DIY, Outdoors, Painting, Saving Money
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Let’s talk about white UPVC (and how to paint it)

Painting UPVC

I know a lot of you guys hate your own white UPVC, because you were all messaging me this week on Instagram when I was sharing my recent DIY project on Insta Stories. I’m not the only hater out there it seems.

Once the talk of the town, white UPVC doors and windows revolutionised the whole glazing and door industry back in the 80’s. Maintenance free, double glazed units were fitted in nearly every house and home in the country. However, it seems there’s not a lot people out there that still want their white plastic frames and doors. Not in their current state anyway. Including me.

There I am standing in front of my door, fake laughing for a MADE.COM shoot. Praying they won’t use this one as i’m so embarrassed by the front of our house. I’m super proud of what we’ve managed to do inside our little 3 bed semi, but the outside was always last on the list. And this year is the year for that.

If you remember, we’d already started on the outside at the back of the house with our new aluminium sliding door that was fitted earlier this year.

Graphite Black Ral 9011 Aluminium Sliding Door

New Aluminium Sliding Door

The old French doors that were previously in this space were binned… but not all of it.

No, we saved the two vertical window panes, flipped them 90 degrees and have re-used them in our new garden workshop.

But they were white, and these are black!?

Yeah I know. Guess what we did. We took the panes of glass out, so we just had the frames and bought some of this…

A couple of coats, a day to dry and it was time to fit the windows in our new garden building.

Ta-da!

The finish is super matt, a really good solid colour and hasn’t chipped or dinked throughout the rest of the workshop build. Spraying them black saved us about £250 on two new windows, so it was defo worth a punt and I think they’ve turned out great considering they were going to the tip.

Ok, so now onto the front door. What I’d really love is this:

Kuppe Black Satin Composite Door (NO WOOD GRAIN EFFECT) by Endurance Doors

I don’t know why it’s to hard to find a black composite door that doesn’t have that damn wood grain in, but it is. This range by Endurance Doors are meant to resemble aluminium doors, but without the risk of scratching that you get with aluminium. We know we want to upgrade our windows to black aluminium eventually (it seems we can afford about one a year at the mo) so the door needs to tie in with the windows. The Kuppe in black satin is defo on my wish-list, but for now, as we’re skint and this costs £1k fitted, it was time for me to flex my DIY muscles.

I was going to be brave and paint our white, UPVC door, black. It would have been sooooo much easier if I could have sprayed it black, like our old window frames, but that involved taking the door off its hinges which hubby wasn’t keen on doing. The spray paint also took quite long to dry and we needed to be able to lock up for bedtime, so ya know, I was limited with what I could use.

After lots of research, and Zinsser coming up trumps in the comments, time and time again in my most read post ever: “What’s going on with paint” I went straight to the Zinsser website and found this:

Zinsser Allcoat Exterior Satin in Black

Zinsser AllCoat ® Exterior is an ultimate performance, mould resistant paint that offers supreme protection to all exterior surfaces: wood, metal, masonry, plastic, concrete and cladding. It forms a vapour-permeable, low maintenance, water-shedding coating that is recoatable in 1 hour.

Available in white, black and a selection of bases that can be tinted to any colour, the paint is self priming and can be applied to previously painted surfaces without sanding, even glossy paints or those coated with bitumen, tar varnish or creosote. For most jobs, there is no need to purchase a seperate primer.

Sold!

I followed the instructions to the letter (first time ever i’ve actually read anything on a paint can) in order to get the best results I could. I was pretty nervous painting UPVC, mainly as EVERYONE and his dog could see me as they walked past. Oh ma gawd, what if I made a total arse of it?

What if crowds would gather, point and laugh at how ridiculous I was for trying to paint plastic. And what if the local gazette came around and I made the front page news for being the biggest idiot in the whole god damn town? 

And whilst thinking all of those things for approximately 40 minutes, i’d already done my first coat of paint and left it to dry for an hour as per the instructions.

I can see already here where I made some mistakes. But ya know it’s the first time i’ve used this stuff and painted a bloomin plastic door, so I won’t be too hard on myself. But once the hour had passed, the door was indeed dry and ready for its second coat.

And again:

What if crowds would gather, point and laugh at how ridicu…. 

And 40 minutes later it was done.

Want to see what it looked like the next day?

Whadya think?

For reference, this stuff dries VERY QUICKLY. There’s not much working time so it’s hard to keep the brush strokes clean and in the same direction, especially on a fancy pants door like this one with curves and mouldings.

