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

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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.

Sand

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.

Repeat

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

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.

gaps

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

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

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

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61 Comments

  1. What a huge difference!! Your window looks beautiful! I’ve wondered how your renovation is going. You guys are inspiring!

    1. Thank you so much! We’re finally working on the bathroom now so I’m excited to get that done. πŸ˜€

      1. That’s a project we need to tackle, too. 😬

        1. I wish you all the best with that! It’s a mess here.

          1. I love the outcome from this. Thumbs up!. Looking forward to the other updates on the renovation. Well done!.

            1. Thank you so much! Hopefully, more updates will come soon! πŸ™‚

              1. You are welcome. Yay!.
                πŸ’ƒ

  2. Nicely done, Michelle! The need for patience and research definitely come through this post, but the results are definitely worth it. Blessings!

    1. Thank you so much! Patience is definitely needed during a home renovation. Otherwise, I’d have gone crazy by now. πŸ˜€

      1. πŸ˜€ β™₯

  3. I never knew how much stuff goes into painting a window frame. Hope you’ll get your bathroom done soon, I know that will bring great joy to you πŸ™‚ xoxo

    1. I know! I thought we could just prime and paint it and be done with it, but there’s so much more to make it look really nice. We started on the bathroom yesterday, so I’m super happy to get that over with! πŸ˜€

  4. Oh I meant to also say that I love the color paint you chose and how it looks, it opens up the space. Looks great!

    1. Thank you so much!!

  5. Nice job! And the window is pretty in its new color!
    Hope you can get that bathroom finished soon! Happy Wednesday!

    1. Thank you so much! We started on the bathroom yesterday, so I’m super excited to get it done now. πŸ™‚

  6. I love how the white pops. I spotted some curtain rods up above the new painted windows. With such pretty trim around your windows I wouldn’t cover them up with curtains looks too pretty. Great job on sharing how to paint around windows it is so hard to keep it off the windows.

    1. Thank you so much! I would love to leave the curtains off, but since we live so close to the road I need my privacy at night. πŸ™‚ If the window was in the back I wouldn’t put the curtains up at all. It makes the space feel bigger, too.

  7. This is a great resource for how-to paint your window frames. Your results are perfect. Thanks for the info.

    1. Thank you so much! I hope it helps anyone who needs to paint their windows. πŸ™‚

  8. cdloken says:

    Awesome tutorial, Michelle! We’ve been adding some trim in our kitchen along the baseboards and it’s just incredible how much it changes the whole space! Good tip on not scraping paint off windows! Been there done that-huge mistake!!!

    1. Thank you! It really is amazing how something that seems so small can make such a huge difference!

      I really enjoyed your lazy susan organization tips, by the way. You don’t see a lot of those anymore so it was good to see how to fit everything on one so nice and neat.

  9. Count me as someone who didn’t know painting windows required so much prep!

    But it really shows a quality difference in your before and after photos!

    1. I didn’t think a window needed all that, either! I thought we could prime and paint it and be done. Nope! πŸ˜€ Thank you so much! I was surprised at home much it changed the look of the living room.

  10. Wow Michelle, It looks great! Your instructions are wonderful. Sadly we have vinyl windows and are looking at replacing them soon. $$$

    1. Thank you so much!! Hopefully, they won’t be too much of an expense for you. We are going to have to replace the windows in the back bedroom so I feel your pain. πŸ™‚

  11. The window turned out great! Research and patience really paid off!

    1. Thank you so much!!

  12. Wow, such an awesome job Michelle! How much do you have left to do before you guys can breath a sigh of relief?

    1. Thank you!! A lot. πŸ™ We started on the bathroom yesterday, so that’s a huge relief. We still have to gut the kitchen, but that’s the last major redo. The rest is just minor things, which I hope will go quickly and smoothly.

