How to Paint A Window Sill Like the Pros

Jordan Paul , null

May 10th, 2022

How to Paint A Window Sill Like the Pros

Painting a window is not just a great place for a potted plant. A well maintained window sill will enable your windows to function as they were designed. We use window sills all the time and have for many years, but they tend to be neglected. Today we will suggest a few tips the pros use to keep window sills in good condition and ready for the next herb.

Special Note

Don’t Sand the Window Sill If the Paint Is Old

Prior to 1978 essentially all house paint contained some amount of lead, as it provided the paint with increased durability. After the lead was banned from paint in 1978, production was allowed for a while, so current stock was approved for sale. If you're painting a window sill on a home that could have been last painted in the 1980s, do not sand it or abrade it.

If the paint contains lead, sanding it will release the lead and allow it to become airborne and has been shown to cause illness, especially in children. The most common way to deal with lead based paint is to encapsulate it, or just paint over it. The paint is not generally considered dangerous unless it can be touched, so most municipalities are satisfied by a repaint.

Use a High Gloss Paint

You’ll want to use a high gloss paint for two reasons. The first, is that high gloss paint forms a much more dense surface than a flatter paint, allowing it to repel moisture. The second reason is that high gloss paint is much easier to clean. High gloss paint is used on most household trim for the same reason.

These traits make high gloss paint ideal for window sills, especially wide ones that are home to potted plants. We all tend to cause a splash when we water our plants, but water will bead up on high gloss paint, allowing time for a quick clean up. High gloss paint is also more durable than flatter sheens, so it takes impacts and scuffs with less damage.

Should I Use Enamel or Latex Paint For My Window Sill?

You can use either enamel or latex paint for your window sills. Both have similar qualities like durability and high gloss. The one reason why latex paints have essentially taken over the residential paint market is because enamel paints emit VOCs, otherwise known as volatile organic compounds. Homeowners can think of VOCs as the fumes emitted while the paint is drying. These fumes can irritate persons sensitive to VOCs, and cause a litany of symptoms.

Latex paints are water based and contain no oils or alkyds, however they too can contain VOCs. As a result, manufacturers have started to produce low and zero VOC paints to eliminate the risk. As window sills tend to be within reach of children, using latex paints greatly reduces the chances of accidental poisoning as well.

Paint Window Sills In the Spring and Summer

One way to eliminate VOCs and refresh the air is to paint your window sills in the late spring and early summer. This is a great time to air out the home and provide plenty of ventilation. Gentle breezes are also common during this time of year, helping to draw any remaining VOCs and odors out the window.

Use an Fine Bristle Angled Brush Between the Window and the Trim

Window sills need to look as good as possible because they are seen by anyone who operates the window. Most painted window sills show brushstrokes because the painter did not use a fine enough bristle brush. These brush strokes are very evident in a raking light and detract from the appearance of the paint. Because window sills are flat even surfaces, using a fine bristle angled brush will reduce or eliminate the brush strokes and result in a much prettier job.




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