DIY Black Painted Window Frames. Get the high-end, modern look of black windows by painting the frames for a fraction of the cost of new windows.
I LOVE the look of black windows in new homes. But there are also so many projects on our to-do list with our remodel at the #1891AvenuesCottage that I knew we didn’t have the budget for new windows.
Paint Older Window Frames to Get an Updated Look
One of our favorite past-times is walking around our neighborhood downtown and looking at the different turn-of-the-century homes. I’m always amazed at the details the homes have. There are always multiple homes being remodeled too and I it’s so inspiring to see all of the different projects people are doing on their homes. It gives me so many ideas!
Black Window Frames Look Modern
As we were walking one day I spotted a house with black windows! I went over to the home to get a closer look, thinking that the owners had put in new windows. I was delighted to see that they were older windows that had been given a fresh update with black paint!
Painted Window Frames Update Your Home
I took a closer look at our windows.The windows of our home are double-paned so they have all been replaced at some time pretty recently. I just assumed that they had vinyl frames since every home I’ve lived in always had vinyl window frames.
As I took a closer look, I was surprised to see that the window frames had been painted. I took a knife and gently scraped away a tiny section of paint and discovered that there was wood under the paint. I discovered that all of the windows in our home are wood frames except for two windows in the kitchen that have metal frames.
What Material are Your Window Frames Made Out of?
I discovered that there are different ways to paint your frames, depending on what the window frame is made out of. The main window frame types are — wood, metal or vinyl. And each type of window frame type requires different ways to paint them to get the optimal results.
Can You Paint Vinyl Window Frames?
While researching how to paint my window frames I discovered that painting vinyl window frames is quite a controversial subject. Contractors say that it can be done, while window manufacturers say that it shouldn’t be done. As I read many different posts on the subject, I read quite a few comments from home owners who have painted their vinyl window frames and had no problems.
The problem with painting vinyl window frames is that paint doesn’t adhere as well to vinyl window frames. When painting vinyl windows, use a primer that is made specifically for vinyl. Also – there is controversy that if you paint vinyl window frames a color darker than they already are, solar heat will heat up the windows and warp the frames.
Jess at Bright Green Door painted her vinyl window frames and she has a great tutorial on how to do it. While I was reading about vinyl window frames, I read a comment on one of the posts from a home owner who painted her vinyl window frames 10 years ago and has had no problems, So if you DO have vinyl window frames, be sure to research this fully before you decide to do it. I tried to find the article so I could link it but can’t find it again.
Can You Paint Metal or Wood Window Frames?
Yes! You can paint metal or wood window frames. If you have wood or metal window frames, the instructions on how to paint your window frames are pretty similar. The only difference could be the type of primer you use. I have both metal and wood frames and I painted both types of windows using the same primer and paint.
Supplies to Paint a Window Frame
- Paint (specific to the type of window frame you have) I used Valspar Cabinet Enamel which works on wood and metal.
- Primer (specific to the type of window frame you have) I used Valspar Bonding Primer/Sealer which works on wood and metal.
- Fine-gauge sandpaper
- Angled paintbrush
- Small detail paintbrush
- Painter’s Tape or
- Large putty tool with a straight edge
Prepping Your Window Frames is Very Important
Selecting the right primer is the most important aspect in prepping your window frames. Be sure you have a primer that is specific to the type of window frame you are painting. I used Valspar’s Bonding primer which is a heavy-duty stain blocker and bonds really well to paint. I am also using the primer on my kitchen island, which I am going to start painting this week.
Lightly Sand the Window Frame
Use a fine-gauge sandpaper and lightly sand the surface of the window frame. Then go over the sanded surface with a damp cloth to wipe all of the dust off the window frame.
Wipe Up Dust with a Rag
Use a damp rag to wipe the window frame down and get all of the dust off. You don’t want to ruin the painted finish with dust.
Tape Off Window Frames
Use painter’s tape to tape off the window frame. I used a hack that my friend Brooke at Plank and Pillow suggested to save time. I used a large putty tool and put the straight edge against each of the exposed areas and used a small paint brush to finish the straight edges of the frame.