      1. Godspeed!

  13. Oh, wow! They look great!

    1. Thank you so much!!

  14. The windows look great and it’s fun to see how the renovations are coming along! We are buying a new house so we may need this tip soon.

    1. Thank you so much!! I’ve been thinking about you guys and the house!

      1. Thank you. Appraisal of our house today. Inspection was last week. Inspection tomorrow for the house we are buying. Things are moving along fairly fast.

        1. I’m so glad!!

          1. I’m sitting here waiting for the appraiser for our house and I’m all nervous! So many people coming in and out of our house lately…ugh!

            1. I think that’s the thing that’s going to stress me out the most when it comes time to selling our house. Keeping it super clean so people can come in!

              1. It is a headache..especially with two artistic, creative kids who are often pulling things out to create and leaving messes behind. Right now we just have appraisers, inspectors and plumbers coming in and out.

  15. Such a good tutorial and Love the way it turned out. Your window looks larger than it actually is. Thank you for sharing the project with us.

    1. Thank you so much! I think it looks larger with the white paint, too. Amazing how that works! πŸ™‚

  16. It looks new! Great job and thanks for sharing the detailed instructions!

    1. Thank you! I was surprised at how big of a difference it made!

  17. What a great update Michelle! I’ve been wondering how things were going for you on this project.

    Everything you’ve been going through in remodeling your bathroom sounds like a complete pain! Your hubby did an excellent job with the wiring though. Very neatly tucked away – I love it. So often, you find contractors who leave wires hanging all over the place with trash left in the walls, etc. It irritates me to no end πŸ™‚ If you’re going to do a job as important as electrical, at least try to do it right. Geez!

    I hope once the bathroom remodel is finally complete you’ll be very happy with it. There is something very refreshing about a bathroom that is welcoming, refreshing and bright. Having bathrooms in desperate need of redoing here – I feel your pain!

    I must say though, I am genuinely impressed with the results on your window! Wow! How beautiful & bright does that look now. What a difference. Bright paint does more than we could ever possibly imagine. This is proof of it. I love what you’ve done Michelle and say bravo – job well done!

    The complementing paint colors are perfection too. Then again, your design style always is!

    Sending you loads of love my friend. I hope you & yours are well. πŸ€—

    1. Thank you so much! Everything has really been a pain so far. Nothing is easy in this house. Every time we go to work on anything it takes longer than expected because you can see how poorly the job was done before. Ugh!

      That’s the reason we do everything we can ourselves. We know it’s going to get done the right way because we actually care about the job. It’s so hard to find people who actually care about their work any more. It’s like they’re just in it for the paycheck. It irritates me, too!

      Thank you so much! I was so surprised at how much of a difference painting the window actually made!

      Loads of love back to you! And many hugs!

  18. I love changes and renevations.

    1. It’s definitely worth it when it’s all over. 😊 Thank you for reading!

      1. It sure is. My pleasure dear.🌹

  19. Hi Michelle, finding this post is a huge benefit for me. This is just the perfect time to explore the windows painting tips. I’ve just finished painting my bathroom walls.

    And I was looking for some ideas to paint my wooden windows. I have found your provided tips are useful to apply painting in the windows like a pro.

    Thanks for your help.

    1. I’m so happy you found this helpful! I wish you the best with painting your windows!

  20. Really thorough! Thank you πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you so much!

  21. Results are beautiful. Congratulations

    1. Thank you so much!

  22. Dee | Grammy's Grid says:

    Looks nice, great job! Thanks so much for linking up with me at my #UnlimitedMonthlyLinkParty 10, open March 1 to 26. All entries shared on social media if share buttons installed.

    1. Thank you so much!!

  23. Your renovations looks so good. Wonderful job. The outdoors looks beautiful as well.

    1. Thank you so much!!!

  24. I saved this…. Going to come in handy. 😊Thanks Mich. πŸ€—

    1. Thank you for saving! It’s not a hard job, just a little more time consuming than I thought. πŸ™‚

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