Although often overlooked, window frames play a big part in setting the tone of a home. The right colour and style can highlight a house’s architectural features and provide the wow factor that some homes may lack.
However, Sean Mac Anbhaird, managing director at Core Sash Windows, warned not taking the proper steps for repainting frames will result in “drips, cracks and flaking paint, making homes appear neglected which, in turn, can devalue a property”.
He said: “Whether you’re hoping to refresh and repair your window frames back to their original glory or looking to embrace a brand-new colour for spring, follow my tips for achieving a professional finish.”
Step one: Know your material
All window frames can be repainted, but it’s important to stick to the rules of the frame material for a “professional finish”. The expert claimed that wooden frames are the “easiest to paint” in terms of preparation and paint choice.
For aluminium, vinyl, or fibreglass, however, households will need to follow the manufacturer’s guidance and select the correct paint designed for specific surfaces.
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Step two: Keep it clean
Before anything else is done, window frames first need to be given a good scrub. While this is particularly important for external window frames exposed to the elements, households shouldn’t neglect to clean their internal frames either.
Dirt, dust and condensation mean internal window frames can “easily become grotty, which will affect the quality of the paint job”. Simply mix warm water with a few drops of washing-up liquid to wipe away grime from your windowsills. Ensure all moisture is buffed away with a microfibre cloth.
Step three: Get sanding
Once window frames are clean, begin sanding. Sean said: “This step is vital to ensure you have a smooth surface to work on while also creating enough texture for your new paint to stick to.
“For wooden frames, begin with medium-grit sandpaper. Around 120-grit should suffice. Be sure to cover your mouth and eyes and brush away dust residue.
“For aluminium or PVC frames, stick to a finer grade of sandpaper. You just need to create a rough-enough surface for the paint to stick and to prevent flaking.”
Step four: Tape it up
After a few rounds of sanding, the windows are ready to be taped. To do this, remove all hardware where possible, like handles, and use masking tape to cover all joining areas that pain should not get on. This includes the glass of windows.
The expert noted: “Some people prefer to use a masking liquid which is specially formed to prevent paint from staining glass. Simply paint the liquid directly onto the glass and allow it to dry.”
Step five: Apply a primer
Above all else, Sean urged: “Don’t neglect to use a primer”. Primers create a bonding layer with paint that reduces the chance of it peeling over time. The smooth surface builds a more uniform tone that covers dark spots and allows the new paint colour to pop. Aim to apply two coats and allow them to dry fully before starting on the first layer of paint.
Step six: Paint thin layers
With the window frames prepped and chosen paint at the ready, households can now begin their first layer. Sean instructed: “Use a paintbrush, not a roller, and work in smooth, even strokes.
“This will ensure even coverage and get a consistent finish without drips. Aim to paint three thin layers until all the primer colour is covered. Thinner layers will dry quicker and more evenly, resulting in a better finish.”
Step seven: Time the tape removal process correctly
Waiting until window frames are fully dry before removing the masking tape is a “sure way to end up with flaking paint and uneven lines”, warned the window expert.
However, he also said that any masking materials should not be removed while the paint is very wet since this can lead to “paint bleeding onto undesirable areas”.
Instead, Sean suggested: “You want to peel away your masking tape or liquid when it’s just slightly wet. This will result in perfect, crisp lines.”