The trick to this hack is to dip the paint brush in the paint or primer and then gently brush it at the edges, while pushing the edge of the tool firmly against the window or wall. If you have gobs of paint of primer on your brush and you try to make a straight edge using this technique the paint can get under the edge of the tool and you won’t get that straight edge. When you are done with each section, lift the tool straight up so that you don’t drag it on the surface where paint can get smeared. I would experiment using the tool if this is the approach you want to take. If you don’t feel confident using this method, it might be worth taking the time to tape everything off.
Apply 2 Coats of Primer
I opened the window slightly so I could get the bottom of the window and also to preventing sticking. Apply a coat of primer using long strokes. Let the primer dry at least 2 hours and then paint another coat over the first one.
Let Window Frames sit overnight
Paint the second coat of primer, then let the primer sit overnight to really get dry before you paint.
Apply Paint to Window Frames
I chose Valspar’s cabinet paint as the paint for this project. The reason why I did this is that this paint has the look of oil-based paint without the hassle. The paint has a smoothing feature that makes brushstrokes disappear The sheen is semi-gloss .
- This paint is water-soluble so it’s easy to clean up.
- A 4 hours drying time – which allowed me to move my windows up and down while it dried. This way the paint didn’t get stuck between the window and the frame resulting in windows that were painted shut.
How Many Coats of Paint Should I Apply?
I painted my window frames with two coats of primer and two coats of paint. It’s safer to apply two light coats of paint than one heavy coat of paint that will drip and ruin your paint job. Be sure to apply the paint in long, even strokes.
Take Off the Painter’s Tape and Enjoy Your new (old) windows!
That’s pretty much it. It does take time and it is a little tedious painting each panel but the results are amazing! I love the way this DIY updated our home for under $100.
Is Painting Your Window Frames Black Too Trendy?
Yes, painting your window frames black is a big trend right now. But if you look at ancient castles that had windows they were black so black window frames have been around for a long time. Remember, you can always repaint your window frames in the future. I’ve also seen painted window frames that are COLORS and they are gorgeous!!
Did You Paint the Inside and Outsides of the Window Frames?
I only painted the inside of the frames. One reason is that it’s winter and cold outside. Another is that I don’t know how black windows would look with our greige house. I do want to paint the outside of our house white eventually and at that point I will paint the outside of the frames to match.
Do You Have Any Questions About Painting Your Window Frames?
Let me know if you have any questions! I would be happy to answer them. And if you paint your window frames, I would love to see YOUR windows! Tag me on Instagram at @tatertotsandjello so I can see YOUR projects!! I’m going to start painting my kitchen cabinet this week, I will share the behind-the-scenes DIY on my Instagram stories!
Thanks for stoping by! And I hope you will journey with me as we remodel this historic home!
Brendt Blanks says
Jen, I want to do this to our windows. They look gorgeous!
I am pinning your DIY for when we finally get around to doing it. Thanks so much for sharing!
Happy weekend dear friend,
This is beautiful, Jen. They turned out so good!
Thanks Jen! I love the way they look!
I really want to paint my window frames, but they have grid in between the glass layers, I hate the color of it. What would you do with the grid?
Hi! I’ve seen some people that have painted wood grids and overlayed them on top of the window but I think you would still be able to see the grids inside of the glass.
Lidia Nascimento says
What is the white paint on the walls? Very pretty!
Christina Wallenburg says
Hi! Did you move your windows up and down every so often to ensure they didn’t get stuck shut?
I’m hoping to tackle this very soon!
Hi! Yes I did. I had one window that did get a little stuck and I just ran a razor blade along the window edge and it was fine 🙂
Hi! Our windows are pretty new and they are white. But I want to paint the window trim and the baseboards black. Will it look weird if the window panes are white and the trim aroind the windows is black? Thanks!
Hi! I don’t think it would look weird but I saw someone on tik tok that used pieces of wood the same size as the wood panes, painted them black and glued them on top of the windows, hiding the white trim underneath. It looked really cool!
Marlen Suazo Turcios says
Beautifu post, thank you!
Quick question – when the window is open, the bottom of the back window shows through the glass and I have no idea how to reach and paint that part? When the window is closed, you cannot see it or access it, but as soon as you open the window, that bottom piece is exposed through the glass, however it is not accesible either. Any suggestions?
