Staining Wood-frame Windows Refreshes Your Home


Staining wood-frame windows protects frames and trim while refreshing the natural appeal of your Madison WI home. Pella Windows provides prefinished wooden windows for new construction and as replacements. But even these windows need touching up eventually. Weather, wear and changes in color trends dictate the timing of your window refinishing project.

It takes a delicate touch but refinishing wooden windows is worth the effort.

Wood stains come in many colors representing various species of wood, depth of shade and tint. For a more modern, custom look there are dozens of paint colors. Paint adds color and contrast to curb appeal. Done well it complements your home’s overall design. Stain, on the other hand, creates a smooth, natural look. It can be flat or glossy. Paint can be bold and dramatic. Wood stain is warm and inviting – but no less dramatic within your interior design.

Choices For Staining Wood-frame Windows

Your windows have two sides to deal with: inside and outside. Each is treated differently when preparing to refinish.

Evaluate the exterior frame first. The overall condition of the window’s glazing and caulking directly impact the interior, too. Glazing is the putty or caulk holding the glass and the frame together. If it is crumbling or cracked it must be replaced. This is a good time to replace the glass panes too if they’re pitted or cracked. Look closely around the edges.

Is the finish faded, peeling or cracked? Any place where water might get into or beneath the window frame has to be caulked, too. Water discolors the wood frames and when it gets under the frame it lead to rot, mold and mildew. Warped wood is also a possibility.

Refinishing the exterior is the first step toward a positive result indoors.

Interior wood stain helps make a statement in your overall interior design. A white wood stain works perfectly with oak window frames for a contemporary farmhouse look. Stains are available from one end of the spectrum to the other – from white and gray to black. Colors providing design elements from traditional to ultra-modern. Natural wood stains from deep brown to honey gold provide warm, distinctive finishing to traditional rooms.

The Window Refinishing Process

The process of refinishing wooden windows is not difficult if you follow a few basic steps. The first is collecting the tools of the trade, including:

  • Sandpaper or a sanding sponge in different grades – from slightly rough to fine
  • Painter’s tape
  • Rubbing cloths and soft cotton rags
  • A vinegar-based cleaning solution
  • A water source for cleanup
  • Wood conditioner for before staining
  • The wood stain of your choice
  • Oil-based wood varnish for the final finish
  • Soft staining brushes

A fresh coat of wood stain adds to the warmth of this bright room.

The first action is taping the glass where it meets the frame to avoid staining it. Then you remove all the hardware and anything else that comes off so the wooden surface is ready to stain.

Preparing the wood means lightly sanding with fine sandpaper or a sanding sponge. Remember, always sand with the grain of the wood. Smooth the surface, removing rough spots.

Use a high-quality wood conditioner so the new finish goes on evenly. A paint professional will provide recommendations for the best finish – from pre-stain conditioner to stain and finish coat.

Applying stain evenly is a critical step in the process. Excess stain can be wiped off with clean cotton rags or evened out – removing stain from cracks and crevices – with a dry brush.

The final step is applying varnish – at least 24 hours after applying the stain. It is available in gloss, semi-gloss and high-gloss versions. Two coats of an oil-based varnish are usually recommended.

When the window is refinished wax the slides – the surfaces the window slides on – to prevent sticking as they open and close. Any good paste-type furniture wax works.

Threats To Wooden Window Frames

The weather is the big threat to window frame. Two elements in particular: rain and sunshine. Sounds like you cannot win, right?

Water is an enemy of all things wood. It leads to rot and mold – which leads to cracking and eventually disintegration. Proper glazing and caulking prevent water from getting in where the glass and frame meet. Using high-quality varnish keeps moisture from seeping into the wood itself.

High-end oil-based varnish protects your wooden frames from sunshine, too. The UV rays cause old finishes to cloud and peel.

Refinishing wood windows has many challenges. They need special materials and attention to details.

Consult Professionals Before Staining Wood-frame Windows

Starting with high-quality windows and skilled professional installation insures your home’s windows’ long lives. Pella Windows provides performance, value and advances in window design from frames and hardware to glass. Sims Exteriors & Remodeling is a Certified Installation Contractor for all Pella windows in the Madison area. It is a member of a select national group fielding a team of specialists trained to install innovative windows and support their extensive warranties. In addition to specializing in windows Sims is a versatile contracting company committed to quality residential constructions – remodeling, roofing, siding and additions. Contact Sims Exteriors & Remodeling for the latest Pella Windows technology and help staining wood-frame windows in your Madison WI home.

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