Man holding paint brush and tin of paint

How to paint wooden window frames

This post will explain the best way to paint wooden window frames. From preparation to finished result!

For best results, make sure the wood is in sound condition. If there are any holes or gaps that need to be filled in, we recommend doing so beforehand.

Once any gaps have been filled, left to dry and sufficiently sanded, you are then ready to prepare for paint.

What will I need?

Paint brush and tin of paint

Stripping product – if the wooden frames already have a finish on them, you will likely wish to remove it before application of your new finish. This will help it adhere and keep it looking new for longer.

Neutralising product – if you use a stripping product such as Prepdeck or Aquanett, you will then need to use a neutralizing product such as Net-Trol. This stops the stripper from continuing to work on the wood.

Easy Flow/Owatrol Oil – this is optional but a paint conditioner such as Easy Flow for water-based paints or Owatrol Oil for Oil-based paints helps to alleviate brush and roller marks and allows a smoother more professional looking finish.

Interior/exterior paint – depending on if you are painting the inside or outside frames. For exterior paint, we suggest using a product such as Solid Color Stain (SCS). It contains Easy Bond and so offers excellent adherence without the need for lengthy preparation and priming. Something unrivalled by other available products.

Decorator’s tape/Masking tape – there is a wide variety of tapes available on the market. We suggest purchasing one that has a relatively strong stick, especially if you are working outside to be sure it stays put whilst painting.

1 and/or 2-inch paintbrush – try not to purchase cheap brushes. You will find that they do not hold or distribute paint as well as more premium brushes and you will spend more time picking out bristles from the window frame than you did painting it in the first place! By no means do we suggest needing to buy the most expensive brushes (especially if you are a DIY-er), but we do recommend purchasing something of reasonable quality.

Sandpaper – depending on the finish you use you may need to sand the wood before applying it. Be sure to read the application instructions carefully.

Damp sponge – if you have sanded the wood you may want to use a damp sponge to remove all the dust that has accumulated on the surface.

Goggles, gloves, protective clothing etc. – Make sure you are safe and prepared for the job at hand.

Step 1 – Surface Preparation

Man sanding window frames

Once the wood has had any holes or gaps filled you are ready to proceed with the surface preparation.

If the wood has a finish already applied to it, it should be removed (especially if you are planning to use an Owatrol finish). Depending on what the finish is will depend on what you need to use to remove it.

After using Prepdeck or Aquanett, you must then use Net-Trol to neutralize the wood.

Once the wood is free from previous finishes and is clean and dry you can then apply the decorator’s tape/masking tape to any areas you wish to protect. If you want to take extra care, you could also tape newspaper to the glass.

Finally, get your protective gear on and you are ready to go!

Step 2 – Application

Man holding paint brush and tin of paint

Once you and your surface are prepared, you are ready to paint.

For a high-quality professional-looking finish you should always work in sections and paint to a natural break. Be sure to not paint over an area that has partially dried as the brush will leave unsightly marks in the surface.

If you see running or dripping within wet paint, paint over it as soon as you can with light and even brush strokes.

Each brand may vary slightly, but the general rule of thumb to paint wooden window frames is to:

  • Load up your brush with paint by dipping it in up to half the length of the bristles.
  • Tap the brush against the side of the can – try not to wipe it.
  • Start at the top and work your way down, painting with light even strokes and working back into the wet edge.
  • Remove the masking tape/decorator’s tape – Most people will leave the tape on until the paint is touch dry before removing it. However, this can vary so be sure to check with the specific brand first.
  • Apply a second coat if necessary.

Step 3 – Clean up

Once everything has been painted, remember to clean up properly. If you are using a water-based paint, usually soap and water is all you need.

If you are using an oil-based paint however, you will usually need to use solvents such as white spirit to clean up.

It is always handy to keep a hold of any leftover paint. At least for a little while in case of any accidents.

If you decide you want to hold on to it, the best place is in a dark cupboard in your house where it can stay at a reasonable temperature all year round. Keeping it in the shed or garage is common but temperature fluctuations will damage the paint inside.

If you do not want to keep any leftover paint, remember to properly dispose of it. You can learn how to do this in our previous blog post, ‘How To Correctly Dispose of Or Re-Use Your Paint‘.

Step 4 – Maintenance

Depending on the brand this may vary slightly. Some products, such as Solid Color Stain, may only require you to clean the surface and do a local touch up. Others you may need to sand back slightly before application. Be sure to check the brand and see what they recommend you do.


We hope you found this post helpful. If you have any further tips or advice on how to paint wooden window frames, please leave them down below. We love hearing from you!

To keep up to date with future blog posts, why not follow us on social media? You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest @OwatrolUSA or at the hashtag #OwatrolUSA

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