man painting window frame

As Andy Dwyer from the TV show Parks and Recreation once said, “Windows are the eyes to the house.” While the line is great for a laugh, there’s a lot of truth at its core. Home windows, especially the ones facing the street are a key component of the property’s curb appeal.

Regular window cleaning helps keep the glass in good condition and looking great, but what about the frames? If your exterior window frames are faded, chipped, and peeling, it’s time to refresh with a new coat of paint.

Read on for 6 essential tips for exterior window frame painting.

Strategic Scheduling: Perfect Paint Day is a Must

Does the perfect paint day exist? Maybe, but with fluctuating weather patterns, it’s often more important to focus on strategic scheduling—choosing a day with the fewest inhibiting conditions. When picking your perfect painting day, try and opt for weather that isn’t rainy or too high in humidity. Avoid painting when the sun is directly over the work area, for your comfort as well as the effect it can have on the paint. High heat will cause the paint to dry too fast, making it difficult to correct mistakes.

Evaluate the Condition of the Window Frame

For some windows, it may be easy to see that they’re in need of a fresh coat of paint but don’t forget to do an up-close inspection of the entire trim, sash, and hardware. If it’s an older home, and you’ve never painted the window frames, consider testing for lead. The EPA has information and suggestions for DIY kits for lead paint testing.

Know the Tools Needed

Every home repair/maintenance project has specific items and/or tools that may be needed to get the job done safely and correctly. For exterior window frame painting, the typical tools needed usually include:

  • Drop cloth/sheet, washcloths, or paper towels (dampened)
  • Stiff brush for cleaning
  • Carbide scraper
  • Painter’s tape
  • Sandpaper
  • Filler to repair holes or nicks
  • Paint bucket/holder
  • Paint brushes – small or medium, plus a cutting-in/angle brush to get in the hard-to-reach areas
  • Exterior primer
  • Exterior paint
  • Ladder, if needed (and follow all safety rules)

When buying paint brushes, often the cheapest ones are cheap for a reason. They may work fine for a few brushstrokes, but then the bristles fall out or worse, the handle breaks. You don’t have to spend a fortune but opt for something mid-price.

Prepare and Repair the Surface Before Painting

Be sure to spread a drop cloth beneath where you’re painting to catch any paint chips, drips, or spills. Prepare the surface of the exterior window frame by first cleaning it with a stiff-bristle brush. Wipe away any dirt, cobwebs, bugs, and loose paint chips. If needed, scrape away the old paint.

With the sandpaper, smooth the surface and use flexible filler for any holes or cracks. Sand over the filler and wipe with a cloth. Apply the masking tape around the window to help keep the glass paint-free.

Focus on Time and Technique for Pro Painting Results

Your exterior window frames are on display all the time for everyone to see. Take the time to paint them correctly and they will truly add beauty and curb appeal to your home. Still trying to figure out the right painting technique? Controlled brush strokes are key as is not over-saturating the brush with paint.

Always make sure your primer and paint are stirred well before starting. Begin at the top and work your way down, painting the inside of the frame first and working outward. Keep a damp cloth handy to wipe away any drips or mistakes. Always tap excess paint off the brush after each dip, into the can/bucket, but don’t let the brush go dry.

Plan for More than One Coat of Paint

Exterior window frames need more than one coat of paint. It begins with applying a primer or undercoat. Don’t skip this step. Look for a weatherproof primer designed specifically for the type of frame: metal or wood. The primer must be completely dry before applying the topcoat paint. Apply the topcoat/color with smooth, even strokes. Let thoroughly dry and then apply one more coat. Window frame painting takes patience and time, but the end result will be worth it.

The good news is, you don’t have to worry about window cleaning when you’re done painting. Let United Window Cleaning handle that chore. Contact us today for an appointment—we’re here for you.