters, it’s important to clean them thoroughly. Use soap and water or a TSP cleaner to remove any dirt, grime, or mildew that may have accumulated on the surface. Allow the shutters to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

When it comes to choosing a paint for your composite shutters, look for a high-quality exterior paint that is specifically designed for use on plastic or composite materials. This will ensure that the paint adheres properly and provides long-lasting protection against the elements. You may also want to consider using a paint with a built-in primer to save time and effort.

Preparing Your Workspace for Composite Shutter Refinishing

Before you begin refinishing your composite shutters, you need to prepare your workspace. Remove the shutters from their hinges and lay them flat on the ground, preferably on a drop cloth or plastic sheeting to prevent any paint from staining the ground. Cover any nearby objects with plastic sheeting to protect them from paint splatters.

It is also important to ensure that your workspace is well-ventilated. If you are working indoors, open windows and doors to allow for proper air flow. If you are working outdoors, choose a day with mild weather and avoid windy conditions that could blow dust or debris onto your wet paint.

Additionally, make sure you have all the necessary tools and materials before you begin. This includes sandpaper, primer, paint, brushes, and any other supplies specific to your chosen refinishing method. Having everything you need on hand will help you work efficiently and avoid unnecessary trips to the store.

Steps to Clean Composite Shutters in Preparation for Refinishing

The first step in the refinishing process is cleaning your composite shutters to remove any dirt, grime, or old paint. You can use a mild soap solution or TSP cleaner diluted in water. Gently scrub the shutters with a soft-bristled brush or sponge. Be sure to rinse the shutters with clean water thoroughly. Allow the shutters to dry fully before proceeding to the next step.

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It is important to note that if your composite shutters have any mold or mildew, you should use a solution of bleach and water to clean them. Mix one part bleach to four parts water and apply the solution to the affected areas with a sponge or brush. Let the solution sit for 10-15 minutes before rinsing it off with clean water. This will ensure that any mold or mildew is completely removed before refinishing your shutters.

Sanding Composite Shutters: Do’s and Don’ts

Sanding composite shutters is necessary to remove any loose or chipped paint, smooth any rough areas, and create a new surface for paint to adhere to. Sand the shutters gently with sandpaper or sanding sponge, making sure to remove any flaking or peeling paint and smooth any rough spots. Do not sand too hard or too long, as this can damage the composite material. Wear a mask to prevent breathing in dust particles.

Before sanding, it is important to clean the shutters thoroughly with soap and water to remove any dirt or debris. Allow the shutters to dry completely before beginning the sanding process. It is also recommended to use a primer before painting to ensure better adhesion and a longer-lasting finish.

If you are unsure about sanding or painting your composite shutters, it is best to consult a professional. They can provide guidance on the best techniques and products to use for your specific shutters, as well as ensure a high-quality finish.

Applying Primer to Composite Shutters: Tips and Tricks

After sanding, apply a coat of primer to the shutters to help the paint adhere to the surface evenly. Use painter’s tape to protect any areas you don’t want to paint. Keep in mind that composite shutters can be challenging to repaint, so you should use an adhesion-promoting primer to ensure a successful outcome.

It’s important to choose the right type of primer for your composite shutters. Look for a primer that is specifically designed for use on composite materials. This will help to ensure that the primer adheres properly and provides a good base for the paint. Additionally, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and drying times to achieve the best results.

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Choosing the Right Paint for Composite Shutters

When choosing the right paint for your composite shutters, look for a high-quality exterior-grade paint that can withstand harsh weather conditions. The paint color should match the existing color of your shutters, and a glossy or semi-gloss finish will help protect against moisture and UV rays.

It is important to properly prepare the surface of your composite shutters before painting. Clean the shutters thoroughly and allow them to dry completely before applying any paint. You may also need to sand the surface lightly to ensure the paint adheres properly.

Consider using a primer before applying the paint to ensure better adhesion and a longer-lasting finish. Additionally, if you live in an area with high humidity or frequent rain, you may want to consider using a paint with a mold and mildew-resistant formula to prevent unsightly growth on your shutters.

Painting Composite Shutters: Step-by-Step Guide

When the primer is dry, apply the first coat of paint to your composite shutters. Use a brush or paint sprayer, paying attention to even coverage. Allow the paint to dry before applying a second coat. Repeat as necessary, following the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the drying time specified between each coat. Remove the painter’s tape only when the paint is fully dry to avoid peeling off any paint along with the tape.

It is important to choose the right type of paint for your composite shutters. Look for a paint that is specifically designed for use on composite materials, as this will ensure the best adhesion and durability. You may also want to consider using a paint with a built-in primer to save time and effort.

Before painting, make sure to clean your shutters thoroughly to remove any dirt, dust, or debris. You can use a mild detergent and water, or a specialized cleaner designed for composite materials. Allow the shutters to dry completely before applying any paint or primer.

Letting the Paint Dry: What to Expect

Composite shutters take time to dry, so be patient. Typically, it takes at least 24 hours before the paint is fully dried. Drying time varies depending on the type of paint used, the temperature, and humidity levels in the environment. Avoid touching the shutters or re-hanging them prematurely, as this can damage the fresh coat of paint.

It’s important to note that the color of the shutters may appear slightly different when wet versus when they are fully dried. This is due to the way the paint reflects light when it’s wet versus when it’s dry. Don’t be alarmed if the color looks slightly different at first, as it should dry to its intended color. If you’re unsure about the color, you can always test a small area before painting the entire shutter.

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Tips for Reinstalling Your Newly Refinished Composite Shutters

Once the shutters are fully dried, you can reattach them. Double-check the hinge alignment before screwing the shutters back into place. Take your time to ensure that the shutters hang straight, and there are no gaps between them and the window frame. Finally, remove any dust or debris caused by the refinishing process.

It is important to note that if you are not comfortable reinstalling the shutters yourself, it is best to hire a professional. They have the necessary tools and experience to ensure that the shutters are properly installed and functioning correctly. Additionally, if you notice any issues with the shutters after reinstalling them, such as difficulty opening or closing, it is important to address them promptly to avoid any further damage or safety hazards.

Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Newly Refinished Composite Shutters Looking Great

To keep your composite shutters looking great, you’ll want to take regular care of them. Inspect them periodically for any signs of wear and tear or damage. Use a mild soap solution and a soft-bristled brush to clean the shutters regularly. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaning tools that can damage the paint. If any chips or scratches appear, you can touch them up by using the same paint color and a brush. With proper care and maintenance, your composite shutters can last many years and look fantastic.

Refinishing composite shutters can seem daunting, but with the right tools, materials, and techniques, it’s an easy DIY project that anyone can tackle. Follow these steps, and you’ll have beautiful, rejuvenated shutters that add charm and personality to your home.

It’s important to note that composite shutters are more durable and resistant to moisture than traditional wood shutters. However, they still require regular maintenance to keep them looking their best. If you live in an area with high humidity or frequent rain, it’s especially important to keep an eye on your shutters and clean them more often to prevent mold or mildew growth. Additionally, if you notice any warping or bending of the shutters, it may be a sign of moisture damage and should be addressed promptly to prevent further damage.

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