Vinyl Top Paint – Painting Upholstery, Soft Roof, and Furniture

As durable as vinyl is, like every other material, it will begin to deteriorate at some point. When this happens, all you have to do is give your vinyl surface a new paint job using vinyl paint.

Vinyl paint is easy to apply because it is water-based. It contains resins making it more resilient to damage.

For a wood project, you don’t want to use emulsion vinyl as it is not durable enough for interior wooden trims like doors or cupboards. Go for adhesive vinyl or HTV. HTV looks more like paint when applied with heat. Adhesive vinyl, on the other hand, has a sticker-like glossy look.

Painting Upholstery

Painting on a vinyl-top upholstery can be quite tricky if you do not know what to expect. For instance, painting on vinyl seating that is padded firmly may have a better finish than painting on a vinyl top that is expected to flex a lot.

Since vinyl is technically plastic, we recommend using spray paint for a vinyl top upholstery. The spray paint should be specifically for plastic projects. You could also opt for a fabric spray paint which is very effective but more expressive.

How to Paint a Vinyl Upholstery

  • Work Area

First, you need to take the furniture somewhere secluded. This way, the fumes from the vinyl paint will not disturb other people. You may also want to spread some rags under the furniture to protect the work area from getting stained.

  • Clean the Furniture Thoroughly

With the aid of a grease cleaner, you can clean the furniture thoroughly. You should wait for it to dry completely after cleaning.

  • Apply a Thin Base Coat to the Furniture

Make sure to use paint that adheres to the vinyl top as well as one that matches your choice of color. Remember to aim the spray a bit off the furniture’s edge and move the vinyl spray around the surface gently. This will help you avoid paint pooling.

  • Let the Base Coat Dry

The base coat should be thin. The thinner the coats of paint are, the better it is for your vinyl. Also, making sure that each coat is thin enough prevents cracks. After applying the base coat, make sure to wait until the coat is completely dry.

  • Add the Extra Layers

Once the base coat is dry, you can paint another thin coat over it. Wait for the new coat to dry completely and then you can apply another coat. This part usually takes a long time because of the need to wait for the vinyl paint to dry up between all 3 coats.

It is another reason you need to take your furniture somewhere secluded. This way, no one disturbs your work area until you are done.

How to Paint Vinyl Furniture (Wall or Door)

Painting vinyl top furniture can be done with spray paint or by hand. Since we already talked about using spray paint for upholsteries. We will talk about painting by hand here.

However, before painting, you need to repair the damages on the furniture (if any). You will get the best result if you clean the furniture and repair the damages before painting.

You could fill any scratches on the wood with wood filler and make sure to use a knife to smooth the area so it is level with the rest of the surface.

If the furniture has been damaged by water, remove the damaged area and fill the space with wood filler. If the damage is too big to fill, you could simply replace the whole area.

Another thing you want to do before painting is sand the area you plan on painting. Once you are done with the repairs, you’ll need to sand the furniture, especially if the furniture has a glossy finish.

Vinyl paint may not be able to stick to a glossy surface, so you don’t skip this process.

The goal is to use the right grit sandpaper to remove the gloss on the furniture. Remember not to sand off the vinyl. Simply lightly sand the surface to allow the vinyl paint to adhere to the furniture.

  • Work Area

As much as you need a work area with little or no disturbance, you also need to consider the weather and the temperature and humidity level. If you plan on working outdoors, you should choose a day with low humidity and little wind.

Also, avoid painting a vinyl top in the heat as the paint could get damaged. Since you will be working for 3-4 days or more, don’t forget to double-check the weather for the next few days. You may want to do your painting where there is a shade, to be safe.

  • The Right Paint. 

Some types of vinyl are expansive, so you should go for paints that contain ingredients that suit this nature such as acrylic and urethane resins. You want to go for a paint that has a lighter shade because darker paints tend to warp when exposed to heat.

  • Protective Gear. 

After getting the tools for painting such as paint brushes, a paint tray, a ladder, masking tape, and so on, you also need to get protective gear.

Wearing protective gear and a face mask protects you from inhaling toxic paint fumes as well as protects your body from being covered in paint. You could also wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from paint.

  • Cover the Floor

After wearing your protective gear, put some old clothes around the door or wall you plan on painting. This is simply to prevent paint from staining those areas. You could also put masking tapes on parts of the surface you don’t want to paint.

  • Fill Paint Try

The next step is to fill your paint tray with a substantial amount of paint. Remember not to overfill the paint tray with paint to avoid making a mess. You can always refill the paint tray during painting.

  • Dip Your Brush. 

Dip or roll your brush in the paint (depending on what you are painting) and apply your first coat on the vinyl furniture’s surface. Wait for it to dry and add at least one more coat.

Painting a Vinyl Soft Roof

Many cars have their soft roofs made of vinyl and over time, they begin to fade and look old or washed. This is more so if the vinyl originally had a lighter color like tan or beige. If your vinyl soft roof begins to fade, there is the option of replacing it.

You could always get a new one installed. However, that may cost way more than necessary. If the soft roof is not torn, there is the smarter option of simply repainting it.

Repainting the roof makes it look good as new and you could also repaint it with any color of your choice. We recommend a darker color that will take a longer period to fade or get dirty.

Here are some steps to painting a vinyl soft roof:

  • Clean the Soft Roof with Soap and Water

You have the option of using a cleaner or even your dishwashing liquid soap. The objective is for you to use mild soap. You could do your cleaning with a detailing mitt and enough water.

Use a brush that has a soft bristle to scrub the soft roof, removing any dirt or stain mark that could be on it. Once you are done cleaning, you need to wait for 24 hours for the top to dry before painting.

  • Use Masking Tapes

Since you plan on painting just the soft roof and not the whole car, we recommend covering the windows and every other thing near the soft roof. You don’t want paint all over your car.

Also, you want to put on something you won’t care about getting stained while working, like old clothes or protective gear. For your hands, you should wear gloves.

  • Soft Brush

If you are applying by hand, make sure to follow the instructions on the paint’s package. Since it’s a soft roof, we recommend using a soft paintbrush to paint. Remember to paint in one direction so you can get a neat result.

  • Wait For it to Dry 

Once you are done with the first coat, wait for it to dry and apply at least one more coat. We recommend two extra coats for the best results. You could wait for a day and come back to apply a weather-proofing product of your choice.


Painting a vinyl top requires time and energy due to the necessary boxes that have to be ticked while painting. With the guide provided above, you should be able to paint a vinyl top, whether upholstery, furniture, or soft roofs. Remember to make use of the right tools and exercise the necessary cautions while painting.