When homeowners start considering ways to spruce up their windows and give them a new look, one of the most common options is fresh paint. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a pop of vibrant new color to add appeal inside and outside your home? And if your windows are looking worn, a lovely coat of paint would seem like a good option, at least at first glance.
But if you have vinyl window frames, you might want to do a little research first. Vinyl comes infused with color before installation for a reason, and it’s not an easy material to re-tint. Here’s a closer look at what happens if you try to repaint vinyl windows versus investing in replacement windows.
Can Vinyl Windows Be Painted?
Technically, yes, vinyl can be painted. But whether it can be done isn’t the real question.
A much better question for homeowners to weigh is how well vinyl handles paint, and whether it’s worth the effort. As it turns out, there are a lot of reasons it is much better not to paint vinyl. Here’s why.
1. Painting Vinyl Windows Can Void the Warranty
One key question for homeowners to consider whenever you make any home improvements is: How will this affect any existing warranties? For vinyl windows, it’s important to look carefully at the manufacturer’s fine print before doing anything.
In some cases, any painting you do to your vinyl window frames can void the warranty. If anything goes wrong with your windows, the manufacturer won’t be obliged to make fixes. That could mean you’ll end up needing new home windows anyway, and you’ll be out the money you spent on paint.
2. Vinyl Window Frames Don’t Hold Paint Well
Vinyl’s sleek surface is designed to look good upon installation, but that same shiny surface makes it extremely resistant to paint. Rather than soaking in color nicely like wood, or handling new paint well like fiber cement, vinyl repels new paint.
While there are some specialty paints that can be used on vinyl, they don’t necessarily give you the neat, long-lasting color you’re craving. Vinyl paint jobs frequently flake, peel, and chip easily. You can end up with a paint job that looks older and more worn down than it actually is, simply because the new paint won’t last long on your vinyl windows.
3. Painting Vinyl Window Frames Is a Difficult DIY Job
Compared to other materials, vinyl is a challenge to paint. First of all, you have to sand it down before painting, with at least 220-grit sandpaper or higher. This is because you’re trying to do what you can to prepare the vinyl to take paint, which essentially means you must wear down the surface in order to paint it.
After a thorough sanding, you then have to properly prime it with vinyl-specific products. Not every primer will work, nor will every paint. When you do find a paint that is approved for vinyl, you’ll need to carefully apply several thin layers, allowing a lengthy amount of time between coats if you want to increase the likelihood the paint will stick to your vinyl windows.
And given that the paint still may not adhere well, even after all these steps, the effort isn’t likely to be worth it.
4. You’ll Be Limited in the Colors You Can Choose
Some manufacturers may state in their paperwork that you can paint your vinyl window frames—but only if you use certain light colors. They may even require you to send in a paint sample for them to approve before you move forward, if you want to protect your warranty.
This is due to how vinyl responds to solar heat. Dark colors hold in heat, which can cause your vinyl window frames to warp, and the glass panes can break as a result. Your warranty isn’t likely to cover this issue, so you’ll be responsible for the cost of replacing the windows.
5. You’ll Risk a Lower Resale Value
Painting vinyl simply causes a lot of problems to the window frame, from damaging the integrity of the vinyl to lessening the lifespan of the windows. As a result, if you opt to paint vinyl windows, prospective homebuyers may be turned off and reluctant to make you an offer. Homebuyers are more likely to buy if you invest in lovely new windows that purchasers don’t have to worry about replacing anytime soon.
Know the Signs You Need New Windows
Chances are, you’re considering painting as a way to improve the windows in some way. New windows may be a better choice, especially if you’re seeing signs you may need window replacements. If your home windows perform poorly, lack features for easy cleaning and locking, or look outdated and unappealing, consider replacing them instead of painting.
Window Replacement Offers Many Advantages over Painting Vinyl Windows
New vinyl or fiberglass window frames are often a smarter choice for homeowners, and a worthy investment.
- Color Choices—You’ll be free to choose any color you want, rather than only light colors.
- Easy Repainting—If you choose fiberglass replacement windows, which handle new paint well, you can repaint anytime you choose.
- Better Resale Value—Since homebuyers find brand-new, modern windows appealing, you stand to get a great return on the investment you make in window replacement.
- Attractive Styles and Features—Today’s windows, whether vinyl or fiberglass, come with many appealing traits, such as multi-panes for better insulation, advanced locks that keep your family safer, special glass that resists shattering, and beautiful designs that allow you to customize the look of your home.
Why not start dreaming about the beauty, energy-efficient, and added value you’ll enjoy from a window replacement on your home? Check out our galleries to get started picturing how new windows can make you fall in love with your home all over again.