How to Paint a Window Without Painting It Shut

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Prime the window before you paint it.
Prime the window before you paint it. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

When enthusiastic do-it-yourselfers try to paint their windows, they often accidentally end up sealing them shut. The aggression required to open the windows usually damages the painted finish and can sometimes even cause wood frames to splinter. If you plan to paint your own windows, prevent unintentional mishaps by employing the correct application strategy. Prepare the window based on its composition or the paint will eventually peel, regardless of the techniques you use.

Things You'll Need

  • Coarse plastic brush
  • 180-grit sandpaper
  • Professional painter's tape
  • Primer
  • 2-inch polyester paintbrush
  • Garden hose
  • Paint
  • Razor blade

Prepare the Windows

Dust interior windows using a plastic brush. Rinse exterior windows using a hose. Let wet, nonwood windows dry for 2 hours. Allow 24 hours for porous wood windows to dry.

Sand vinyl, fiberglass or plastic windows or primer won't stick to them. Stop once the windows feel rough.

Attach painter's tape to the area alongside the frame; don't apply tape to the glass.

Prime and Paint the Windows

Choose the right primer for your windows. While latex primer works well with nonmetallic windows, metal frames require an etching primer.

Prime the frames using a 2-inch polyester paintbrush. Brush lightly, applying a thin coating to prevent the seams from clogging. Let the base coat dry for 2 hours. Open and close the window every 20 minutes during this period to prevent the window from sealing shut.

Paint the windows as you primed them. For best results, apply two thin coats.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a shellac primer on stained windows.
  • Finish internal portions of the window with latex paint. Finish external portions of the window with acrylic latex paint.
  • Use a razor blade to clean dried primer/paint from window glass.

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