How to paint windows – give your exterior frames a fresh new look

Up your home's kerb appeal while the weather’s still warm enough to work outside, and you'll enjoy the results all year
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  • Forgive us the old cliché, but they do say that windows are the eyes of the house. And as we all know, tired eyes are far from ideal.

    So while the warmer months are upon us, get out there and spend a few hours giving your window frames a fresh lick of paint. It’s one of the simplest, most effective and affordable DIY and decorating exterior makeovers you can do, so well worth a little time and effort.

    Old aluminium frames can be brought up to date with a lick of on-trend black paint, to get the look of sleek new fittings. Equally as please are freshly painted wooden window frames, whether in a crisp clean white or with a pop of colour to lift the appearance of an exterior.

    Once you windows look as good as new, keep them sparkling inside and out with our guide how to clean windows.

    How to paint windows


    Image credit: Dulux

    What tools you’ll need to paint exterior frames

    • Masking tape or masking pen
    • Flexible wood filler
    • Sandpaper
    • Primer or undercoat
    • Exterior wood paint
    • Cutting-in brush
    • Small or medium paintbrush

    1. Clean the frame

    Make sure the frame is clean and dry – give it a good going over with a hand brush to get rid of dust and cobwebs, etc.

    2. Smooth it over

    Fill any cracks or holes with flexible wood filler, such as Wilko’s Knot a Problem. Sand gently, going with the grain of the wood, then remove the dust produced.

    Buy now: Knot a Problem wood filler, £2.50 for 330g, Wilko

    3. Mask the glass

    Mask around the window to make sure the glass stays paint-free as you work, leaving a 2mm gap, so you overlap onto the glass to seal out water. If you find it easier, use a masking pen, which leaves a layer of wax on the glass. When the paint is dry, you simply remove it with a scraper.

    4. Prime the surface

    Apply a coat of primer or undercoat to the frame and sill. If you’re going to be using standard gloss or satin, make sure your primer is weatherproof for a longer-lasting finish.

    You may be able to skip this step if using a modern paint solution, such as Frenchic or Rust-Oleum –  solutions that don’t require a primer first.

    House exterior with white painted wooden window frames

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Polly Eltes

    5. Leave to dry

    The time this takes will depend on the paint and the weather conditions. Avoid painting in hot sun as the paint will start drying and become sticky as you’re brushing it on. If you do run into decorating mishaps follow our guide on how to fix paint problems, such as peeling, blistering and flaking.

    6. Paint smart

    Stir your chosen colour thoroughly and apply with a brush, not a mini roller, pressing it into corners. For the best results, start with the transoms (against the glass) with an angled cutting-in brush, then swap to a small-to-medium brush to do the top and bottom horizontals, then the verticals and, finally, the sill.

    If you are using more than one tin of paint, make sure the batch numbers are the same to avoid any variation in colour.

    7. Dry and repeat

    Allow to dry completely and apply at least one more coat. When you do your final coat, make sure your brushstrokes go in one direction for a neater finish. Remove the masking tape before the final coat is dry, to prevent your water-sealing border being lifted off with it. Or remove with wax and a scraper after it’s dry.

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