How to paint window trim

We have a lot of windows at our house. It’s an old house and these windows have lots of trim work. Some are still single pane with the original wood trim but we’ve been slowly going through and replacing each one with new double pane. They all need to get painted!

Here’s how I paint my window trim plus some tips for you:

1. Remove any window treatments such as curtains, blinds, etc… you know, so you don’t get paint on them. Take off any window hardware that you can too. Protect your work area with a drop cloth.

2. Remove any peeling or loose paint with a scraper or putty knife and try not to gouge. Note: make sure your existing paint doesn’t contain lead, especially if your home is older – please look up how to properly remove paint that contains lead.

3. Fill any holes in with a non-shrinking spackling paste or wood filler, allow some time to dry and then sand it smooth with sandpaper.

4. If you are re-caulking your windows, this is a good time to do it.

5. Lightly sand or scuff your area to be painted. If your trim has been previously painted use coarse 80 to 120 grit sandpaper to sand out large imperfections or old hardened paint globs. Use smooth 180 grit sandpaper or a sanding sponge all over to take off any shine, if the paint on there is glossy your new paint might not adhere as well.

6. Wipe away any dust from sanding with a wet rag and clean any stains with water and vinegar and allow it to dry. You can use the vacuum with a brush attachment to clean up the dust from the edges and corners.

7. Apply painters tape if you want to protect areas that you don’t want paint on. Skip this step if you want less waste and you trust your steady painting hand.

8. You can apply Vaseline carefully to the glass, any paint that gets on it will just wipe away later.

9. Get yourself a stiff angled paintbrush with a short handle, this is going to make your painting experience a whole lot better!

10. If you are painting bare wood, prime first and allow the primer paint to dry.

11. If you have existing paint, find out if it is oil-based – that’s another animal. You’ll want an oil-based primer on oil-based paint. Most trim nowadays is water-based paint and some trim paint comes with primer already in it, you’ll have to talk to your paint store professional to get the right paint.

12. Start painting! Try this tip if you are using water-based paint: submerge your paintbrush bristles in water and then flick it (outside) to get most of the water off. Your brush will absorb less paint and it will make your painting go really smooth and your clean-up so much better.

13. Paint your windows and allow them to dry. Remember that glossy or semi-glossy paint shows the most imperfections but is the easiest to keep clean in the long run.

14. Clean up any paint drips right away with a damp cloth or your spouse’s t-shirt that you can’t stand. Ooops, sorry.

15. Keep in mind any windows that need to open. Don’t paint your windows shut! I run my windows up and down an hour or so after painting which can be hard if you’ve removed the hardware to do it.

16. Remove your painter’s tape within the hour so that the painter’s tape doesn’t have a chance to stick really good to your wall. Peel off slowly!

17. Touch up any paint.

18. With a good scraper or razor blade, clean up any paint that has gotten onto the glass.

That’s it! I hope that helps you paint your window trim. Do you have any more tips or suggestions? Please let me know in the comments section below.

How to paint window trim

How to paint window trim

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