I’ve been doing a lot of home improvement projects lately, so I’ve decided to blog about it since many of our readers probably have houses similar to mine, or at least built by the same developer. Therefore we probably face some of the same… ahem… issues.

My house is about 13 years old, and it’s curb appeal has been really lacking for some time. This spring I got tired of looking at it and decided to take action despite being a bit strapped for cash. So I started with the easiest and least expensive things to address- the faded vinyl shutters.

Getting the darned things down was the hardest part. Those little buttons that hold them on are only designed to go one way- in. Some of them wiggled out quite easily, but I had to borrow a pair of vice grips from a neighbor to yank the rest out. Once I had them down my toddler girl and I gave them a good scrub with some soapy water to get all the years of grime off. Then I headed to the hardware store and picked up some spray paint designed especially for use on plastic for less than $6 a can (I decided to go with black, but there are other colors available). I also had to pick up some new buttons to hold the shutters in place.

I only had six shutters to paint, but wound up going through four cans due to windy conditions. I’m sure you could get away with a lot less if you do your painting on a calm day. The end results are glossy black shutters that look new again for less than the cost of buying one new shutter, which  I found to be over $40 a piece.

Now if I can just find an economical way to rejuvenate my vinyl siding…


8 comments for “DIY in LV

  1. Sherry
    May 7, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Sarah, have the siding pressure washed. You can rent a pressure washer yourself from Home Depot or Lowes, but I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s too easy to damage your house if you don’t know what you’re doing. Just hurry up and have it done before the water rates go up . . . . 🙂

    • Sarah N
      May 7, 2011 at 3:54 pm

      I’ve actually read that you shouldn’t pressure wash vinyl siding because it pushes water up underneath. That being said, my husband did it last year :/ The siding isn’t really dirty, just faded. Apparently there is stuff you can buy to restore the color, but it’s kinda spendy.

      • Sherry
        May 8, 2011 at 9:14 am

        Yep – that’s exactly what I meant about damaging your house. Mold and mildew can build up if water gets underneath the siding. I didn’t realize you could restore the color, though. Ours is a bit faded, but since it’s a light color, it doesn’t really show (at least to me, anyway!).

        Sigh . . . the joys of owning a home.

  2. Nikki
    May 9, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    Sarah – I’ve love an update on how the color on your shutters is doing in a few weeks. Our house is 6 years old and the shutters are extremely faded. We’ve been toying with the idea of painting vs buying new (only to have them fade in less than 5 years).

    You can also get vinyl siding cleaner that attaches to your hose and will at least clean the siding. It did wonders at our house.

    • Sarah N
      May 9, 2011 at 7:22 pm

      Well, I actually finished painting the first set almost a month ago, and so far so good. I don’t expect it to fade any time soon from the reviews I’ve read. One guy wrote that he’d used it on a plastic part on his car, and it hadn’t faded after a year. I am really thrilled with the results myself.

  3. Thomas
    May 13, 2011 at 11:03 am

    I have also been trying to think of cheap ways to improve the curb appeal of my house and painting my shutters came to mind. I went to Lowes and the guy in the paint department said that if the shutters are 5 or more years old, they can probably be painted. He suggested paint specially formulated for vinyl. I was told to test a small area of the shutter and if it does not rub or chip off in 2 weeks, it should be ok. He also said that the newer shutters come 2 ways: 1) Pre colored (not paintable) and 2) plain (paintable). Apparently the ones you buy now cannot be re-painted unless you by the paintable version.

  4. Debbie Heughan
    May 15, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    A new mailbox & fresh paint on the front door with nice big house numbers help curb appeal.. As well as hanging plants over the front porch, & or some window planters full of greenery & flowers..Some fresh mulch & shaping & trimming existing shrubs.. There is a house cleaner spray you can buy to spray on your gutters & use a scrubber brush on a long pole to get the tough grime off.. Look at the outside of your house as dressing it with accessories, & keep it fresh looking…

  5. May 19, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Awesome Tutorial. This is going to be my project for this weekend! And about the siding, I found this out the hard way! The sizes Lowes carries are different to the once installed to my house. Ouch! Just think how much it would cost more for special orders? 🙁

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