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How to Paint Wood Windows

How to paint wood windows to make your old windows new again.

How to Paint Wood Windows

Tools & Supplies

If you follow along on Instagram, I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about how I restored our old wood windows. Guess what!? I FINALLY remembered to take enough photos to put the whole tutorial together!

I’m slowly restoring every wood window in our house with this method. So far I’ve completed the kitchen, living room, our son’s bedroom, and our daughter’s nursery windows. Brightening the windows makes such a HUGE difference in a room and is one of my absolute favorite parts of each makeover!

Here’s a before and after from my son’s room:

restore wood windows
how to restore wood windows

It brightens the room so much!
All you need is a little sandpaper, primer, and paint.

Step 1 – Scuff

Start by scuffing up the old finish around the entire window frame with fine grit sandpaper. I used 120 grit, which worked great.

The purpose of scuffing the old finish is to give the primer a good, rough surface to adhere to. Primer forms a tight bond to the original finish and seals the old color, and then the paint bonds to the primer. So your new paint job is only as good as the primer coat. If the primer doesn’t adhere to the original surface, you run the risk of the paint peeling off. And if you skip primer altogether, the original finish can bleed through the primer and/or the paint will peel off . It’s especially important with stained windows since stain bleeds through paint so badly. Scuffed surface = well bonded primer = durable paint job.

how to restore wood windows

If you’re planning to retrim the window, remove the trim before you begin.

I redid the trim on the windows at the same time as painting the frames, which is why it’s removed in the photos. But that’s not necessary. You can just paint the frames for a nice update.

**TIP: I wrote a separate post on how to remove trim without damaging drywall, which you can check out over here. Use the same method on the window.

how to restore wood windows

Step 2 – Prime

Apply painter’s tape around the window frame. I taped around the glass to protect it, but didn’t worry about the outside edges since I re-did the trim also. Once it’s all taped off, prime the entire frame. I used my favorite Bulls Eye 1-2-3 primer.

DIY Closet Door Makeover

Step 3 – Prime

After the primer dries, paint the entire frame. I used Sherwin-Williams Urethane Trim Enamel in ‘Extra White’ in satin. The windows were stained really, really dark brown, so it took 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of paint to thoroughly cover it. I recommend using a trim enamel since it dries really hard and is more robust than standard wall paint.

how to restore wood windows

That’s all there is to it – a little primer & paint and you have a brand new window!

How to Paint Wood Windows

If you’re interested in re-doing your window trim as well, head over to my post on how to install interior window trim!

Please let me know if you have any questions and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible!

| Tylynn |

Thanks for stopping by!

For more project ideas, you can find me on Pinterest. And to stay up to date with the latest shenanigans, follow me on Instagram.

How to Paint Wood Windows

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