There are a few areas where I over worked the paint a little too much. So with a very fine grit paper and I mean fine, I lightly sanded over the top coat once it was fully dry and removed some of the ridges.

It was then given a third coat to try and even out the direction of some of the brush strokes. The brush marks actually make it look more like a wooden door, so I don’t mind them so much. But if you are wanting a super flat finish on your door, don’t use this paint with a brush, because you’ve not got a cat in hells chance of it drying without visible brush strokes.

I didn’t paint the frame, as we still have our white UPVC windows, so want to keep some continuity for now…. but I tell you what, i’m not half tempted to start painting the window frames now. Especially as i’ve nearly got a whole tin of this stuff left. Must. Be. Patient.

So I hope that’s helpful to some of you out there hating on your own front doors. I felt as though we had nothing to lose by painting ours as I know we’ll be getting a new one eventually anyway. But I know some of you mentioned you were nervous to do it and I get that. But if I can do it, so can you.

Pin me for later!

I will be sure to write an update on the door in the next couple of months and let you know how it’s faired. Because that’s the real test isn’t it? Does the paint chip, scratch, peel or bubble? Will let you know asap. Because sharing is caring 🙂


UPDATE 4th April 2019 – I’m getting loads of messages about how our door has held up, so here you go: It’s still looking great and we have no regrets about painting it at all. A couple of things I would do differently next time is:

  • not paint it on a really hot day (one of the reasons the paint was drying so quickly and leaving brush marks)
  • use the matte finish not satin. But that’s more of a personal preference nothing to do with how it’s holding up.

Good luck with your own door sprucing everyone!

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38 Comments

  1. Jill says

    The door looks really good altho I think the cleverest bit is turning your old doors round to make windows 🙂 Did you consider using the Zinsser primer then an ordinary paint on top or doesn’t that work on upvc? Probably more expensive as well I guess…

    • Karen Knox says

      I did consider that first and I reckon it would work just as well tbh. I just went with this as it was simpler than buying two pots of paint. I’m hoping to do my interior soon so will be experimenting with a colour inside soon 🙂

  2. Zoe says

    Hi Karen, these look fab. I’m really keen to know how it holds up in the Sun. I was planning on doing mine a lovely dark grey but then was warned about using a dark colour as it would absorb heat and potentially damage the UPVC, which was made to be white and reflect heat. I really want to go for it, but don’t want to bugger up the windows either 😳😳

  3. Zoe says

    Hi Karen, looks fab. Love to know how it holds up in the sun. Having researched doing mine a while ago I was advised to avoid dark colours as they absorb the heat and the UPVC white is designed to reflect it, so they may warp, crack or generally fail. Can’t afford for that to happen so have put it on hold, but may attempt it as a trial on the hubster’s workshop…😳

    • Andrew Jones says

      I painted a window in anthracite grey. 12 months ago and it still looks good. Definitely not faded at all.

  4. It’s great to see now there are good options to paint uPVC. My uPVC front door came prepainted forest green. Even though I don’t hate it I may have to update it in a few years (or fit a reclaimed one!)

  5. Anonymous says

    Great job! We have wooden windows as live in conservation area with wooden bars inside and out that divide window into’lites’ – these are so fiddly to paint and the paint seems to age so much quicker than on the actual window frames – out there literally every year and we have 24 windows 😱. Am thinking I could replace the bars with UPVC and paint them same colour as windows … what do you reckon? Cxx

  6. Martha says

    Your door looks fab! Just wondering if you used any sort of primer before jumping straight in with the black?

  7. Michelle Turner says

    I’ve just applied it to the upvc fascia around the top of my bay window. The first coat went on much the same as your door, but the second coat looked fab. I had enough left over to do a third coat, so I went for it. Fingers crossed it holds up during the winter.

  8. Hannah says

    Amazing!!! I hate our brown door and would love to paint it grey! What size paint tub did you use to do the door please? Did you just do the outer, or inside too?

    • Karen Knox says

      Just get the smallest you can, I have about 9/10 of a can left just from doing the outside!

  9. Rose Tope says

    Can you get the paint in a light green would love to do my front door builder gave me price of £250 which I can’t afford.can you buy the paint from a paint shop.Taskers or B an Q ?

    • Karen Knox says

      You can get it mixed in any colour, I’ve had 4 other colours mixed in this stuff at Brewers. They deliver too!

