What Paint and Primer Is Best for Wooden Window Frames?

A fresh coat of paint can breathe new life into wooden window frames. But which paint and primer combination should you use? With so many different types of paint out there, it can be difficult to know where to begin.

Water-based paint and primer specifically made for wood surfaces is the best option for wooden window frames. Water-based paints are durable and last a long time. Although oil-based paint is more durable, it is not environmentally friendly and may not be available in some areas.

In this article you will learn:

  • The factors to consider when choosing paint for wooden window frames
  • What type of paint to use
  • What paint finish is best
  • My top picks for the best paint and primer for wooden window frames

4 Factors to Consider When Choosing Paint for Wooden Window Frames

When it comes to painting wooden windows, there are a few factors to consider before you start (don’t miss my full guide to painting wooden window frames). Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind:

1. Quality

Quality paints will last longer and provide better coverage, ensuring the window frames look great for years. Choosing a paint with a high degree of flexibility is also important to ensure it can withstand extreme temperatures and weathering.

2. Type of Paint

Latex paint is the most common paint used on wooden window frames. It’s easy to apply, is water-soluble, and it dries quickly. However, oil-based paints can provide a more durable finish that stands up better over time.

3. Durability

Durability is an essential factor when selecting paint, as you want to ensure your investment will last many years. Look for paints resistant to chalking, fading, blistering, and other weather-related damage.

4. Environmentally Friendly

When possible, select an environmentally friendly option when painting your window frames. This reduces the carbon footprint and helps to preserve local ecosystems like rivers and forests.

What Type of Paint Is Best?

Oil-based Paint

Oil-based paint is a type of slow-drying paint that consists of particles of pigment suspended in a drying oil, commonly linseed oil. It provides a protective coating and a smoother finish than water-based paint, making it one of the preferred choices for wooden frames. 


  • Gives the highest protection against mold and mildew, UV rays, and temperature changes
  • Provides a glossy finish that is resistant to wear and tear
  • Provides a smoother finish
  • Has excellent adhesion


  • Longer drying time compared to water-based paint
  • Has strong odors and fumes
  • Not environmentally-friendly
  • Not available in many countries
  • High VOC levels

Water-based Paint

Water-based paint, also known as latex paint, is a type of paint that uses water as its solvent instead of oil. It is popular for painting wooden frames due to its fast drying time, easy cleanup, and low VOC levels. 


  • Fast drying time
  • Easy cleanup with soap and water
  • Low VOC levels
  • Available in many countries
  • Environmentally-friendly


  • Less protection from UV rays and temperature changes than oil-based paint
  • Less durable than oil-based paint
  • It can be prone to chipping, cracking, and fading over time

What Paint Finish Is Best?

Semi-gloss or high-gloss paint is a great choice. This type of paint will provide a resilient and attractive finish that resists chipping, cracking, and fading over time.

Additionally, these finishes provide excellent durability against weather exposure and other environmental elements such as dust and dirt.

The primary benefit of a semi-gloss or high-gloss coating on wood window frames is that it gives the wood an attractive sheen while providing long-term protection from the elements.

It is also resistant to UV rays, which helps prevent fading over time. Furthermore, these paints are easy to maintain through regular cleaning with mild soap and water or other suitable cleaning products recommended by the manufacturer. 

It is crucial to select a paint with strong adhesion qualities to ensure it adheres effectively to the surface and doesn’t peel off over time.

The best way to ensure proper adhesion is to sand down the wood before applying any primer or paint. This will help create an even surface that will be receptive when coated with either semi-gloss or high-gloss paints.

The Best Paint and Primer for Wooden Window Frames

Choosing the right paint and primer for your wooden window frames is important to ensure a long-lasting and beautiful finish. Here’s what we recommend and why. 

Best Paint

The Sherwin Williams SherCryl HPA is perfect for painting wooden window frames. It offers outstanding corrosion resistance and protection against weathering, while its fast drying time ensures a professional-looking finish that will last.

The chemical-resistant properties of this acrylic coating make it ideal for outdoor wooden window frames, preventing damage from exposure to rain, humidity, and other external elements.

The excellent application characteristics make applying this paint hassle-free. With a quick drying time and flash rust-early rust-resistant properties, you can be sure that the finished job will look great with minimal effort.

Additionally, SherCryl HPA is appropriate for use in USDA-inspected facilities due to its high standard of quality assurance.

This makes it ideal not only for home use but also for commercial applications that require strict compliance with government regulations.

Best Primer

Dulux Water-based Gloss Primer for Wood is the best for wooden window frames. This product offers superior protection and adhesion, making it an ideal choice for wooden window frames.

It contains a 100% water-based formula that allows a quick drying time and helps reduce unpleasant odors.

In addition, this primer provides enhanced smoothness to ensure better coverage on the wooden surface. Its low VOC content and Green Label certification also ensure no harmful or toxic substances are added to the environment. This superior primer also contains no lead or mercury and is suitable for application on indoor and outdoor surfaces.

Its excellent adhesion properties allow for better durability and a longer lifespan of the window frame.

Dulux Water-based Gloss Primer further improves the smoothness of the wood surface to give it a perfect finish before painting, leading to a higher quality finish overall.

Joshua Milton

Joshua Milton is a passionate DIY and home improvement enthusiast. With his expertise in various projects, he provides practical tips, step-by-step guides, and creative ideas for transforming your living space.

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