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How to Paint Windows Like a Pro – Home Renovation Update #9

We’re moving along with our home renovation, working on painting the windows. It may sound easy, but it’s more than just adding a coat of paint. Read on to find out how to paint windows like a pro so they’ll last for years to come.

How to paint windows like a pro

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We are moving along with our home renovation. We’ve updated the wiring to the bathroom and put the outlet where it’s supposed to be. It was just hanging out on the left side of the vanity, which was hard to use since I’m right-handed. That usually meant the cord to my straight iron was either going across the sink or hanging down where it would get stuck on the cabinet doorknobs. Very frustrating.

The light switches were also changed out so they’re updated now. I don’t like messing with wires and anything electrical. Luckily my husband knows what he’s doing, but it still makes me nervous.

Bathroom outlets

Since my husband has a huge project going on at work right now, he can’t take any days off so we can finish up the bathroom. So my bathroom is still a mess with no walls and no sink.

If you’ve been following our home renovation for a while you probably remember that the bathroom is where we started with our renovation in April last year. Unfortunately, so many things have put a stop to that. So now almost a year later it’s still in the same condition. (You can read more about the bathroom in my first renovation post here.)

While we’re waiting to finally finish the bathroom, we’ve been working on smaller projects. One of those projects is painting the living room window, which is pretty big. It took two days to complete this project. Mainly because we got started so late on day one and because of drying times.

When we do projects around the house, my husband does a lot of research first. This way we can do the project all in one go without mistakes and having to stop to find out what to do next. The whole process goes faster and smoother this way.

If there’s anything I’ve learned during this whole home renovation process it is to take your time, do your research, and have tons of patience.

With that being said. let me show you how to paint windows like a pro so they’ll last for a very long time.

How to Paint Windows Like a Pro

Materials Needed

It’s important to make sure you have all of the materials that you need before you start your project. This will save you some trips to the store during your project, saving you time.

Prep the Windows for Paint

Fill in holes

This step is only if you have holes that need to be filled within your window trim. We had tiny nail holes along with many scratches from our cats.

Apply wood filler to the holes, let it dry, then sand flat. Be careful that you do not over-sand the filled holes. Sand lightly with 220-grit sandpaper for the best result.

Fill holes with wood filler
Sand the wood filler carefully

Sand the window trim

Sanding the window trim with 220-grit sandpaper helps create a nice level surface and get rid of any bumps that might be in the wood. It also helps the primer and paint stick better. Long, smooth strokes work better than quick short ones.

Sand the window trim before priming

Clean off the window

We used a shop-vac to vacuum up any dust, then went over the trim with the denatured alcohol to clean the windows and to make sure all the dust is gone. This is an important step when painting windows like a pro because you want to make sure the trim is cleaned well. You also want the window trim to be free of dust and debris because this will show up in the paint.

Tape off the windows

Using painters tape, tape off the insides of the window first, then tape off the wall trim around the outside of the window. Taping makes painting less stressful, so you don’t have to worry about being overly careful. If you get paint on the tape it’s not a big deal. When working with longer windows, it’s best to use smaller pieces of tape, overlapping them at the ends.

Taping also guarantees that you will get a clean straight line between the tape and the glass or the wall.

Tape the windows to prepare for painting

Prime the wood

Apply an oil-based primer with a good quality paintbrush such as Purdy. Oil-based primers form a better bond between the wood and the paint, plus it’s better for windows and doors. We used Zinsser Oil Based Cover Stain Primer because the existing wood was an un-sealed stained redwood.

After one coat of primer - paint windows like a pro

Remove the Tape

You want to remove the tape shortly after adding the primer. Do not let the primer completely dry before removing the tape or you can pull off the primer by accident. Slowly and carefully remove the tape at a 45-degree angle.


Once the primer is completely dry, lightly sand the area with the 220-grit sandpaper to smooth out the primer. After sanding, use a shop-vac to vacuum up the sanding dust, then use a tack cloth to wipe away any remaining dust.


Tape off the windows and wall trim again and give the window a second coat of primer. Remove the tape before the primer is completely dry. Once dry, lightly sand again with the 220-grit sandpaper, vacuum, and clean off remaining dust with the tack cloth.


Caulk the window trim to seal gaps for a seamless look. Caulking also provides a barrier to keep out drafts. The caulk should blend in with the window and be unnoticeable. You want to get a long narrow strip of caulk along the entire length of the seam.

If you’re new to caulking, this site here has some great information on how to caulk a window.

The picture below shows after the two coats of primer and before the caulk. You can see the gaps that need to be caulked so the window will look seamless.


After caulking, the gaps should look like the picture below.

Fill the window gaps with caulk

Paint Windows Like a Pro

Now that the prepping and priming is all over and done with, the easy part comes – the actual painting. Basically it’s a repeat of adding the primer. The most important part here is making sure you have the right paint for the job.

We used Sherwin Williams Super Paint Semi-Gloss in the color “pure white”. Semi-gloss paint is perfect for window trims because the sheen makes them really pop, and makes a small space look bigger and brighter. The light coming through the windows bounces off glossier paints better than a flatter finish.

Tape off the windows

Use the painters tape to tape along the windows and the wall trim, just like you did before adding the primer.

Tape the sides of the trim along the walls


Paint the entire surface using a high-quality brush. Start at the top so if there are any drips they can easily be caught. Work your way around the sides of the windows and the wall trim carefully, then finish up with the bottom parts.

Remove the tape

Remove the tape slowly and carefully at a 45-degree angle before the paint has completely dried. Removing the tape after the paint has completely dried can result in peeling. If any paint seeps through, wipe it away immediately with a damp cloth.

Let the paint dry

Allow the paint to completely dry before adding a second coat. Follow the instructions on the paint can for the best results. If you have time, allow the paint to dry overnight.


Repeat the process all over. Tape off the windows, paint, remove the tape, and let the paint dry.

Paint windows like a pro

Clean up the Mess

No matter how careful you are, there may still be a drip or two here or there. Occasionally some paint may even splatter onto the window. Removing the paint from the glass may be easier than you think.

Never scrape dried paint off of a dry window. This can scratch the glass, making your newly painted window look like a hot mess. Instead, use a homemade solution of water and dish soap to wet the window first. Just fill a bucket with warm water and add 1-2 tablespoons of dish soap. Stir the mixture up, but not hard enough to make bubbles. Dip a cloth into the mixture (or pour it into a spray bottle) and apply the homemade mixture to the window. Using a glass scraper at a 45-degree angle, slowly scrape all of the paint off the glass.

Now let’s take a look at the before and after.

Paint windows like a pro

I’m happy with the final results! Painting the windows in your home yourself will end up saving you a lot of money because you don’t have to hire a professional.

I hope these window painting steps have helped inspired you to paint your windows like a pro!

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How to paint windows like a pro

Thank you for sharing!