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Houten ramen schilderen - Tintrio

How to: painting wooden windows

First time painting wooden windows? Has it been more than 5 years since your windows were painted? Then it's probably time to repaint those old windows. Not sure? Here's how you know if it's time to give your windows a new coat of paint. 

Our step-by-step guide provides answers to the most frequently asked questions such as:

  • How exactly do I best paint wooden windows - in what order? 
  • To sand or not to sand? 
  • Which paint or varnish is best for interior wooden windows? 
  • Which primer should I use? 
  • How many coats of paint or lacquer should I apply? 
  • How many litres of paint do I need per square metre?

Also be sure to check out our other step-by-step plans to find out how to stain wooden windowshow to paint aluminium windows or how to paint windows made of PVC.

Painting your wooden windows indoors

Step 1: preparation

  • Tape off the glass and adjacent walls with painter's tape.

  • Clean and degrease the window and frames.

  • Sand and dust the wood.

Preferably, before painting, tape off the window glass and adjacent walls with masking tape so you can't accidentally paint on them. Furthermore, the most important part of the preparation is to create a 'paint-ready' surface. 

Clean and degrease the surface well in advance. For wood, it's best to use a synthetic thinner for degreasing if it's the first time it has been painted. If the wood has been painted before, degrease it with water and a dash of ammonia or Berdy Clearline.

Never use turpentine, because instead of degreasing, it just leaves a greasy film, which isn't good for paint adhesion. Don't forget to clean the glass either, so that your masking tape sticks well and no paint gets under or between it.

Wood should definitely be sanded and dusted as well. This way you will have an even, clean, grease-free, dry surface as a base!

Step 2: apply primer

  • Use a paint brush and a paint roller. 

  • Apply wood primer in two coats.

  • Lightly sand and dust.

For your windows inside, it's best to use a water-based wood primer of which you then apply two coats

Two coats of primer? Yes! Think it's all a bit much painting? Then remember: this is really essential, because only on a sufficiently prepared and primed surface can your final coat hold up nicely.  

You apply the primer with a paintbrush (we find a round brush the easiest and nicest to work with) at the edges and in the corners, and with a felt paint roller to neatly roll the paint open on the flat areas. 

To increase the adhesion with the final layer, and to get a nice smooth and even result in the end, it is best to sand your primer layers with fine sandpaper. Don't forget to dust again. 

If your windows have been painted inside before and the paint layer is still nicely intact, you can skip this step and apply the finishing coat immediately after cleaning and sanding.

Paint wooden windows when the weather is not too humid, cold or hot for best results. In the morning or late afternoon is the best timing, because then you never have full sun.

Painting too early is not good either. Dew formation can be a killjoy. That's because your window frames need to dry properly before you can start painting. Get started when the temperature is between 10° degrees and 20° degrees.

Keep an eye on the weather forecast. No rain tomorrow? Ideal, then you can paint today and everything can dry properly.

Step 3: lacquer

  • Apply one more coat of lacquer.

  • Remove all tape again.

Time to start the finishing touches now! 

When your wooden window frames are well prepared and primed (or already painted), you can continue working with regular lacquers. It is always best to use a water-based topcoat, of which you apply one coat

We do not recommend synthetic lacquers for windows inside, because less sunlight can reach the paint layer inside, leaving a yellowish shine after a while. And we don't want that, of course! 

To put the final coat of paint on your window, again use a round paintbrush and paint roller. 

When you have finished your excellent paintwork, you may remove the excellent tapework and admire your newly painted windows. 

You can also opt for a one-pot system, which allows you to pretreat and topcoat with the same paint. You'll need a total of three coats of that: a base, intermediate and final coat. Be aware though that this is just the 'easy' solution, and that a paint system of a primer and lacquer is always much stronger and definitely still what we recommend. 

Painting your wooden windows outdoors

Whether you paint your windows inside or outside, it works quite the same way. However, there are some things you can or should pay extra attention to:

  • To tape exterior walls, it's best to use customised tape for outdoors.
  • If there are shutters on the windows, you can take them off. That'll make the job much easier.
  • Is there still an old paint layer on the window frame, which is already cracked or peeling off? Then it's best to remove it first.
  • For windows outside you could use a synthetic wood primer and topcoat or a solvent-based one-pot system. However, the time when water-based paints weren't suitable for outdoors has long passed and there are now special water-based lacquers for exterior applications. For darker colours, they're an even better choice, as they're more fade-resistant.

Find the right paint for your windows 

Want to start right away, but don't know what products you need? In our step-by-step plan, we have linked all paints and supplies. So you can find everything you need to paint your windows beautifully. Below you'll also find a list of all the products.

Window paint

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Sigma Amarol Triol Satin
Select your colour: White | Content: 1 l
Variants from €18.95 
From €32.95 
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Levis Simply Refresh Ramen en Deuren
Colour (Levis): Simply White | Content: 0,75 l
From €33.95 

Useful tools

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3M Golden Masking Tape
Size: 24 mm | Quantity: 1 piece
Variants from €6.95 
From €8.95 
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Berdy Clearline - Degreaser
Content: 1 l
From €9.95 
View product
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ProGold Paintbrush Round Classic 7520
Size: 12
Variants from €4.95 
From €6.25 
View product
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Progold Paint Roller Felt
Size: 10 cm | Type: Standard
Variants from €1.75 
From €2.65 
View product
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Progold Sandpaper
Grit: Grit 220 | Quantity: 1 piece
From €1.15 
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3M Green Masking Tape
Size: 24 mm
Variants from €4.45 
From €6.95 
View product

Want to explore all the options yourself? Then you can find extensive info in our paint guide. Including professional recommendations for those who want top-class paintwork.

If you already know what you're looking for, you can browse through our paint for doors and windows category.

View all paint for windows and doors

Need help?

If some of the steps aren't entirely clear to you, or if you are in a specific situation that isn't covered by our how-to guide, then our experts will be happy to help.

Contact us

Ready to start painting? 

In these video's by Sigma you can see professional painters at work, painting windows indoors and outdoors.