White uPVC framed double glazing became a fixture in our houses during the 1980s. They were truly revolutionary by providing an affordable but durable option for windows that kept the cold out and the heat in.
They very quickly dominated the market for domestic types of windows however their aesthetic appeal quickly waned. Modern architects and designers are more likely to favour the aluminium or wooden counterparts to the uPVC frame for their sleek or more natural looking finish.
While colour and finish options for uPVC frames have expanded over the decades they haven’t been adopted widely, with most of us opting for the rather bland white framed mainstream version...
Our uPVC windows before:
When we moved into our 1930s semi-detached in 2019 the building had a lean-to conservatory along the back of the property. The conservatory itself was in great condition with an insulated roof so it was a pleasant space to be in and ended up becoming an everyday room for us.
It has large white uPVC windows on all three sides with French doors leading out onto the garden. I found it to be a really difficult space to style as without much wall space to paint or hang art, there was little chance to inject some personality.
So, I decided the room needed a facelift using the power of paint and the most important part of the project was to paint the uPVC window frames.
The painted uPVC windows after:
Can you successfully paint uPVC windows yourself?
Many of us have taken to hiring the professionals to spray paint our uPVC frames to update the look of our properties. But, this isn’t a job that needs to be done by a professional as more of us are going DIY to transform our windows both internally and externally. And, once you know how to paint windows yourself, you have the option to change the frames to any colour you wish, and the result is an instant transformation, with much less of a spend!
What is the best way to paint uPVC window frames?
There are a few DIY options for completing this task at hand and it all depends on the finish you want. But, the best way to get a smooth finish is to use a paint spraying machine like the professionals do.
In my experience, over-the-counter DIY paint spraying machines are not very good and a waste of money and so this wasn’t going to be an option for us. Another way to achieve the smooth finish is to use spray paint cans, but this limits your colour options and can be expensive for the amount that you need – not to mention it's not environmentally friendly either.
So, I decided to opt for a brush and roller combination for the application as it is relatively simple to do and the finish is pretty on point.
How to paint uPVC windows step-by-step
- Degreaser (opens in new tab)
- Sanding Sponge (opens in new tab)
- Masking Tape (opens in new tab)
- Paint Brush – try our best paint brushes roundup
- Roller (opens in new tab)
- Scraper (opens in new tab)
- Your paint and primer if using
1. Prep and cleaning
I'm not going to lie, this bit sucks but it is worth doing right.
Firstly you need to clean the window frames using a degreaser making sure it’s squeaky clean.
Next, you want to use a sanding sponge to gently buff the surface of the uPVC frame without scratching it. Do not use sand paper for this reason! Then, wipe any residue with a damp cloth. This ensures the paint adheres directly onto the uPVC.
2. Tape off the edges
You need to add masking tape along the edges of all the frames you intend to paint. I had 35 panes of glass to apply masking tape to which took me the best part of 2 hours to do. As with any painting make sure you lay down a dust sheet and remove any furniture from the area.
3. Choose the right type of paint
Choosing the right kind of paint for your uPVC window frames is a very important to to ensure the durability of your newly painted frames. Luckily there are a number of options on the market these days. There are products like Zinnser AllCoat (opens in new tab) that do not require any primer but they are limited in colour options. Rustoleum Garden Paint (opens in new tab) can be applied directly onto uPVC and comes in 110 colours or you can also use a primer with an external paint for a hard-wearing finish.
Your local paint providers can give advice on the best options for the finish you want to achieve. After chatting with my local, I decided to use an outdoor primer and then for the main coat, I used an internal eggshell. As I had painted the wall with Myland’s Copper Green (opens in new tab) I decided to use another colour from their palette called Borough Market (opens in new tab) which is a luscious Dark Green that almost looks black in certain light.
First I applied Mylands wood and metal primer in Dark grey onto the frames using a brush, making sure to get in all the edges and corners. Doing a small section at a time I quickly ran over the painted section using a small roller to flatten out any brush marks. This helps to smooth out the finish on the surface.
- Find all our conservatory ideas for more inspo.
When this first coat is dry, apply the main colour on top of the primed frames using the same method of using the brush followed, by the roller.
You may need two coats of the main colour.
5. Remove the masking tape
When you have finished with your final coat start to immediately remove the masking tape before it dries. If you allow the paint to dry before removing the masking tape first you run the risk of it flaking off the frame. If you do happen to get any paint on the windows don’t worry, just use a scraper and the paint will come off easily.
Is it worth painting uPVC windows?
In one word: yes! I am over the moon with the results. It instantly transformed the space and I particularly enjoy the way it frames the view of the garden. Having a darker colour on the frames has also made the room feel bigger as the contrast tricks the eye a little and distracts from the smaller size of the room. Our conservatory no longer looks cold or cheap and now feels elegant and sophisticated.