DIY Staining Vinyl Windows

Vinyl windows are preferred by many homeowners because they do not warp or rot. However, many find their appearance cheap-looking and unattractive. To give your windows a more natural appearance, you can finish them with stain. Since vinyl windows are nonporous, they cannot absorb liquid stains. Fortunately, you can use a thick gel stain to add color to the vinyl. Apply the gel, using the correct tool and techniques, or the resulting finish may look uneven.

Things You'll Need

  • Water-based degreasing soap
  • Coarse nylon pad
  • Rags
  • Towels
  • Professional painter's tape
  • Drop cloth
  • Gel stain
  • 2-inch china paintbrush
  • Shop rags
  • Mineral spirits

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Wash your vinyl window with soap, using a nylon pad. Water-based soaps tend to leave less residue behind. Avoid soaps that have harsh chemical cleaning agents.

Rinse your vinyl window with wet rags. Dry the vinyl with towels.

Cover the part of the wall directly adjacent to the vinyl with painter's tape. Professional painter's tape will protect the wall without damaging the underlying paint upon removal.

Place a canvas drop cloth beneath the window. Lay another drop cloth on top for added protection.

Apply gel stain to the vinyl window using a 2-inch china brush. Let the gel sit against the vinyl for 3 to 6 minutes. Wipe the gel from the window using shop rags.

Wash the gel from the china brush using mineral spirits.

Let the stained vinyl window dry for 2 hours. Repeat the application process for a darker finish.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you accidentally get gel stain on the window glass, use a rag dampened with mineral spirits to clean it.
  • Never attempt to stain a vinyl window using liquid stains; this will lead to poor absorption and messy runs. Gel stains are thick. This trait allows them to sit against the vinyl for longer periods of time, a quality that allows for even, thorough staining.
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