How to Refinish a Window
LESLIE: Edward in New York is calling in about the finish on a window. Tell us what’s going on.
EDWARD: Yeah, I have these Andersen Perma-Shield windows. Some of them are about 15 or 16 years old; some of them are about 24, 25 years old. They’re replacement windows and they have this epoxy finish on them on the wood parts. Some of it’s clad with some vinyl.
EDWARD: But the so-called Perma-Shield – the epoxy paint – is starting to give up. Some of it’s cracking along the wood grain and some of it’s peeling off. I contacted Andersen; I got their spray-on coat that’s supposed to repair the finishes. I’ve tried that and it doesn’t last; it cracks and starts peeling again.
TOM: Hmm. Yeah, that’s because you’re trying to put – you have bad paint and you’re trying to put new paint over it. So the problem, I think, is the underlying paint finish.
LESLIE: Have you tried, in your prep work, to sort of – I mean I wonder if this is something you could even sand or is scraping a better approach to sort of get off what isn’t sticking, to get you to a surface where you might be able to get some adhesion?
EDWARD: Yeah. Well, I’ve lightly sanded it; sanded the parts that had peeled off and feathered the edges and light-sanded the stuff that was still sticking.
TOM: OK. Have you tried using an oil-based primer?
EDWARD: No, I haven’t tried any primers on it.
LESLIE: That’s part of the problem.
TOM: Well, why don’t we try this, OK? Because this is a good place to start when you have an uncertain surface like that and you’re trying to do your best to get adhesion. Primers have different qualities than paint. Primers are – you should think of them as the glue. They’re designed to have the maximum adhesion to whatever the underlying surface is. And I say oil-based because that’s sort of the super-glue of primers.
So I would try a very good-quality like KILZ oil-based primer. Just get a little can and try it; do one window. It’s worth the extra work to clean the brushes. Let it dry really well and then you could use a latex topcoat; you don’t have to use an oil-based topcoat. Use a latex topcoat. But see if you can get good adhesion out of the primer.
EDWARD: OK. I’ll try that and see what happens.
TOM: Alright. Good luck with that project. Give it a shot and be more positive; we think it will come out. See, you might just be doubting it and the paint senses that and that’s why it peels away.
LESLIE: It’s jumping off.
TOM: That’s right. If you’re more positive about the outlook, it’ll stick. 888-666-3974.