DIY Staining Vinyl Windows

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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

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.


Step 1

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.

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Step 2

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

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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


Step 5

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.

Step 6

Wash the gel from the china brush using mineral spirits.

Step 7

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


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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