A Guide To Painting Your Timber Sash Windows

Timber sash windows add a touch of traditional style to your home so it's well worth having them restored and repaired professionally.  However, once the restoration work has been carried out, you can paint the window frames yourself.  Here's how to do it.

What you'll need

  • ladder
  • dust sheets
  • paint brushes
  • paint kettle
  • paint
  • paint stirrer

Choose a paint that only requires one coat for full and even coverage.  If you have to use two coats of paint, you risk affecting the smooth movement of the sashes and the windows may stick.

How to do it

  1. Begin by painting the inside of the sash window frames.  Raise the inner sash slightly, and slight the outer sash down a fraction so that there is a small gap at the top and bottom of the window.  Move the sash cords out of the way so that they remain paint-free.  If you paint the sash cords, they can become brittle and more likely to break.  You can paint the pulley housing but do not paint the actual pulley or it will stick and the sashes won't run smoothly.  
  2. Stir the paint well to make sure that it's fully mixed, and then pour it into the paint kettle.  Put down a dust sheet to protect floor coverings and furniture, and clear windowsills of ornaments.  
  3. Begin by painting the glazing bars, being sure to cover all the inner sash surfaces.  Keep the brush strokes smooth, and follow the direction of the wood grain to ensure an even coverage.  
  4. Now move on to painting all that you can see of the outer sash.  Paint the face of the outer meeting rail, but leave the underside paint-free.  
  5. Push up the outer sash to leave a couple of centimetres open at the top.  Pull down the inner sash from the outside.  
  6. Now you can finish off painting the outer sash, leaving out the upper surface of the top rail.  Leave the sashes in this position until they are completely dry.  
  7. All that's left for you to do now is to paint the inside linings, before moving on to painting the exterior of the window frames.  
  8. Set the sashes as you did in step #1.  Paint every visible surface except the top of the upper inside sash rail.  Paint the pulley stiles too.  
  9. Replace the sashes as in step #5, and then finish off painting the inner sash and the sill.

In conclusion

When you've had your sash windows restored or repaired, you can finish off the job by painting them, following the guidelines given above.