Chris Shea says
Somewhat unrelated to painting…I apologize… but can you tell me what kind windows you have on your first floor? I love the vertical stacking. How do they open? Do you have screens? I’m building a new home and love the look of these for my enclosed front porch.
Hi! The windows we have are double hung windows. So they can be opened from the top or bottom. Our home is really old and I am not sure when the windows were installed. They didn’t have screens when we bought the home so I am not sure how screens work with double hung windows. xoxo
Binh Hua says
Did you get a chance to paint the exterior of the windows ? I’m debating to paint all my windows black because i’m worry about warping and glass cracking problems if i paint them black. Most blog I see is about painting the interior window but I want the interior and exterior of the window to match
Hi! I haven’t painted the outsides of the windows yet. I want to paint the entire exterior before I do that. But I plan to do the windows and the exterior someday. Right now we are remodeling the inside and when we are done we will put a new porch on the front and then paint everything outside 🙂
This looks so good! Do you think it would be possible to paint the locks with this same technique? Our windows are a horrible cream color so I don’t want to leave the lock that color and paint the rest black but not sure I really have a choice if I’m worrying about getting it stuck, or about chipping.
Hi Anne! I think so! I would paint most of the lock first and then paint the mechanism after the main part of the lock has been painted so you don’t paint them shut 🙂
Hello! I am planning to do this to my windows and when looking up the Valspar Cabinet Enamel, it says it must be tinted. What color and how did you have it tinted? Thank you so much for this resource.
I just had them tint it to black. I wanted them to be as black as possible 🙂
It looks beautiful and we are considering painting our wood frames, but we may also need to change our countertops. Can you tell me, do you know what color your island counter is? Thanks!
That’s what I did too! I think you will love the look of black window frames 🙂
Roller Blinds says
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I love your windows! I am thinking to paint the exterior of my windows black. Would you still use the same paint and primer?
Hi! I would use an exterior paint for the outside of the window frames.
I’m really wanting to do this but am unsure if once I paint a room’s window frames black, do you have to continue that look throughout the house?
I think if you are painting the frames on the inside of the home that you don’t have to do the whole house, just one room at a time. If you are doing the outside too I think it would look best to do the whole house 🙂
Laura Hogan says
Hi Jen -Your Windows look beautiful! We’re getting ready to install new black windows in our house. For this look, do I have the sash black and casement and frame white? I’m so confused!
I think it’s really just preference what you want to have black. I painted the window frames white and left the lock white and the casements white But I have seen everything black too. I am so excited for you. Are you painting them or having new black windows installed?
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Looks great! Did you leave the actual window locks white, or paint those too?
Also, we have double panes with white grids between them, so those can’t be touched. I’d love your opinion on painting those frames black, but still have white grids in them. Do you know anyone who’s done that?
Hi! I left the locks white. I thought it would be too hard to paint those and that the paint would chip as the locks are opened and closed. I think it looks fine white with the black frames 🙂
Frances Sheffield says
We’re thinking of painting our windows black. I’m guessing you let the weather strip the original color? Ours is an off-white and I’m worried it will look weird.
Hi! Our windows are double paned so they don’t have weather stripping. I just painted the frames. I probably wouldn’t paint the weather stripping 🙂
The windows look sharp!
Thanks!! We love the new look 🙂
Wow! It has bought life into the room.
What a Fantastic Post!! Love your work.
I love this! We are building a house and chose black windows. I hesitated to go that route since I was afraid it is a trend that will fade. But, if you start looking around there are SO many (beautiful!) houses of quite a range of age that have black windows. I think I will be happy with them throughout their expected life span. I am currently struggling with white paint colors for our walls and trim. Would you mind sharing your paint colors? I’ve been searching your site but haven’t run across that if it’s there. Thank you!
Hi Marcie! Sorry for the delayed reply, for some reason I am not getting notifications on post comments after two weeks. I think you will love having black window frames.Our white is Glidden’s Delicate White and we love it!
I absolutely love this look and can’t wait to do it in my home! I think it’s going to look great. Thanks for sharing!
Yay!! I really love the way it looks! I’d love to see pictures if you decide to do it!