How to refinish a window

Written by kevin mcdermott
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How to refinish a window
Glory in the natural tones of your wood window surround. (

Windows surrounded in a natural wood frame can look so beautiful that it makes you wonder who in his right mind ever them with paint. In fact, that paint is sometimes covering up cheap, soft pine or some other wood that's best kept sealed. But if you believe you have a nice hardwood under that paint and you want to restore it, you can do it in a weekend.

Things you need

  • Screwdriver
  • Masking tape
  • Newspaper
  • Plastic tarpaulin
  • Wood stripper
  • Brushes
  • Heavy rubber gloves
  • Goggles
  • Steel putty knife
  • 80-grit sandpaper
  • Detail power sander
  • Tinted varish
  • Razor blades

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  1. 1

    Remove the window latch, handles and any other hardware from the window, and set them aside. Use masking tape to seal off the outer edges of the window glass wherever it touches the wood of the frame. Tape the wall around the outer edge of the frame as well. Under the sill, hang a piece of newspaper with masking tape from the wall where it meets the wood, to protect the wall from any dripping chemicals. Lay plastic tarpaulin on the floor.

  2. 2

    Open another window in the room and place an electric fan near it. Wearing your heavy rubber gloves and goggles, apply the stripper to the wood with a brush, starting from the top of the window and moving downward. Work in 30 or 60 cm (1 or 2 foot) sections, letting the stripper sit on the wood until it starts to wrinkle up, then scrape it off with your putty knife. Don't let the stripper dry in the paint.

  3. 3

    Let the stripped window dry for a few hours, then use your sandpaper to sand off any residue and expose the natural surface of the wood. For the flat surfaces of the trim, rub the paper by hand, with the grain. For corners, deep lines in the wood and other tight spots, use your detail sander. Thoroughly remove all dust.

  4. 4

    Apply your tinted varnish with a brush, in stready strokes with the grain of the wood. Cover all the exposed wood completely. Wait a day before applying a second coat, if desired.

  5. 5

    Remove the masking tape by carefully running a razor blade along the edge where the tape meets the wood, to separate any accumulated varnish, then pull up the tape. Re-install the window latch and handles.

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