5 Tips for Painting A Window Sill

Posted on February 28, 2022

A window sill is one of the parts of our homes that we touch on a regular basis. We lean on it to open and close windows and remove and replace screens. Most of all, we love to set plants on it. However, all of this use tends to be hard on the paint, so today we will offer a few tips to repainting your window sills.

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

Prior to 1978 nearly all house paint contained some amount of lead. After the substance was banned from paint production however, the current stock was approved for sale. Therefore, if you’re painting a window sill on a home that could have been last painted in the 1980s, do not sand it. If the paint contains lead, sanding it will release the lead and allow it to become airborne.

Use a High Gloss Paint

As previously mentioned, window sills take a beating so they should be painted with a durable paint. In today’s modern paint world, this usually means using high gloss paint. High gloss paint forms a hard shell designed to reflect ambient light, but it is also easy to clean. This is why most homes use high gloss paint around doors and windows that we will likely touch. High gloss paint does a decent job of beading water, so if plants live on the window sill any spilled water can be quickly wiped away.

Enamel or Latex?

For most of history, window sills were painted using enamel, or oil based paints for their durability and cleanability. Enamel paints however were notorious for emitting VOCs, or 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, refresh the air, and dry paint quickly is to paint your window sills in the late spring and early summer. Since you have to open the windows to paint the backside of the sill, doing so in warmer weather makes sense. 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

Window sills need to look as good as possible because they are so visible. The vast majority of painted window sills show brushstrokes,which 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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