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Old 01-09-2017, 10:45 AM   #1
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Painting Plantation Shutters

I just wanted to put this out there for the help of others. There's not a great deal of info out there, and its a particularly finicky job for a painting noob, and i've learnt a lot this weekend. What to do, and what not to do. I was kindly donated a bunch of plantation shutters from a friend / neighbor, on the condition i remove them. (with the same model home, so fitment is good) The only problem was, was that they were dark brown, and the wife wanted them white. Plantation shutters are unique in that there's lots of moving parts, and lots of different angles you need to come in from. I had never spray painted before, so this was completely new to me. I didn't even really know how to test if they were previously painted in an oil base of latex base. I took part of the frame over to Sherwin Williams (and others) for advice and they said i'd need to go HVLP and the existing paint was latex. Though the previous owner swore blind it was oil. Anyway, with that in mind, i bought, 3 guns (yep 3 !!!!) all air, because i have a large compressor in the corner of my garage. First was high end most expensive for Harbor Freight at least !! lol HVLP gun they do. I thought these shutters are typically expensive, why not spent a little extra on the gun. However during a little research, i realized that the 1.4 tip, was going to be too small for shooting latex. Getting a 2.0 nozzle/needle wasn't readily available, so i went back looking for an alternative solution. I came up with buy their cheap gun (again that only has a 1.4) and perhaps drill the nozzle to a 2.0mm. While there, i also noticed they sold an air spray gun that was LVLP (low vol and low pressure) again it wasn't expensive so i went ahead and bought that. Thinking i'll just start with this one and see how things pan out.

Now anyone who's worked with plantation shutters should know, that there's some logistics to take into consideration here. First off, they're big, they need to have somewhere to dry, you're going to be spray painting and that's going to make a mess (a little of that later!!!!!)

So I went about and set up a paint booth in my garage. People should be aware, i'm a fussy person with my garage. I like to keep everything squeaky clean. Dust free and well just passionate about my garage ! Anyway moving on ! The garage was set, compressor charged up, paint gun, cleaned. Painted mixed in with floetrol as per the instructions on the floetrol bottle. Did a quick test run on a couple of cardboard boxes, and dived right in !!!! What happened next was a complete disaster ! paint sprayed just about everywhere. all over the floor so that there was literally a pool of paint on the floor, that was being trodden on everywhere, it was literally dripping off the shutter. At this stage i was more than deflated. I had created a mess. Worst still, it was raining outside and the humidity was high !!! After an hour of the disastrous first attempt, i touched the paint, and it literally just came right off on my finger. Good news or bad news ? I dunno, but i took it as good news, cos the drip marks was never going to be a good thing.. so after trying to wipe off the paint, i knew it needed something more substantial.. so i literally took the entire plantation shutter outside and hosed it down (all this in the rain) and rubbed off as much paint as possible) At this stage i was arguing with the wife, (she's the one who wanted the shutters in the first place, and i was looking at ways of getting out of this mess) I said lets turn em into firewood, but lucky for me, my wife, she's pretty persistent ! and doesn't throw the towel in as easy as me when things seem to be going horribly wrong. She got on the phone to one of my buddies, who recently painted his kitchen cabinets. And asked WTF is my husband doing wrong? He came down with his $60 Amazon electric airless HomeRight C800766 Finish Max Fine Finish Sprayer

So much for all my armory of air guns !!! Anyway on his project he said he found success mixing 4:1 with water. We mixed up some paint with water, and went at it.... HOWEVER, things again just went disastrous. It sort of looked good at first... However it started raining paint off the louvers and onto the tarp protected floor. All you could hear was the pit patting of latex dropping onto the floor... Ugh, again i told the wife, look we gave it out best shot, lets throw the towel in here. But NOPE, she wasn't having any of it... We still hadn't established what was going on with the paint. Why it wasn't sticking, was the previous owner right and that it was oil, and all of the Sherwin folks just not taking into consideration that oil may of been present ? Eitherway, things were not looking good. But we did have the paint looking reasonably good on one side of the shutter, horrendous drip marks on the other, but one thing we needed to establish was, was the paint gonna stick or not ? so with it raining outside, and damp. We decided the best place to dry would be inside out home in a nice climate controlled environment. Low and behold, after an hour or so, the paint started drying and it stuck like glue !!!! First element of success achieved !

Half a day wasted, and a huge mess made, but one thing i've learned, is DONT use Floetrol, DONT expect anything to dry if its been raining, DONT waste your time on air and just spend the $60 on the electric gun, even though it doesn't say HVLP on the box ! also, given the drip marks, DONT go thick with coats and try and get one side of the shutter painted in one go ! Again, i was ready to throw in the towel, but the wife still insisted we solider on ! So we decided, ok, lets just do one thin coat at a time, bring them inside and let them dry, and just kinda get a production line going. Its going to take ages, but we'll give it a try. However the paint due to the drips on the one we just done, needed to be thicker, and i just went with 8:1 water on regular Sherwin Williams interior white latex from Lowes. (though every paint is going to have its own mix) With things starting to look better, we still had the problem of getting a large shutter out the paint booth in the garage and into the house, without getting our hands on it somehow.. Which was the case on the first couple of coats... So i came up with the idea of drilling some long screws on the top and bottom of the shutter, which wouldn't be noticeable once installed, and then we'd have something to pick them up with, and one way to stand them.. AND best of all, which i wish i had thought about this earlier as it would of saved a bunch of time, one way to stand them, with one person stabilizing with just a finger, and getting the front and back with again LIGHT COATS ONLY... But at least hitting everything with one shot. Soon as i got that down, it was amazing ! i finally started getting professional results !! I did have to completely rub down and with an electric sander, as regular heavy duty 80 grit sanding blocks wasn't doing it !! all the drip marks off all the louvers that i had initially started on. It was a pain, but had to be done ! and if you look hard enough you'll always see which two were 'the learning how to spray paint ones.' But i'm not afraid to admit it, i was a complete noob on this project. But end results are actually quite amazing all things considered. But it wasn't without a lot of paint and suffering !! Here are some pics to make sense of everything i said. Hopefully it makes life easier for someone else embarking on a similar project ! and good luck, though it may seem like its never going to work, be persistent !!! you'll quickly get the hang of it, but do remember what i said, and do use the long screws top and bottom, don't thin the paint out with floetrol, don't go over and over the same parts and have patience. You'll have to do lots of thin coats and wait for them to dry. oh before you start anything, get couple of proper breather masks and goggles. You're gonna shoot paint into the face of the person (aka the wife) holding the shutter !


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Old 01-09-2017, 11:24 AM   #2
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Re: Painting Plantation Shutters

You go dude. 👍


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