Staining New Windows

How to Stain Windows and Window Trim

By Mark J. Donovan

Recently we had a few replacement windows installed in our home and I spent the better part of a day staining windows and window grilles. Staining new windows is a tedious job however you can make your life a bit easier if you pre-stain window trim prior to installing it. Staining windows in a new home, where the finished flooring has yet to be installed, can also make your life easier.

When staining a new window in an existing home, with finished flooring under the window, additional care is required. I highly recommend removing the windows from the window frame and staining them in another area. This reduces the risk of making a mess in the finished living space.

When staining new windows its best to set up a work area in a garage or large open area with plenty of fresh air. Next spread newspaper out all over the work area floor to prevent any inadvertent stain drips on the floor. Also assemble some rags, moistened paper towels, fine grit sand paper, screw driver, stain and a foam brush.

Next remove the new windows from the window frame and bring them out to your work area. If the new windows included grilles remove them from the windows. Then remove the mechanical catch hardware from the windows using a screw driver.

If there are window grilles that need to be stained I recommend doing them first. They are fragile and tedious and it is best to get them done first while your patience is still high. This way you’re less likely to break one while in the process of staining them. After staining the window grilles set them aside in a location where there is no risk of you bumping or stepping on them.

Next stir the stain thoroughly. Then apply the stain to the window grilles making sure to stain only the clear wood portions. Immediately after staining the window grilles wipe them down with a clean rag.

Also inspect the back side of the grilles to see if there is any stain on the painted surfaces. If there is immediately wipe the stain off with a rag, followed by a moist paper towel.

Once you’ve completed staining the window grilles and have put them aside you can begin to stain the windows themselves. When staining new windows, start by applying the stain to the stiles and rails along the perimeter of the window. Then immediately wipe them down with a clean dry rag. Inspect the wood to ensure the stain took evenly. If there had been a film of glue stuck on a portion of the window it may not have absorbed the stain very well.

If you run into this situation lightly sand the affected area with fine grit sandpaper and then reapply the stain to that specific area. Again, make sure to immediately wipe down the area after staining it.

Staining a New Window

With the grilles and windows stained you can then move on to the window frame. Again, great care is necessary from preventing stain from being dripped or spilled onto the finished floors. Make sure to lay newspaper below the window frame. If the window trim was previously stained prior to it being installed your work is much easier. Simply apply stain to the interior bare wood portions of the window frame and then wipe it down with a dry rag. If the window trim was not stained prior to its installation then you’ll need to apply a high quality thick masking tape around the perimeter of the window and very carefully stain the trim.

As you stain each section of the window casing trim I highly recommend removing the masking tape near it as quickly as possible. This way you can prevent any bleed through from the masking tape to the finished wall surface.

After the stain has had a few hours to dry you can then reinstall the new windows into the window frame and reattach the grilles to complete the project.

See the Installing Interior Window Ebook from The Installing Interior Window Trim Ebook provides easy to understand, step-by-step instructions, on how to install interior window trim around a window. Pictures are included for every key step in the process.

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