Painting Windows

This story shows you how to properly paint a window.

Painting a Window

Many people think of painting as something anyone can do. But don't take the job lightly -- painting mistakes can cause plenty of window problems. Take the time to learn how to do the job right.

Preparation is vital. New windows should be sanded and primed. If the surface of an old window is rough because of paint buildup or other causes, new paint will not correct the situation. Scrape and sand as needed until the surface looks and feels smooth.

A coat of paint may hinder the window from closing easily. Before painting, scrape or sand until the window works well, then sand some more to allow for the new paint's thickness.

To make sure the new paint will stick, sand all surfaces first. (A coat of primer will also ensure stickability, but the extra paint thickness can pose problems on an old window.) Whenever you apply paint you will create a slight ridge. To ensure a smooth surface, aim to always maintain a wet edge.

Prestart Checklist

Time
About 2 hours to lightly sand and paint a medium-size window; more time if extensive sanding is needed

Tools
High-quality paintbrush (a 2- or 2 1/2-inch tapered brush is useful), solid and foam sanding blocks, paint scrapers, straight razor blades, razor-blade scraper, putty knife

Skills
Painting is a skill that you can learn in a couple of hours if you work carefully.

Prep
Protect the floor with drop cloths. For high windows use a stable ladder.

Materials
Sandpaper, wood filler, paint, primer

Step 1

Sand all the surfaces smooth. When sanding molding profiles use a foam sanding block or a loose piece of sandpaper. If you have heavy paint buildup, scrape first with a pull-type paint scraper or use a heat gun or chemicals to strip the paint.

Step 2

Start near the glass. Load the brush on one side only and hold the full width of the bristles against the wood as you work. Lap the paint slightly onto the glass.

Step 3

While the paint is still wet, press a straight razor blade flat against the glass and scrape alongside the wood (but not tight against the wood). This will make a straight paint line and will force the paint to seal the joint between the wood and the glass.

Step 4

Working to maintain a wet edge, paint the sides of the sashes next. Finish with long, slow strokes to produce a smooth surface.

Step 5

Do not force paint into the crack between a moveable sash and the frame, or it will be difficult to move the sash. Periodically move the sashes up and down to make sure they are not painted shut. Use a putty knife rather than your fingers to avoid marring the paint job.


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