Project Guide

How to Paint Exterior Windows

1
REMOVE OLD PAINT AND PUTTY AND PREP WINDOW
Remove old paint putty window - Paint Exterior Windows
  • Scrub area with TSP cleaning solution and thoroughly rinse with clean water. 
  • Scrape off loose paint and window putty from around the edge of the window and brush clean. 
  • Sand smooth. 
  • Brush the wood you exposed with linseed oil to help the new putty stick. 
  • Roll new putty into a thin tube shape and press it into the bare spots. 
  • Pull a putty knife along it to create a flat sloping surface. Slide a damp finger along the putty in the other direction to remove any small imperfections.
2
LET PUTTY DRY
Let putty dry - Paint Exterior Windows
  • Once new putty is applied, open the window and pull the top down until it’s about 3 inches from the sill. 
  • Push the bottom sash up until it's about 3 inches from the top of the window frame. 
  • Allow to dry for as long as indicated on manufacturer’s instructions.
3
PAINT THE SASH
Paint the sash - Paint Exterior Windows

Tip: Don't worry about getting some paint on the glass. Just wait until it's dry, then use a single-edge razor blade to scrape off the excess. 


  • Prime any bare wood. 
  • Start with the pieces in the window grid (called muntins) if there are any. 
  • Then paint the horizontal pieces, followed by the vertical pieces. Following this pattern will give you a nice, neat results. Any brushstrokes running across the grain are subsequently covered by strokes running with the grain.
4
PAINT EVERYTHING LEFT UNPAINTED
Paint everything left unpainted - Paint Exterior Windows
  • Return the sashes to their normal position and paint what you were unable to reach earlier. 
  • Once painted, open the window slightly, leaving about a 1-inch gap at the top and bottom. 
  • Move the sashes a few times as the paint dries to keep them from sticking.
5
PAINT THE STOPS AND JAMBS
Paint stops jambs - Paint Exterior Windows

Paint the stops and jambs but don’t paint the tracks the windows travel in — the paint buildup could cause the windows to jam.

6
PAINT THE FACE OF THE WINDOW CASING
Paint face window casing - Paint Exterior Windows

Paint the window casing, covering nearby siding with painter’s tape.