While wooden windows are a beautiful fixture in any building, they do need
regular TLC in order to retain their vintage aesthetic and remain energy-
efficient, particularly exterior windows which face the elements constantly.
Fortunately, a fresh paint job can really do wonders!
Getting Your Windows Ready
Step 1: Inspect and Assess
● Exterior windows are particularly susceptible to water damage and mold,
so be sure to keep an eye out for any signs of rot or mold. This should be
treated with a fungicide before you get to painting.
● Visible signs of peeling paint are most likely what prompted you to repaint
your windows in the first place, so you definitely want to address unsightly
elements like flakes of paint or caulk.
● Similarly, glazing can deteriorate with age, and sections of your windows
may need to be reglazed due to water and sun damage. This can seriously
impede the energy-efficiency of your windows, so you need to note these
areas and address them before painting.
● To make life simpler for yourself, take out the handles and locks. Opening
and closing the window all the way may help loosen old paint, caulk and
glazing, which will make painting much easier. This will also allow you to
clean out the hinges and the windowsill, removing any debris or cobwebs
that may have built up over time.
Step 2: Scrape and Remove Old Paint and Caulk
Using a scraper or putty knife, scrape off any chips of wood, or flakes of paint,
caulk, and glazing from the panes and frames.
Step 3: Sand Down the Frames
After removing all the old paint and dirt, using medium grade sandpaper,
lightly sand down your frames to even out the surface and provide a porous
texture for the paint to adhere to.
Step 4: Remove Excess Dust and Debris
After you have sanded, you will have a new mess to clean up. Remove all the
paint debris and sawdust with a vacuum cleaner or damp cloth. A soapy
toothbrush will help you get deep into the crevices, cracks, and hinges and
remove all the dirt.
Step 5: Apply Caulk to Exposed Areas
Wherever caulk has deteriorated and been removed, you will need to reseal
by running a bead of caulk along the inner edge of the panes. This prevents
moisture from seeping into the wood and causing long-term damage.
Remember to leave time for the caulk to dry before rushing onto the next
Step 6: Patch Up Your Glazing
Similarly, areas of your windows may need to be reglazed; glazing takes a few
weeks to cure, so be sure that it has set correctly before you proceed.
Step 7: Apply Primer
Your windows are almost ready for painting now, there’s only one step
remaining in terms of preparation (which is actually the first step of painting),
and that is priming your frames. Wait until they are completely clean and
that any caulk or glazing applied is completely dry before applying a coat of
water-based wood primer to all exposed wooden sections of the window
About the Contributor
Apex Window Werks is a company that provides wood window (residential
and commercial) repair, broken glass replacement, defogging and historic
window restoration services in Illinois, Wisconsin, New York and Ohio.
Schedule a free appointment today.