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How to paint window frames

Liven up the exterior of your home with a fresh lick of window frame paint.

Window frames are usually made of wood so you’ve got a good base to play with, although the task does require a fair bit of attention to detail. While window frame painting can be slightly tougher than painting walls and ceilings, it’s definitely possible for a DIY painter to nail the job with a little bit of know-how.

Start by checking out the window frame painting process that’ll make your windows pop:

What you’ll need

First thing's first - tools.

  • Canvas protective sheet
  • Masking tape
  • Primer
  • Filler
  • Sandpaper
  • Lick paint
  • Paintbrush - either an angled brush or a sash brush should do the trick
  • Scraper

The key to any good DIY project? The prep.

Prep and prime

Invest in a bit of time into prep and you’re guaranteed a better finish:

Start by putting a canvas sheet down in front of your window. This should catch any scraps of paint that fall to the ground and save you precious time in the post-paint cleanup stage.

Scrape off any old paint using your trusty scraper. It’s not a difficult tool to use; just dig the edge into the paint and push down into the frame to scrape. Careful not to scratch the pane itself. Oh and don’t worry if your surface isn’t free from all traces of paint - as long as you get the majority of it.

Inspect for any holes or cracks. Fill in any gaps you spot so you have a flat and smooth surface to paint over.

Sand down the window frame and any gritty patches with sandpaper, using long and sweeping strokes. This helps create a smooth surface to work on and can also help your paint stick better. Warning: don’t skip this step or you’ll end up with a bumpy finish.

Affix some masking take around the edges of the frame to create a clear divide between your coat of paint and the wall. Cover up any hinges with tape to save them from paint splatters.

Time to prime what you’ve just scraped and sanded. Using a small angled paintbrush, apply the primer in long, sweeping strokes. An angled brush gives you better access to all the little nooks and crannies and ensures that all areas properly primed. Leave the primer to dry for a few hours.

(Tip: After the scraping and sanding step, make sure you clean thoroughly to get rid of any debris. Otherwise, you’ll get bits of sawdust and paint particles interfering with your paint.)

How to do it

Time to get on to the application…

Start by loading a clean angled brush with paint. Apply in long strokes to achieve a well-blended and even finish.

Working on casement windows? Start with the frame and finish with the sill. If you’re painting sash windows, start by painting the bottom frame and wait for it to dry. Once dry, move the second frame down and repeat the process. Wait for the first coat to dry before applying a second coat.

Remove the masking tape gently while the paint is still damp. Take extra care not to damage the freshly painted surface.

Leave your newly spruced up window frame to dry overnight.


Your work here is done. Take a step back to admire your clean-as-a-whistle handywork.

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