How to Paint Exterior Windows

2-4 hours

Bring a pop of fresh color to your home’s exterior while instantly boosting curb appeal

Paint Exterior Windows

Putting a fresh coat of paint on your exterior windows in a simple way to make an instant improvement to your curb appeal.

This guide will take you through the process of stripping old paint and repainting exterior shutters and trim.

Tip: When painting window frames, look for a quality exterior trim paint. Trim paint is specially formulated to be tough and long-lasting in any weather.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.