How to Prepare a uPVC Window for Painting

preparations before painting a UPVC window

If you are thinking of painting uPVC windows at home, then you’ll need to be cautious with your prep work.

Being able to separate your uPVC window frames from the windows and doors is really important. Remember, it’s the window and door frames you want to spray paint (it’s best to avoid a paint brush because of brush marks), not the windows themselves.

There’s no denying that this job is best left to the professionals to achieve the stylish, professional finish you want. But before they paint uPVC window frames in your home, you might be able to give them a head start by doing some of the prep work for them.

Will this lead to some discounts? Maybe, maybe not. But it certainly gives you some leverage to negotiate.

So, whether you’re looking to turn your white uPVC windows grey, bright pink, dark grey, or you want brown uPVC windows to match your home decor, here’s what you need to do.

1. Cleaning the uPVC window frame

The most important job is cleaning the uPVC frames around the windows. If there’s dirt or grime along it, then the painted uPVC windows just won’t look right. Besides, cleaning the frames helps the paint adhere to the plastic surfaces of the uPVC window frames.

You have to remember that most paints don’t stick well to a uPVC surface. So choosing the right paint is the first step when spray painting uPVC windows and doors. But the second step is making sure the surface is completely clean for the first coat. This will help it stick much better and provide a durable finish in the end because it’s applied properly.

So, to clean your uPVC window frames and get a smooth finish, you’ll need to focus primarily on the exterior surfaces. Most exterior surfaces will be dirtier than the uPVC frames indoors (although you’ll need to tackle them too).

Here’s what to do:

  • Take a damp cloth and some hot soapy water. Start with the exterior surfaces of the uPVC doors and windows that will be painted.
  • PLEASE NOTE: even if you have a new uPVC door or window, you’ll still need to clean the surfaces. That’s due to some dirt and grime that can be left over from the manufacturing process.
  • Simply wipe down the surfaces with the damp cloth and hot water until all the windows and doors are clean, inside and out. This will be a time-consuming job.
  • Remember to change the water frequently too. Even if you are painting the windows a darker colour, you still want to avoid muddy streaks on the surface before painting uPVC windows and doors. The key here is a thorough clean!

2. Sanding the uPVC window frame

Before you paint a uPVC window, you’ll also need to distress the surface a little. It seems odd, but this process helps the uPVC paint stick to the surface more easily. It also makes it much less likely that you’ll need two coats of your chosen colour to fully cover the uPVC doors and windows.

So, how do you distress the window frames?

Use sand paper OR a sanding sponge. But the key here is lightly sanding the surface of the uPVC doors and windows. Going too heavy at this stage will actually damage the uPVC frames. This will make it much more difficult to paint.

However, it’s important to note that the above technique is for when you paint uPVC windows for the first time. If it has been previously painted, then you will need to sand the uPVC frames a little more to remove the old colour before painting it a different colour.

If you’re moving into a new house with old uPVC windows, it’s best to make sure if the surface has been painted in the past or if it is simply white uPVC that has been sun bleached and looking tired too.

You can usually remove the top coat of uPVC paint easily with a light sanding and a little elbow grease. So make sure there isn’t any old paint to remove in addition to the sanding process talked about above.

You need to make sure that you’re distressing the uPVC’s surface itself, not a coat of paint on top.

Once you have distressed every part of the uPVC window frames that are going to be painted, it’ll be ready for the first coat, but don’t start just yet…

3. Protecting the glass

The best paint for the job you’ll most likely be using is an acrylic based uPVC paint that’s great for thermal expansion and provides a professional finish. Unfortunately, this stuff doesn’t work well with windows themselves (just the frames). So you’ll need to make sure you protect the glass windows before painting uPVC frames and keep in mind disposal when ready.

This part is integral, because if you end up with paint on your double glazing, French doors, garage doors, or uPVC front door windows, it’ll be obvious every time you come home, and it won’t come off easily either.

Masking tape is your friend…

Make sure the masking tape is thick enough to stop the paint from soaking through to the windows, or else you’ll regret it later.

Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  • Take your masking tape and create a thick barrier around the window glass closest to the frames that are going to be painted.
  • This barrier should be around 6 inches wide. Remember, you (or the professional team you’ve hired, more likely) will be using spray paint to cover the white uPVC with the new uPVC colour options you’ve decided upon. So you need a thick barrier to prevent any accidental spray from splattering the window.
  • Don’t just think about the glass either. You’ll need to make sure that anything surrounding the frame on the interior and exterior that may be exposed to the spray paint is covered too.
  • The key here is being thorough. Cover every possible surface that the spray paint may affect to prevent it from being ruined.

So, let’s get your uPVC window ready for painting!

Once you’ve followed this advice, your uPVC window frames will be ready for their first coat. If done properly (and depending on the colour of the paint you’ve chosen) you may only need one coat to cover it entirely.

If two coats are required, then wait for the paint to be completely dry to give it a chance to fully cure before you remove all the tape and barriers you’ve put up.

Now you should be left with uPVC window frames with a smooth finish to enjoy!

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Thinking of painting your uPVC windows? Here's the prep work you need to do!

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