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5 Tips for Protecting Wooden Window Trim

Posted by Brooke Tomasetti on Mar 10, 2016 2:00:00 PM


When your wooden window trim that was once a selling point for your attractive home begins to rot, it makes your whole house look old and poorly maintained. The alternative to taking care of your windows every year is replacing the damage, which can be expensive. 

 Putting in the hours to protect your windows is obviously worth it. But what do you need to know to do an effective and efficient job? Read on for five of the best tips to protect wooden window trim.

wooden window trim

#1 - Check for Red Flags

The older the window, the more likely it is to fall into one of these red-flag categories. Before you can protect your window trim, make sure you don't first have to make repairs or replacements. The most common problems with wooden window trim are:

  • Insects - If you see small holes in the wood, you might have insects. 
  • Wood Rot - If the trim feels spongy, this is not a good sign. Exterior wooden trim is especially vulnerable to fungi and wood rot, as it is exposed to the elements.

Rotting wood tends to be brown or yellow in color. When exterior window trim is damaged, it's not just an aesthetic issue. This can lead to water seeping in and causing further destruction. You might notice your energy bill is higher too, since the window won't do a good job insulating or protecting you from the elements. 


#2 - Once a Year Checklist

Now that you've inspected for red flags, it's important to start checking on and taking care of your windows regularly. You only really need to inspect them once a year. To care for the wooden window trim:

  • Wipe down any exterior wooden window sills and frames - Get rid of any dirt, dust, pollen, and other particles.
  • Check for cracks and peeling paint 
  • Sand down any cracks or chips - Get the area nice and smooth. Cracks and peeling paint can let water in, which causes more damage. 
  • Paint on primer and fresh paint - Anywhere that you sanded needs to be protected with primer and a new coat of durable exterior paint.


#3 - Prevent Rot with Protectantswooden window trim

The first product you'll want to use to keep away the rot is primer. This will seal any small cracks and holes in the wood. Usually, three coats of primer is recommended. Be sure to let each coat dry before applying the next.

 Secondly, you should use a latex paint created specifically for the exterior. Ensure that the latex paint is weather resistant so that it will not crack. 


#4 - Use Waterproof Wood Sealer

Go get yourself some waterproof wood sealer to create a hard protective coating on top of the primer and latex paint. This will prevent any moisture from seeping into the wooden window trim. 


#5 Do-It-Yourself or Hire a Professional? You Decide

This really depends on how handy you (or another family member) are, and how much time you have to spend on a weekend DIY project. It's possible to cut out the labor expenses by buying the materials you need and being your own handyman. If you're not confident that you'll be able to get the project done right, then hire a professional. It's better to spend more now so that it lasts than doing a less than stellar job that you'll have to spend hours on again next year. 


Hopefully you utilize these 5 tips to extend the life of your windows and increase the value of your home at the same time. Do you have storm windows? Check out our tips on keeping your storm windows in good shape. 

home maintenance checklist


Topics: Windows