How to Prep the Windows in Your Home for Painting

the Windows in Your Home for Painting

If you’re trying to give a brand new look to your window treatments, a fresh layer of paint can be just the thing to bring the whole room’s look together. However, it’s not just a simple matter of slapping on a new coat. There’s a lot of hard work that goes into making your windows look their best, especially when you’re undertaking a potentially messy painting job. Whether you’re trying to protect your home’s windows from paint splatter, shield your Andersen patio doors from the mess, or applying a long-wearing coat of paint to make your interiors stand out that much more, you’ll need to know the basics of priming and prepping for a paint job. Here are a few quick tips to follow for prepping your windows.

Clean, Clean, Clean

No matter how much paint you apply to a surface, it’s not going to do you any good if you’re painting over a dusty, dirty windowsill. As with most home improvement projects, the first step is to clean every possible nook and cranny to make sure every surface is as smooth and spotless as it can possibly be before applying primer. This would be the time to take out your smaller hardware tools, like a small sander, buffer, and toothbrush, and really get deep into the grime. You’ll want to take your time dusting and cleaning since this might end up being a job that lasts a few days, especially if you’re painting all of your windows at once. While cleaning, take the time to assess your window’s condition and make a note of any issues you should return to after painting. For instance, if you notice the wood is starting to warp or that your insulation needs to be refreshed, put it on a list of future weatherproofing home improvement projects.


When trying to make your window’s surface paint-ready, you’ll need to clear out a lot more than the usual dust and dirt buildup. If you’ve been regularly weatherstripping your home windows, you’ll be dealing with layers of old caulking and glazing, as well as old paint from your last painting job. If anything looks like it’s going to get in the way of you painting over a clean, smooth surface, take your scraper and scrape it all away. Be thorough while scraping, and make sure you’re not going at it too hard. If you’re dealing with a more sensitive window, try not to end up chipping away at the window’s wood base while clearing out the old layers of gunk. Because of the sensitive nature of the job, a smaller tool is recommended, as well as a few sheets of fine sandpaper for smoothing out any other imperfections.


Next, you’ll need to start caulking. If you’ve been making a note of the areas where you just scraped off old caulking, it’s now time to go back to those areas and put a fresh line down. This won’t just help you with your painting job. It will also help you firm up potential drafts and leaks in your windows while creating a stronger base. With older windows, rainwater and moisture can often get caught in the area between the window’s opening and the sill. It’s especially important to pay attention to this area while cleaning and to re-caulk the window’s base so that none of this moisture is able to seep through and ruin your paint job. If you’re working with wood, this is also a good time to repair your window’s glazing so that moisture doesn’t get a chance to rot your wood after painting. This task is a bit more time-consuming since a new glazing job needs to sit for about two weeks before being painted over. If you’ve been doing everything far in advance, you’ll be able to do this as your last step before priming and still have plenty of time to complete your job in a short period of time.


Finally, you’re ready to prime for your paint job. This is by far the easiest part of your project. You can use your primer with a large brush for broader strokes, or you can use it with a more delicate brush if you need to spot treat certain areas. If you’ve had to re-sand a lot of the wood, you may need more than one coat of primer. See how the primer dries down to figure out whether you need to re-prime. Once you’ve put down all your primer and allowed it to dry, you’re ready to repaint your windows.