House Painting: Window paint and Door Paint

A diagram identifying the color elements of a house exterior.

Dress Up Your Home

Your home consists of three color elements; body, trim, and accent. The body consists of the siding on the front, sides and back of your house. The trim is the horizontal elements (gutters, fascia, soffit, crown molding) and vertical elements (window and door frames, corner boards. The accent is typically the main entrance door, shutters, and sometimes gutters.

Windows and doors require the most attention to detail when painting a home exterior.  The main entrance of your home is high traffic area and the visual focal point of your home.  Windows are for letting in light and viewing in and out.  They must be properly prepared to look clean and withstand wear from opening and closing.

A picture of a front door painted with an accent color and a windows shutters painted with an accent color.

Accent Your Exterior

One way to increase curb appeal is to choose a bold color to accent the body and trim colors of your home’s exterior.  A bold color in a gloss finish on your front door can look great.  Don’t overdue it with the same color for the shutters unless it is more of a neutral color.

Wood doors can be stained or painted.  Fiberglass doors can be painted easily.  Steel doors require light sanding and an application of an oil-based primer before painting.

Picture explaining how to remove old window glazing and replace with new glazing.

Wood Windows

Wood windows must be painted to prevent water damage and decay to the sash and sill.  Older wood windows have single pane glass and require glazing to hold it in place and create an air lock seal.

Double hung windows can vary on the number of panes of glass per sash.  The more panes per sash the window has will increase the level of detail and work involved in painting.

The glazing on old wood windows should last about 20 years.  Over time it will harden and crack.  If a window needs to be re-glazed it will create a lot of extra work in the preparation before painting.

Samples of different types of aluminum windows.

Aluminum Windows

Contractors that built homes in the late 1940’s throughout the 1950’s typically used clear anodized aluminum windows. These windows were typically not painted.

Modern aluminum window frames are available in clear anodized aluminum as well as standard colors like white, beige, bronze and black.  These colors are baked on after the extrusion process from the manufacturer. 

Painting over aluminum windows requires cleaning, sanding, priming with a self-etching primer, and then painting.  The glazing bead between the frame and the glass is vinyl and is not painted.  

A diagram of how to remove a storm window.

Storm Windows

Homes with older wood or aluminum windows that have single pane glass are not very energy efficient.  For this reason many of these homes have aluminum storm windows installed. 

Painting windows that have storm windows is more labor intensive.  There is also a risk liability of breaking the glass when the storm is removed.  If the storm is stuck to the frame from old paint it takes extra finesse to remove it properly.  If the window is twisted when applying force in the removal it will cause the glass to break.

You must also carefully label each storm window to ensure that they are re-installed on the same window to fit perfectly.  The screws need to be stored in a safe place to avoid being lost.  Storm windows need to be stored in a safe place to avoid damage while the windows are being painted.