Caring for Wood Windows

Follow this guide to help you care for your wood windows starting on day one to help them last for many years to come.

Wood is among the most desirable materials for residential windows. While this material requires more maintenance than other types of windows, the beauty and warmth of wood is unmatched. Follow this guide to help you care for your wood windows starting on day one to help them last for many years to come.



preparing bare wood windows

If your new windows are unpainted, unstained and unsealed, the first step is to properly prepare the wood for a lifetime of beauty and easy operation. Start by peeling off manufacturer labels. Remove adhesive residue with mineral spirits, being careful not to get any on the window’s weather-stripping.


Gently sand the wood with 180 grit or finer sandpaper, avoiding the glass you don’t scratch it. Clean off sanding dust using a cloth dampened with lacquer thinner. Let the surface dry completely.


Before you decide whether to paint or stain the windows, first protect the glass with painter’s tape and remove all hardware, including locks, latches and handles. Plan to remove the painter’s tape promptly after applying the final coat of finish. If you allow it to dry, the paint could pull off some of the newly applied finish with it.



painting wood windows

If you opt to paint your windows, you must prime them first, unless you purchased factory-primed windows. Your windows might also come with a colored finish already applied. Contact the manufacturer for information about touch up paint, if needed.


Choose oil-based primer and compatible oil- or water-based paint. Apply the primer to all exposed wood surfaces to help prevent splitting and warping. Once the primer dries, apply two coats of paint to all exposed sides, allowing the paint to fully dry between coats. Remember to remove the painter’s tape from the glass before the final coat dries.



staining and sealing wood windows

Select an oil-based gel stain for the easiest application. If your windows are made of pine or another soft wood, pre-stain wood conditioner helps the material absorb the stain more evenly. Apply the conditioner and stain according to the manufacturer’s directions.


For the best results, stained wood windows should be sealed immediately upon installation. Sealer protects wood from weathering, and selecting a UV-stabilized, clear polyurethane sealer keeps color changes from UV exposure to a minimum.


Apply the first top coat of sealer to the stained wood window and allow it to dry thoroughly. Lightly sand the surface with 180 grit or finer sandpaper and wipe off the dust with a tack cloth. Apply the second top coat and remove the painter’s tape from the glass before this final coat dries.



more care and maintencance tips

Repeat the sanding and painting, or sanding and staining/sealing process as needed over the years to keep your wood windows looking like new.


For more wood window care tips, check out our Care & Maintenance page. Then, for answers to your remaining questions, or to shop for replacement wood windows, please contact Weather Shield directly or find a dealer near you for assistance.