How to paint windows and door frames

How-To Paint Your Window Frames & Trim 

May 8, 2023

At some point in the painting process, there comes a time when walls turn into windows to allow sunlight and air to enter the space. Windows have trim, molding, sills, and casings that need to be included in the painting process to make a space look completely refreshed. 

Windows are a vital part of every room to add light and air and break up larger walls. Unfortunately, windows have lots of detail work that require a steady hand and the ability to paint edges and spaces that are often adjacent to different colors. 

Homeowners often paint the trim of windows a different color (typically white) and sometimes an entirely different level of sheen (typically a higher level of sheen than the wall). This means that the detailed painting needs to be done either by a process called cutting in or by the painstaking process of applying the painter’s tape to every edge. 

Here are a few tips to help you paint your window frames and trim so that your final product will look professional and aesthetically pleasing. 


Clean & Prep 

Just as you would clean the walls and surfaces to paint a room, the same should be done for the windows in the space. You can use regular warm water and soap mixed in a bucket and a sponge to get off the layers of dirt and grime. You may however need to use a tool to get into the corners of the trim and along the sill to remove any difficult dirt, dust, or gunk. 

Allow the windows to dry before adding any primer. This is also a good time to check that the windows are properly sealed and that any caulking is not loose or coming unattached. 

Scrape and Sand 

Windows often get the largest amount of direct sunlight causing paint to bubble and peel prematurely. If that is the case in your paint project, you will need to scrape any peeling, bubbling, or blistering paint off with a scraper and then sand using sandpaper or a sander. Be sure to use higher levels of grit first going to the finest levels to assure a smooth surface. 


As with any other painting project primer is important to ensure that the main coat of paint will adhere to the surface properly. Primer may need a couple of coats to hit all areas of the trim, sill, and casing. 

When priming, we suggest using an angled brush and feather in while you “cut in.” If you are using painter’s tape be sure to remove the tape when the final layer is still slightly wet. 

Painting Final Coat

Whether you have chosen a classic white or another hue, be sure to paint from top to bottom to avoid any drips that could occur during the painting process. Use short strokes and a steady hand to hit all the edges. 

For more detailed descriptions of cutting in, applying painter’s tape, and the window painting process visit Benjamin Moore’s “How To Paint Window Trim” page


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