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Can You Paint Window Frames? Does It Depend on the Material?

Painter painting white window frame

Whether you own your home or rent, a little paint goes a long way. A fresh coat on the back door and all traces of scuffs and scratches are gone. Paint a room white, and it instantly looks cleaner and brighter. For an inexpensive update, put a vibrant color on a gallery wall.

There are paint projects that are a little more complicated, however. Take window frames, for instance. Can you paint them? Should you paint them? Yes, you can, but it is not always recommended.

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What Material Are the Frames?

Are your window frames metal, wood, or vinyl? The type of material the frames are made of will determine if they should be painted, how they should be painted, and what to use to achieve optimal results.

Can You Paint Vinyl Window Frames?

Most times, vinyl windows are purchased in a color the homeowner prefers and usually do not need to be painted. There may be times when painting a vinyl window frame is necessary. Of course, you can paint it, but it is not recommended, however.


Paint does not stick well to vinyl, not even a vinyl window frame. It will eventually result in cracking and peeling, and the window will look like a mess. To avoid chipping and flaking, you would need to use a primer on the frame prior to painting it. Unfortunately, the chemicals in primer react negatively with vinyl and can harm the frame and void the warranty.

The color you choose may have negative effects also. Painting the frame a dark color can intensify the heat on the window, especially on hot sunny days. The heat can warp the window and crack the glass.

Vinyl Window
Image Credit: Gina Leonard, Shutterstock

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Tips for Painting Vinyl Window Frames

Knowing the risks, if you still need or want to paint your vinyl frames, there are steps you can take to minimize the risk.

  1. Prime the window before painting. The primer should be good for use on vinyl.
  2. After the primer is completely dry, you can paint.
  3. We suggest using high-quality paint.

How to Paint Vinyl Windows

  1. Clean the vinyl
  2. Sand the vinyl with medium grit sandpaper. Be sure to protect the glass so it does not get scratched.
  3. Apply the primer to the window frame. Tape off the glass of the window to prevent it from getting paint on it.
  4. Apply the paint.

We recommend you do your research and seek the advice of a professional before painting your vinyl window frames.

Metal or Wood Frames

Different-sized window frames painted
Image Credit: Ksenia Chernaya, Pexels

If your window frames are made from wood or metal, painting them will be the same as painting vinyl. The primer and paint will need to be for the type of material you are painting, however. In some cases, you can use the same paint and primer for metal and wood.

  1. Lightly sand the frame with fine sandpaper.
  2. Remove any loose dust that remains from sanding
  3. Tape the glass with painter’s tape. If you are comfortable, you can use a straight-edge putty tool and a small brush for the edges of the frame.
  4. Apply two coats of primer. Let the primer dry overnight.
  5. Apply the paint. The paint should be applied in a light coat. It’s better to apply two coats than one heavy coat.
  6. Once all the paint is dry, remove the painter’s tape.
  7. Sit back and enjoy.

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As we stated previously, painting vinyl windows is not recommended. It can pose risks and void warranties. If you do paint the window frames, be sure to spend the time doing the necessary prep work and purchase quality paint and primer. Good luck and happy painting!

Featured Image Credit: Ksenia Chernaya, Pexels


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