How to Paint White Windows Black: A DIY Project Guide

Black windows are becoming very popular in the last 5-10 years amongst modern homes. They look nice and can match easily with the interior of your home. Buying new black replacement windows can be very costly, especially if your windows aren’t in need of a replacement.

However, many people already have windows with white frames. As we’ve discussed in our guide to black windows, it’s possible to paint your white windows black. You’ll need to get the right materials, tools, and methods, but it’s possible.

Before painting your windows black, please check your window's warranty. If your windows are still within its warranty period, painting your windows will void that warranty. 

Before we jump into the nitty-gritty, the paint and primer type that you buy will depend on whether you are painting the interior or the exterior of your windows.

The exterior needs higher-quality, longer-lasting primer and paint because it has to go through the rain, wind, dirt, debris, storms, and all of that. The interior doesn’t need to be as durable.

Materials Needed:

  • Frog Tape Multisurface painter’s tape
  • Plastic sheets to protect the surrounding area
  • Primer
  • Paint (make sure that it matches the frame material)
  • Degreaser or TSP (tri-sodium phosphate) powder

Here are some vinyl-safe colors by Sherwin Williams.

Tools Needed:

  • Paint sprayer
  • Paint brushes
  • Window cleaner
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Mask

Time Needed: 3 Hours +

The time that this project will take will depend on how many windows you are working with and the size of your windows.

It will take more time to tape the areas around your windows than to actually your the window itself.

What Paint and Primer to Buy?

Look for specific primers for your window material. A commonly recommended primer is Sherwin Williams Extreme Bond Primer. It can be used for interior and exterior surfaces.

For paint, make sure you choose an exterior trim paint that will adhere properly to your window frame. Exterior paints will last longer if you’re painting the outside of your window.

0. Test Your Paint

It’s best to test your paint on your surface before committing to it. You don’t want the paint to damage your frame. You also want the color to be one that you want.

Choose a test patch for your test. Then clean it properly as if you were going to go through with the entire project. Apply your primer and then paint.

Wait a couple of weeks to make sure that your new paint will survive whatever the weather tackles it with.

If you live in a very hot place, this is important to know that your new paint won’t cause any unwanted permanent damage to your windows.

1. Prep the Surface

Before doing any painting, we want to make sure that the surface of the window frame is clean. If it’s not clean, then you’ll see bumps of dirt and debris underneath your paint when it’s done drying.

Cleaning the surface also lets your primer and paint stick better. Removing the old paint will also help your new paint stick better and last longer.

Mix your TSP with warm water in a bucket. Then spray your window with it to remove dirt and grease. Make sure to follow the instructions for the correct ratio to mix.

Then, use a sponge or microfiber cloth to wipe the window frame. Afterwards, rinse it off with clean water.

2. Tape the Window

This part will most likely be the most time consuming part of the project. And the most frustrating too.

It’ll be worth it in the end though. This part makes a huge difference in the outcome of your paint job. You don’t want to be getting black paint in places where you shouldn’t, after all. Black stands out.

Tape up any parts where you don’t want your paint going, such as:

  • Glass window close to your window frame and trim
  • Siding outside of your window
  • The track for your window, if you have sliding windows

3. Apply the Primer

Once everything is taped off, it’s finally time to pick up those paintbrushes. At last, the most satisfying part is here.

Follow the instructions on the primer that you picked. We picked the Sherwin Williams Extreme Bond Primer.

This type of primer works well on the interior and exterior of a home. It works with the following surfaces:

  • PVC piping – This is the same material as vinyl window frames
  • Glass
  • Aluminum
  • Varnished Woodwork

The instructions on it are as follows:

  • Make sure that the air temperature is over 35 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Make sure the temperature is 5 degrees Fahrenheit above the dew point. Avoid using in rain and snow.
  • Use a nylon-polyester brush. OR use a 3/8 inch nap soft woven roller cover. OR use a spray with 2000 psi with a 0.015-0.021 inch tip.
  • Prime the entire surface instead of spot priming, since the colors could be a bit off.
  • One coat is enough.
  • It will dry to touch in 30 minutes. You can recoat in 1 hour if desired.

Here are more specifications about how to use this Extreme Bond Primer for different surface applications.

4. Apply the Paint

After the primer is done drying, according to the instructions on the can, you can now start painting with your top coat. The primer we picked says that it’s best to apply 2 coats of top coat.

However, it depends on your paint and its color. Since we’re trying to get our windows to look very black, you might need more coats.

Whether you use a paint brush, roller, or air sprayer is up to you. A paint sprayer is the fastest method and will give you an even application of paint when you do multiple layers of thin coats. Be sure to tape everything off very well to avoid getting small splotches of sprayed paint under your tape. It happens.

Using a paintbrush tapes the most time, but it’s also the most accurate. If you have very specific places you don’t want paint getting into, a combination of tape and paint brush will do the trick.

A roller is best for the flat straight parts of your window such as going up and down or across.

How Many Coats of Paint to Apply?

This is a common question to ask. The answer is that it depends on the paint you use. Since we’re trying to paint our window frames black, we might have to use more coats than usual to get an even layer of black.

The primer is white, so it’ll be very easy to see if you need to apply more coats or not. For some paints, it may be just 2 coats. For others, it might be 3.

The Material of Your Frames Matter

Can You Paint Vinyl Windows Black?

For some materials, such as vinyl, you can paint your frames black but that doesn’t mean you should. When you paint white vinyl black, the paint can absorb and trap heat which causes the vinyl to warp. Any warping can break your air seals and render your windows less energy efficient than before.

New paint technology has come quite a ways. This means you can find paints that are vinyl-safe that won’t absorb as much heat. Before doing a project like this, make sure you consult your window’s warranty. Painting will most likely void your warranty if you still have it.

It also depends on where you live too. Here in southern Texas, we get some extreme heat in the summer time. Black absorbs heat, so it would make it harder for our home to maintain our desired temperature in the summer time. However, if you’re in the mid-west or the north, the heat doesn’t get as hot.

There are many case studies where people have painted their vinyl windows black with good results.

Can You Paint Aluminum Windows Black?

Painting aluminum windows is a great idea because the paint can protect the aluminum metal from the elements.

Aluminum heats up quickly because it is a metal, so you want to select specific metal paints, not just any paint from your local home improvement store. Another tip is to use paint that is meant for the exterior of your home. Interior paints won’t last as long either.

Aluminum paint will hold really well, but over time, you’ll need to repaint as it slowly chips off with years of rain, dirt, and winds.

Can You Paint Wooden Windows Black?

Wood is similar to aluminum, where it can be painted as well. The primary difference between wood and aluminum is the primer and paint type that you use.

Wooden windows can be painted black.

Make sure that you select a high-quality primer as your base coat. Use an exterior paint rather than an interior paint to make sure that it costs a long time.

Satin or semi-gloss paints will withstand the elements better than flat or matte sheens.

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