How to Paint Exterior Wooden Windows

Updated February 21, 2017

Before you apply a coat of paint to your exterior wooden windows, know the potential pitfalls with this type of do-it-yourself project. Paint won't stick to raw wood unless the surface is conditioned to promote adhesion. In addition, you can seal your windows shut if you don't know the proper application techniques. Before you begin, prepare your wooden windows to accept paint, and know the key steps that can prevent unfortunate mishaps.

Clean the exterior wooden windows using a pressure washer.

Allow the wood to dry out completely before continuing.

Smooth rough, splintered wood by sanding it with 120-grit sandpaper. Sand along with the grain of the wooden windows, never against it.

Cover sidewalks, porches or breezeways with fabric dust sheets.

Protect surfaces adjacent to the wooden windows by covering them with painter's tape. Do not apply tape to the glass portions of the window.

Brush on a thin coat of primer using the latex brush. Do not over-apply as this can cause runs and seal the window shut. Keep as much primer off the glass as you can, but don't be concerned if some gets onto the glass.

Wait two hours for the primer to dry. Open and close the window at least three times during the drying process.

Clean the brush with water.

Apply a coat of paint to the wooden window in the same manner as you did the primer. Wait two hours for the paint to dry, and then apply an additional coat.

Wait four hours for the final coat to dry, and then scrape away the dried primer and paint from the glass using a razor blade.

Wipe off any streaking remnants of primer of paint with a rag dampened with white spirit.


If you need to use a ladder to access any of the wooden windows, be sure to read the safety instructions printed on the side before you get started. Wooden windows must be primed before painting or the finish will eventually chip and peel.


Do not scrape the paint from the windows too early. Wait at least four hours for the paint to cure. Do not use masking tape in place of painter's tape or you may see bleed-through. Only painter's tape will effectively protect surfaces from paint. Don't use masking tape or the paint may bleed underneath.

Things You'll Need

  • Pressure washer
  • Metal putty knife
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Heavy-duty fabric dust sheet
  • Blue painter's tape
  • 2-inch latex paintbrush
  • Latex bonding primer
  • Acrylic latex paint
  • Razor blade
  • White spirit
  • Rags
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About the Author

Ryan Lawrence is a freelance writer based in Boulder, Colorado. He has been writing professionally since 1999. He has 10 years of experience as a professional painting contractor. Lawrence writes for High Class Blogs and Yodle. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and public relations with a minor in history from the University of Oklahoma.