Remove shutters from window. marking your shutters

Your first step should be to remove the shutters from your windows.  As you remove each shutter, use a pencil to number each panel on the top edge.  This will make it much easier once the panels have been painted, and you begin putting them back up. The hardware may look like it is in the same position on all your panels, but this is an illusion.  Minor differences do exist. Not putting the panels back where they originated from will cause alignment problems.

Remove Hardware.

Please do not try to paint around the hardware or mask it off. A much better paint job will be attained by spending a little time removing all of the hardware.  Assess your hardware. If it is in poor condition, you may want to think about replacing it. Place all your screws and hardware in a container so you do not lose them ! 
Clean your shutters before painting. Liquid Sander

Before painting anything, you will want to prepare the surface of your plantation shutters. In most cases, the shutters will need to be cleaned. Surfaces that contain dust, dirt, or grease will increase the chances that the paint will not stick. For this step, we recommend using a Liquid Sander which can be purchased at your local hardware store. Liquid Sander cleans and degreases the surface of the shutters. The Liquid Sander also chemically sands the surface of the shutters.  This is important because paint has a hard time adhering to slick surfaces. Using a Liquid Sander is much easier and faster than using sandpaper and elbow grease.

sad face

Prime your shutters to avoid a disaster.

After cleaning and de-glossing, and before painting, we recommend priming. Applying a water based paint on top of an oil based paint, or vice-a-versa is asking for trouble. That is why we recommend first applying a water based primer after cleaning/de-glossing before you paint your plantation shutters. These water based primers are designed to stick to what is already on your shutters, and create a surface that your paint will readily adhere to.

paint brush

What NOT to use.

We DO NOT recommend using a brush to paint your shutters. There are very small gaps at the end of each louver and the shutter frame.  Applying a latex or oil based house paint with a brush can fill these gaps. When the paint dries in-between these gaps, your shutter will no longer operate smoothly. Worst case, you will not be able to move the louvers at all. If this is not reason enough, using a brush will take forever and the results will be disappointing.


Spray Paint your plantation shutters.

Although limited with color selection, the best painting method for the average homeowner, is to apply your primer and paint using a spray can. With the right technique, you can get as good a finish as the pros do that use very expensive HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure) spray systems.

Set-up and Spray Technique.

hanging shutter

Make sure you are in a well ventilated area, and wear a mask. Hang the shutter by screwing two eyehooks into the top of the shutter. Tie a string from these hooks to a support of your choice. This will give you  both front and back access to the shutter.

When priming or painting your plantation shutter, it is important to utilize the correct technique to achieve the best results. If you have never applied paint with a spray can before, we suggest you find a scrap piece of wood or cardboard in order to make a couple of practice sprays. First shake the spray can vigorously for about 1 minute until you hear the metal ball that is in the can rattle. You will need to periodically continue to shake the can while you paint. The first mistake people make is holding the can in one position when spraying. You must keep the can moving anytime you are spraying.  With the can approximately 10-12 inches from the shutter surface, move the can smoothly either horizontally or vertically, THEN depress the spray nozzle. When ready to stop spraying, release your finger from the spray nozzle while the can is still moving. We do not recommend a back and forth motion as most directions state on the can. Rather go in one direction then spray. For instance, start moving the can, then start spray, then stop spray, then stop moving can.  Remember, anytime you are spraying, the can should be moving. 

Remember, we are using a spray can because there are some really tricky parts to a shutter that do not lend themselves to brushing. These 3 areas are:

  • inside stiles
  • ends of louvers / slats
  • area of louvers directly behind tilt rod 

Inside Stiles.

The stiles are the vertical parts of the shutter frame which hold the louvers. If your shutters were constructed correctly, there will be a very small gap between the stile and the louver (approx. 1/32"). Usually during the course of spraying your shutter panel, there is enough overspray created that will lightly coat the inside of the stiles. If the old color is a major change from the new color,  you may find it necessary to directly apply  primer and paint to the inside of the stile. If so, position the louvers in the full open position. Lightly spray the inside of the stile from the front, then from the back side of the panel. Next, position the louvers up at approximately a 45 degree angle, and lightly spray the inside of the stile as previously described. Lastly, position the louvers approximately 45 degrees in the down position and spray the inside stile again. DO NOT apply heavy coats when spraying, it is not necessary. Multiple light coats and patience will produce the best results with no drips.

Ends of louvers / slats.

Position the louvers in the full open position.  There are 4 areas where the louver extends forward and behind the shutter frame.  Position yourself so you are facing the side of the panel.  From top to bottom use one fluid vertical motion to lightly spray all the louver ends in each of the 4 sections.  Do not spray each louver individually at their ends by holding the can motionless.  Doing so may lead to excessive primer/paint buildup.

Area of louvers directly behind tilt rod.

Before we spray the area of louvers directly behind the tilt rod we will want to spray the front of the tilt rod.  Position the louvers full open. From top to bottom use one fluid vertical motion to lightly spray the front of the tilt rod.  Next, move the louvers approximately 45 degrees in the up position. Roll the tilt rod to the left.  From top to bottom use one fluid vertical motion to lightly spray the louvers directly behind the tilt rod. When doing so, you will also be spraying the left side of the tilt rod. Next, roll the tilt rod to the right and repeat spray process.  Finally, move the louvers approximately 45 degrees in the down position and repeat the spray process.

Louvers / Slats.

Lets start with the back side of the panel. Position the louvers approximately 45 degrees up.  From top to bottom use one fluid vertical motion to lightly spray the left and right area of louvers that are adjacent to the stile.  Next, from left to right use one fluid vertical motion to lightly spray each louver. When doing so, first start moving the spray can, then begin spraying from the beginning to the end of each louver.  When spraying the louvers on the front side of the panel, treat the area of louvers left and right of the tilt rod as two separate sections. When moving the spray can from left to right do not spray over the tilt rod.