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How to Prep and Paint Exterior Windows and Doors?

painting exterior windows and doors

When you want to tackle any home improvement project, the prep work is as important as the paint job itself. If you were to jump right into the painting, you’d likely be disappointed by the result.

A poorly prepped surface might leave your paint looking uneven, and the lifespan of the paint job will significantly decrease. An adequately prepped exterior paint job will improve your curb appeal and the value of your home and make you excited to come home each day.

Prepping your Exterior Windows and Doors

Any exterior paint job that you tackle can be a huge undertaking, especially if it’s your first time. Planning and prepping are some of the most important aspects of any exterior paint project. First things first, you’ll want to take a visual inventory of your windows and doors. If there is anything that needs to be repaired, you should do so first.

You may also need to break down the job into sections, especially if you’re doing this on your weekends off and need multiple coats of paint or need to work around the weather. Make a plan for how you want to proceed.

Once your plan is ready, you will want to start preparing. If you have dogs or outdoor cats, make sure you plan around their needs for bathroom breaks and outside time. Especially during the repair and sanding phases, you’ll want to keep a close eye on your pets because it’s not uncommon for them to find debris to chew on or swallow.

Removing furniture or potted plants from around the areas where you’ll be working helps to prevent them from getting damaged. You may consider using drop cloths if you’re working directly over shrubs, plants, or a garden. As painting exterior windows will likely involve you working on multiple stories of your home, you’ll want to ensure you have a good quality ladder that’s tall enough. Setting up a ladder can be challenging if the ground is unstable, so be careful.

Home Painter’s Toronto Pro Tip:

If this is a property that you’ve recently bought that is an older home (built before 1979) or hasn’t been painted in a while, it might be worth considering getting it tested for lead paint.

Use painter’s tape to cover any exterior features you don’t want to paint over. Anything like electrical outlets, door hardware, or hose bits directly under windows can be taped up.

Pay close attention to the forecast before painting. You always want to avoid rain, significant drops or increases in temperature to ensure the best quality paint job. The weather can prevent your paint from curing correctly, and you’ll be stuck having to redo the job sooner rather than later.

The bulk of your prep work will be in sanding, scraping and repairing damage. If your windows and doors are unpainted, you’re lucky enough to do a quick sand and move on to painting. However, for any already painted surface that is cracking and peeling, you’ll need to sand and scrape all the damaged paint off.

It can be a tedious and lengthy process, but it’s the most critical step in having a great-looking finished product. Ensure you’re wearing protective masks and eyewear during the sanding process.

While sanding, you should be able to see any repairs you may need to make. You can patch minimal damage with putty and sanding. If you need to replace any pieces of wood, now is the time to do it.

Be prepared for any spills by having clean-up materials close by. If you’re using latex paint, a damp rag will be enough, but if you’re using oil-based or enamel-based paint, you’ll need a thinner recommended by the manufacturer.

Exterior painting doors and windows
Exterior painting doors and windows
Exterior painting doors and windows
Exterior painting doors and windows

How to Paint Exterior Windows and Doors

Once you’ve decided on your paint colour, you’re ready to start.

  • •Now that your repairs have been completed, your windows have been prepped, and the putty has dried according to manufacturers’ instructions. You’re ready to start painting.
  • •Prime the bare wood that you wish to paint.
  • •If you get primer or paint on the window, just allow it to dry, and you can scrape it off with a razor blade.
  • •Take your time, as windows have many small pieces that require attention to detail. Once your primer has dried, start with the muntins, which are the pieces in the window grid.
  • •Once those are painted, you can paint the rest of the pieces that are left. Be cautious when painting the stops and jambs, as any extra paint buildup can cause it to make the window difficult to open and close.
  • •Once you’ve painted all the surfaces, allow it to dry and add another coat if needed.
  • •You’ll want to do the same for exterior doors, add a coat of paint, allow it to dry, and then do a second coat if needed. Replace all the hardware, and your door will look fantastic. 
Exterior painting doors and windows
Exterior painting doors and windows

If you’re thinking of doing some home exterior window and door painting but don’t want to do the work yourself, let our exterior painters help! Our professional house painters can help you with any problems or questions and do a fantastic job you’ll love. We can even provide complimentary colour consultations if you aren’t sure what colour you want.

Painting the exterior of your home can be a lot of time and effort, especially if you are inexperienced. Let the pros take care of it for you! Call us at 416.494.9095 or send an email to brian@HomePaintersToronto.com to get your FREE estimate!


From The Owner & Founder


Hello and welcome!

I’m both deeply honoured and flattered you are considering using our services.

Since 1987 when I was at York University simply earning my way through school, I’ve had the privilege to meet and work with thousands of amazing homeowners like yourself.

Besides the birth of my daughter, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing a homeowner’s life change when we have transformed their dream home into a masterpiece. For that reason, we take our jobs very seriously and are committed to our cause.

At Home Painters our mission is to paint homeowners’ dreams, and make your painting experience last a lifetime!
I look forward to hopefully meeting you one day, as it brings me tremendous joy to make homeowner’s dreams come true.