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Furniture Rehab and Repair

Choosing the Right Type of Paint for All Types of Materials (page 4 of 4)

Paint is the ultimate designer's medium. For only a few dollars, paint transforms nearly anything into something fresh, dazzling and new. Discover the materials that accept paint and those that you should avoid.

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Vinyl Shutters

Set up and Prep: New shutters should be wiped with mineral spirits to remove any factory-applied mold-release agents, then washed with a mild detergent. If your shutters have been outside for more than two years, you can skip the mineral spirits wipe.

Painting: Prime the shutters, using a primer specifically made for plastic and vinyl. Finish with a top-quality latex paint.

Heads up: Vinyl products are tricky to paint. Once painted, you'll want to keep your shutters undisturbed for five days in a protected location — a garage is great — to let the paint cure thoroughly. Avoid dark paint colors that absorb heat and make the vinyl expand and warp.

Vinyl Siding

Painting: The debate rages here, but the best advice is: Don't do it. A big surface area and a tricky material add up to lots of opportunities for paint failure. A lot of work for a result that could deteriorate in a year or two.


Set up and Prep: With all its cracks and crevices, the important prep for wicker furniture is to make sure it's clean. On a warm day, give the wicker piece a hard spritz with a garden hose and wipe it dry immediately. If previously painted, sand lightly to remove any gloss.

Painting: Prime with a top quality primer. Paint with exterior-grade acrylic latex paint; a brush helps get into the crevices.

Heads up: Make any repairs prior to painting.

Wood (Bare)

Set up and Prep: Sand with progressively fine sandpaper until the surface is smooth. Remove dust with a tack rag.

Painting: Coat entire surface with a stain-blocking primer. Finish with high-quality latex or oil-based paint. Sand between coats with 320-grit sandpaper.

Heads up: After priming, check to make sure any knots aren't showing through. If they are, spot prime.

Wood and Paneling (Painted or Sealed)

Set up and Prep: Clean surfaces with TSP or other non-residue cleaner. Roughen the surfaces with 150-grit sandpaper; clean off the dust with a damp rag.

Painting: Coat surfaces with stain-blocking primer. Finish with topcoats of latex paint.