First, let’s talk about what happened to your once-pristine shutters; oxidation. It occurs on just about any material that is exposed to the sun for long periods. It causes the shutter finish to become dry, dull and filmy, and depending on your location (and the quality of your shutters), oxidation can happen surprisingly fast. So can your shutters be saved?
Light Oxidation: You’re in luck – your shutters can most likely be restored to a near-new condition. There are a variety of vinyl restoration products available on the market, but the best I've found is 303 Aerospace Protectant. Just spray it on, wipe with a soft cloth, and your shutters will look (almost) as good as new. The 303 will also give your shutters UV protection, which will shield them from the elements for quite a while.
Heavy Oxidation: If your shutters are very faded and have a gritty, pitted surface, there’s not much you can do to rehabilitate them. A vinyl restoration product will improve their look slightly, but not enough to make a real difference. New exterior vinyl shutters are very affordable, so your best bet is to replace them, and treat your new shutters with a good vinyl protectant to extend their life and beauty.
Is painting an option? There are a lot of sites out there that offer instructions on how to paint your vinyl shutters, but I’d advise against it. The labor and expense involved in cleaning, sanding, priming and painting will exceed the cost of buying new shutters. And after all your hard work, the results can be very short-lived. Again, it’s best to just invest in new vinyl shutters. If you have a custom paint color in mind, orderpaintable vinyl shutters and you’ll know they'll give you a smooth, long-lasting finish.
The best option, of course, is to purchase outdoor vinyl shutters with UV stabilized, molded-through color. They're truly maintenance-free, and won't chip, flake or fade like ordinary painted exterior shutters. Choose the right vinyl shutters, and they'll treat you to fade-free beauty for years to come.