How to paint wooden window frames

Updated April 17, 2017

A window frame that has chipped, cracked or faded paint can make a house look older. A quick paint job on old window frames can improve your home's appearance. Or if you found a trendy colour that you love but you aren't sure about painting the entire room, transform wooden window frames with it instead. A bright window frame can be the right burst of colour for a room. Painting window frames isn't as difficult as you may think if you prepare correctly.

Remove any chipped or flaking paint, using a scraper. If the window has dust or dirt, use water and soap to clean it. Allow to dry for several hours.

Apply putty or wood filler to fix any cracks or small holes in the frame, using a putty knife. Allow this filler to dry as recommended by the manufacturer.

Sand the window frame with medium-grit sandpaper until you have an even surface to work with. Use a tackcloth to remove sanding debris.

Paint the wood beside the glass, using a tapered sash paintbrush. Apply paint so that the narrow edge of the paintbrush is facing toward the window frame. Allow the paint to overlap about 1.5 mm (1/16 inch) on the glass so that condensation doesn't cause the paint to peel.

Wrap a rag tightly around a putty knife and hold the rag in place with your hand. Remove any excess paint off the glass with the wrapped putty knife. Always rewrap the putty knife with a clean side of the rag each time you want to remove excess paint.

Paint the sashes with slow, even strokes, using interior paint and a paintbrush. Allow to dry for at least 24 hours. If you can't remove the sashes, raise and lower them until you reach all the corners and crevices of the window. If you can't remove the sash from the window, avoid getting any paint between the sash and window frame because it will be difficult to open once the paint is dry.

Paint the horizontal muntins, vertical muntins, stiles, and top rail and bottom rail of a double-hung wooden window. Follow that exact order as you paint the window. If you are painting a casement window, paint the top rails, bottom rails, and finally the stiles and casing.

Things You'll Need

  • Scraper
  • Putty
  • Sandpaper
  • Tackcloth
  • Paintbrush
  • Interior paint
  • Putty knife
  • Rag
  • Soap and water
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