Posted in First Time Parents, Our First Home

Painting & Caulking a Window: A First Timer’s Experience

img_4635Let’s preface again that I am not an expert on home improvement, but I am a first-time home buyer, on a budget, that wants to fix up our home. We started our projects in our future nursery (7 weeks until baby joins us!), it really needed a good cleaning and new paint job before we could start moving in the furniture and decorations. I researched and made my shopping list to update baby’s future room.

The “Before” Picture

Here is what I started with… seriously disgusting. The trim and window sill was covered in a layer of dirt that was not going to just be dusted away. Here was the process that I chose to do:

Step 1 – Vacuum Window Sill

Dirt, leaves, and bugs had all worked their way through the outside screen (pretty sure the previous owners didn’t have the screen up at all), there was no way I was touching that mess! I grabbed the vacuum and cleaned out the window sill. This was an immediate difference and a great starting place.

Step 2 – Scrape Chipped Paint

It had been awhile since these windows had received any TLC, leaving paint chipping by

Paint Scrapper

the glass panes. I took a paint scrapper and chipped over the flaking paint to leave a smooth surface.  Since my vacuum was still handy, I quick removed the flaky bits.

Step 3 – Sand Trim and Window Sill

Sanding Sponge

Since I had to scrape paint there were now some rough areas showing the wood below. I took a sanding sponge and smooth out these areas. I ran the sanding sponge over all the trim and window sill, this helped remove the awful ingrained dirt (Seriously, sand sponges are miracle workers).

Step 4 – Wipe Down Trim and Window Sill

Now that the large debris was gone and I had a fine dust everywhere, I took a rag and basic cleaning product and scrubbed the window sill first and then cleaned all the trim. This step took surprising long because there are so many little corners to get to. (It also doesn’t hurt to wipe down your window panes)

Step 8 – Tape for Caulking

Taped for Caulking

Best. Idea. Ever. I taped around the window pane and on the pane itself to give me a perfect caulking line. It worked like magic.

Step 9 – Caulking

Have your caulk and caulking gun ready to go. Ensure you choose caulk that you can paint on! Now if you have never caulked before be wary that it is not as easy as it looks. Watch a video on how to use a caulking gun. It moves much faster than I was expecting and made my first attempt messy. Luckily, I had taped the window because my lines still turned out almost perfect. I bought a scraping tool for the caulk but ended up using my finger because it gave a smoother line.

Here are directions for using a caulking gun:

  • Cut the nozzle to the correct bead size and use a metal wire to puncture inner seal
  • Insert caulking tube into caulking gun
  • Use trigger with steady pressure to create a bead of caulk along whatever edge you are caulking
  • Wipe the excess caulk off with your finger or damp rag, do this is one wiping motion to keep your line smooth
  • Pull off painter’s tape – before the caulk dries!

Step 5 – Painter’s Tape

Once the caulk dried, I taped all the edges around the sill and the trim to prep for painting. I hate this step but it isn’t one to be skipped.

Step 6 – Painting

First coat was my all-purpose primer. I know a lot of people go straight to paint but I had


exposed wood from scraping, so I opted for a thick coat of primer first. Following the coat of primer, I did my first coat of semi-gloss white paint. I chose the semi-gloss because this is in the nursery and we wanted something that was easy to wipe down. Surprisingly, I didn’t need a second coat of paint, I got away with just doing touch ups in messy areas.

Step 7 – Remove Painter’s Tape

I should have done this before the paint dried… but I didn’t. I learned the hard way that if you wait until it dries completely it can peel off the paint with the tape. I just did touch ups to fix my little mistake but trust me and don’t wait too long!


Top is the Finished Product and Bottom Shows the Before

I realize this is a lot of steps but most don’t take too long and the final product is amazing. The difference that cleaning up the windows made was shocking, the room felt clean and fresh. Plus, I was incredibly proud of doing this myself. Do your research before you get started, know what kind of paint and caulk you need and feel confident in your choices. If you need help with these decisions or products I recommend Lowe’s – the lovely staff there has gone above and beyond with helping me.

If I can do this, you can do this. Good luck!



A project obsessed, coffee/tea/wine drinker with a book problem. Current wife, new mother and recent homeowner.

3 thoughts on “Painting & Caulking a Window: A First Timer’s Experience

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