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Painting windows seems like something you could wing. But if you want to avoid a mess, painting in the proper sequence is key. Here's how:

paint windowsJoe Provey, Home & Garden Editorial Services

Nothing slows a painting job down like having to touch up brush smears, splatters, and spots you accidentally skipped. But the secret to avoiding these problems is as easy as following orders.

Painting a double-hung window is a case in point. A double-hung window is the kind with two sashes, one mounted over the other. But before you can understand the proper sequence for painting a double-hung, you should be familiar with the window's different parts.
paint windows

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Skill Level
Interior painting is a skill that everyone can do. If you don't have a steady hand, there's always masking tape.

Tools and Supplies
You'll need a drop cloth, fine sand paper or sanding sponge, a sash brush, and a good trim paint. I prefer latex semi-gloss enamel. It's not too shiny but cleans easily.

First remove all window hardware. Then lightly sand all surfaces to ensure good paint adhesion. Clean up any dust and wash all surfaces with water and a mild detergent.

After you've completed your preparation:

1. Raise the lower sash as high as it will go. Then lower the upper sash. This will expose the bottom rail of the upper sash that's hidden from sight when the window is closed. (Don't be surprised to find this rail is a different color than the rest of the sash! Many DIY-ers neglect to paint it.)

2. Paint as much of the bottom of the upper sash as you can reach -- at least a few inches -- including the non-exposed bottom rail.

3. Next, return the sashes to their normal positions, leaving them open a little at top and bottom. Finish painting the upper sash, working from muntins and the inner sash edges to the sash face. Then paint the lower sash.

4. With both sashes painted, move on to the jambs. I try to paint them in a clockwise order every time because it helps me avoid skipping areas. Take care not to get paint inside the channels in which the sash slide, or you may end up with window that's difficult or impossible to open.

5. Next, paint the casing and apron (moldings that frame the window). Begin with the outer edges, and then move on to the faces. This will minimize drips.

6. Finish up by painting the stool, the ledge molding that extends from the window's sill.

Now you've got an evenly-painted window with (hopefully!) not much of a mess left. All that's left to do is sit back and enjoy the view.


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