Painting your timber window frames can be a great way to quickly (and relatively cheaply) transform the look of your home, both inside and out. However, there is a tried and tested technique to painting timber window frames to give them the very best finish.
It isn't complicated and as with any painting job, the key is good preparation and quality materials and tools. Follow experienced renovator Sian Astley’s advice on how to achieve a professional finish. Watch the video, or read the simple steps below.
Find out more about how to maintain timber windows on our dedicated page.
You will need:
- A few small paint brushes
- Paint (water-based paints are ideal for timber and have a quicker drying time than solvent-based formulations)
- Small plastic pot, such as a used, but clean yogurt or soup pot
- Masking tape
- Cloth and water
1. Clean the window frames
Before you begin painting timber window frames, wipe the window frames down with a clean, damp cloth to make sure there’s no dirt or debris on the wood. You may like to use a sugar soap for a deeper clean, which will also help the primer and paint adhere better. Lay a dust sheet under the window if needed.
2. Sand away any rough edges
Use a small piece of medium-grade sandpaper to sand away any rough edges or grooves in the timber window frame, which could show up through the paint and create an imperfect result. Work on small sections at a time and use your finger to feel where the rough parts of the timber are.
3. Brush off any dust
Once you’ve smoothed the surface, use a clean, dry paint brush to brush away the dust, making sure to remove it all so none goes into the paint. Use a toothbrush to get into corners or narrow areas.
4. Remove handles
You don’t want to get paint on your window fittings, so it’s best to remove them at this stage. Simply use a drill or screwdriver to remove the screws and gentle pull the handle out. Keep the handle and screws in a safe place until you’re ready to reattach them.
5. Mask off the area
For perfect straight lines and to make sure you don’t get paint on the window itself, use masking tape to mask off each window pane, ensuring you stick the tape as close to the timber as possible.
6. Apply an undercoat
This is a step that is worth the extra time and effort, as an undercoat will ensure the finish lasts. Ask your local DIY store if they can apply some dye to your undercoat if you’ve chosen a specific colour as the top coat. For example, if you’re painting your timber window frames in dark grey, you could use an undercoat, which has had some grey added to it. For white finishes, stick to a simple white undercoat.
7. Paint the first coat
Now you’re ready to paint the window frames in your choice of colour. Start in one place and carefully work away from this and around the entire frame. Avoid starting in one place and jumping to another, which could result in ‘dry lines’ and create an uneven finish. Use a small brush and a little amount of paint and paint thin layers, rather than a thick coverage. Leave the first coat to dry completely.
8. Carefully finish the top coat
Apply the final coat of paint, ensuring that this is also a thin layer. Make sure that the whole window frame is equally covered. Leave to dry.
9. Reattach fittings
Once dry, carefully remove the masking tape. Then, use a screwdriver or drill to put the handles back into place and admire the results of your perfectly painted timber window frame.