  10. Janine says

    WOW! Looks fantastic! I’m definitely going to try this soon – hate the sight of my brown UPVC door. Just started following you on Instagram..searching for inspiration for living room fire place 🤔

  11. Hi, it looks wonderful but I have a clumsy husband, can or will the paint work scratch off e.g front door keys and show the old door colour underneath? If so, how can this be repaired without looking like an obvious repair? Also how do you clean the door from daily grime buildup? Many Thanks

    • Karen Knox says

      No chips, scratches or dinks at all. It’s holding up brilliantly! If we needed to re-paint it again in the future, i’d simply sand it back and paint it again, like you would with any wooden painted door.

  12. Laura says

    This looks amazing, can’t wait to say goodbye to my white front door! Thanks for sharing 😊

  13. The door looks really good altho I think the cleverest bit is turning your old doors round to make windows 🙂 Did you consider using the Zinsser primer then an ordinary paint on top or doesn’t that work on upvc? Probably more expensive as well I guess…

    • Karen Knox says

      I know others who have done that and it’s worked just as well. You can also have the paint I used mixed in any colour and finish. I’ve got 3 more pots for future projects 🙂

  14. robert says

    Hi Karen,
    We have dark brown UPVC frames. Wanting to paint the insides white – would this paint work when going to a lighter colour do you think?
    Rob

    • Karen Knox says

      Yes absolutely! Try out on a piece of dark plastic first perhaps, but I have no doubt it would do the job!

  15. Caroline says

    Karen, I never thought of painting my uPVC front door, that is until now. I thought I would have to change the door to fit the colour theme my house is now since it was painted outside. Thanks very much for the article and stand by for operation door paint.

  16. Heather says

    Hi Karen – Did you paint the edge of the door (where the lock comes out) or did you leave that white? Finding this post has been a god send. Thank you so much for sharing and including helpful photos (especially the streaky brush lines on the first coat).

    Wish Brewers was open today! 🙂

    • Karen Knox says

      Oh no, didn’t paint that bit, would have been a bit of a nightmare to do that bit. Just the external side of the door… for now. Good luck! 🙂

  17. Anna says

    It looks fab. Did you ever paint the rest of your windows? I have some ugly white UPVc windows I want to paint them to match my door (dark grey). As I won’t be taking them appart would you recommend the paintyou used for your Door or the spray paint you used on the windows you recycled?

    • Karen Knox says

      No never did the windows (we’re having new ones fitted soon). You’ll need to paint your windows if they’re in situ. There are companies that mask everything up and spray the frames, but it’s a pretty big job. Good luck!

  18. Anonymous says

    We recently moved and our front door was exactly like yours!I found your pictures and write up and that made my mind up to purchase the pain,as you did I read and followed the instructions thoroughly!!my outcome is not at all like yours it looks a complete mess😭,I have contacted the seller and I’m awaiting reply

    • Heather says

      Did you use a reasonable quality new brush and stir the paint up well? Did you keep a wet edge? Was the door clean of dirt / bits before starting?

      What do you mean by it looks a complete mess? Can you upload photos?

      Anything can be rectified … a quick sand down and going at it again will bring it up fine. Zinsser is really good so unlikely that is the issue … so helpful to understand better what you experienced in applying the two coats..

    • Karen Knox says

      Well this is the first i’ve had anyone feed this back to me. Hard to advise without seeing it, but as Heather says, if it’s that bad, let the current coat cure for a few days to fully harden, get it all sanded back, purchase the paint from Brewers and give it another couple of coats. Good luck!!

  19. Katie says

    The perfect article I’ve been searching for regarding some second hand white doors I’ve bought really cheap but don’t want white, thank you so much 😊

  20. Sara says

    Amazing transformation! Looks great! Have you found that the paint chips/scrapes away after bad weather? I’m looking to paint my exterior window frames next week 🙂

    • Karen Knox says

      Yep. I decided against it with this door as there were too many moulded details so needed a brush for those anyway. For a flat panel door, roller away!

  21. Anonymous says

    Just a quick point as a decorator I have painted many smooth surfaces and I find that the paint is best applied using a sponge or short pole roller. This gives a very slight dimple effect on the door or surface and eliminates brush strokes leaving a much better finish.

  22. Martin Taylor says

    looks great and thanks for the excellent blog. Two questions, does it scratch? how tough does that paint adhere to the plastic?

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