Aluminium window frames are built to last, but if trends have changed since they were first installed, their longevity might seem like a curse. Fortunately, a spritz of spray paint can transform daggy 80s frames into on-trend black – or any colour you fancy.
Painting is easy, but the time and effort you expend in prepping is what makes the difference.
Start by removing window furnishings and fixtures, then take any unfixed windows out of the frame entirely. Thoroughly clean the window, inside and out, removing all dirt and dust.
Put down a dust sheet to protect the floors. Tape off around the frame using a good quality painter's tape. Press the tape into the corner with a putty knife and use shorter lengths – around 30cm – to make it easier to get a snug fit against the frame. Use sheets of paper kitchen towel or newspaper to cover the reveals (the window's timber surround), securing it in place with more tape – this will work to protect the timber, as long as it's not saturated with paint. Tape off the window, and cover the glass completely in paper towel or newspaper.
If the windows haven't been painted before, you'll need to use an etch primer spray paint first. This product contains a combination of resins that'll help the paint adhere to the smooth surface of the metal. The best way to use spray paint is to hold the can between 10cm and 25cm away and move it steadily over the surface. It's better to do a series of fine, thin coats than one heavy coat, which could run and give you an uneven finish.
Make sure the primer is dry before applying the top coat – look to the instructions on the can for application times. Shake the can thoroughly and apply in the same way as the primer, aiming for thin and even coverage. You may need to apply up to three coats, waiting about 20 minutes between each one – but, again, use the product instructions as a guide.
Take off the painters tape and paper towel before the paint has dried completely. If, despite your efforts, any paint has leaked under the tape, let it dry and remove it carefully from the glass with a scraper blade. Once the paint is completely dry, return the window to its frame, rehang the window furnishings, then sit back and admire your newly stylish room!
Tip: When spray painting, it's very important to use safety equipment: a respirator, safety glasses to protect your eyes, and a pair of gloves – thin latex disposables are fine – to protect the skin on your hands.
Photo credit: GAP Interiors/Rachael Smith & Emma J Page, GAP Interiors/Costas Picadas