This week’s question comes from Dave in Minneapolis, MN.
Dave, before you paint anything I recommend priming your wood windows with a good oil-based primer. You can read more about primers here. Once you’ve primed you’re ready to pick a finish paint.
Oil-based enamel is great for woodwork. It provides a hard finish that won’t cause your windows to stick like water-based paints have a tendency to do.
The downside is that they tend to yellow slightly over time and are more prone to mildew than water-based paint. Inside that isn’t too much of an issue but painting outside in a humid climate will likely yield mildew problems.
Here in Florida I use oil-based paints occasionally on the interior but never on the exterior. My favorite is Ben Moore Impervo.
This is what I use most of the time on wood windows. But don’t choose any old water-based paint. You MUST choose an enamel paint or else you will get windows that are constantly sticking in their jambs. A good choice is Sherwin-Williams Porch & Floor Enamel, but my new favorite is Sherwin-Williams Sher-Cryl.
Sher-Cryl is hiding behind the counter and is only available at Sherwin-Williams Marine & Industrial stores. It works phenomenally! Excellent adhesion and not tacky at all. It’s expensive but the best paints always are.
For tons more info on restoring wood windows you can visit my resource page How To: Repair Old Wood Windows
Founder & Senior Editor
I love old houses, working with my hands, and teaching others the excitment of doing it yourself! Everything is teachable if you only give it the chance.