How to Paint Sash Windows Without Them Sticking

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What is a Sash Window?

The ubiquitous sash window has been with us for centuries and adorns many properties, both new and old. And despite its rather long history, the operating principle remains the same: one or more movable panels form a frame which holds panes of glass which, in most cases, are fitted separately from the others. These window-panes are then opened by sliding horizontally or vertically. In a residential or working environment they are perfect for regulating the breeze coming in.

Painting these kinds of windows can be rather challenging. One of the real challenges is making sure that the windows don’t stick after painting. If you follow a few principles, you should be able to avoid calling in friends to help try and wrench them open if the two parts of the window have become stuck together once painted. So here’s a guide on how to prevent this from happening, together with more general information that should provide you with valuable pointers, whether you’re embarking on an office refurbishment project or working on your home.

Precautionary Steps

First, remove all window accessories such as locks and handles – this will make the process much easier. If you’ve painted the windows before, it might be worth stripping the paint off. Sash-windows are usually tightly fitted so adding another coat of paint might affect their operation. In order to reach all parts of the frame, it will be necessary to reverse the sashes. This can be achieved by lifting the base sash window as high as possible and then pulling the top sash down.

Be sure to carry out any repairs before you begin such as rot-treatment or re-cording. If you’ve decided to leave the previous paintwork, wash it down with soda, sugar soap or a detergent. Alternatively, use a hot-air paint stripper if a build up of paint is causing sticking.

Choose the Right Paint

Choosing the right paint depends on the surface you are painting on. It’s probably a good idea to seek advice from a professional painter and decorator in this regard. There are numerous different paints out there, some of which are incompatible with others. Once you’ve chosen the most suitable one stir well so that the pigment doesn’t go to the bottom of the tin. To make the job that much easier, use a one-inch brush for the glazing bars and a wider brush for other areas.

Brush Size & Brushing Techniques

Painting the glazing bars is perhaps the most challenging thing about painting sash-windows. While some use masking tape to prevent paint getting on the glass, if you use a brush that is suitably sized, you might be able to avoid this – try to develop a technique that enables you to cover the junction between the putty and glass. This can help improve the waterproofing and extend the putty’s lifespan. Avoid painting too far on to the glass though as this can add to the visual weight of the sash-window.

If you follow the above tips you should be able to avoid the pitfalls which are common when painting sash-windows, such as sticking panes. You can of course call in professional painters and decorators, or office fit out and refurbishment specialist like us who do this kind of things with our eyes closed! Just contact us today.