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How do you mask a uPVC window for spraying?

home windows

Spray painting uPVC windows is the most efficient way to give your house more curb appeal, and it also provides the best finish because there are no brush marks or obvious brush stroke in the finished uPVC window frames once painted.

So, we already know that we'll be avoiding the hand paint approach and opting for spray guns to get the job done.

But spray paint also comes with its own potential problems when painting uPVC windows and doors - and that's the possibility of your glazing getting sprayed by mistake.

Don't worry though, because below we'll cover exactly how to give your uPVC windows and doors a complete coverage without accidentally spraying the glass.

Step one: prepping the window frames

uPVC paint won't stick to the uPVC windows properly if you don't do a little prep work. We've covered this in depth before, but essentially you need to give the frames a thorough clean, and then lightly sand the windows and doors to get the frame ready for spray paint.

Prep yourself

Before attempting to spray paint uPVC windows, you'll also need to prepare yourself. Any spray painter will tell you it can be dangerous and even life threatening because of the chemicals used - so make sure you follow package instructions carefully if this is something you're attempting to do yourself.

We'd always recommend hiring professionals who are used to doing this work, but if you are going to spray paint a door or frames yourself, make sure you have:

  • Breathable face mask
  • Protective goggles
  • Protective suit
  • Spray guns
  • Spray paint (specific uPVC paint)
  • Masking tape or masking paper (more on this below)
  • And ALWAYS make sure your windows are open properly before starting to allow the chemicals to escape instead of build-up in your house

Step two: masking tape and masking paper

You're going to need A LOT of masking tape and masking paper before you even start to think about spray painting.

Remember, you'd also need to mask the surfaces and edges of the window if you were choosing to hand paint too, so the amount of masking paper and tape you need shouldn't put you off the spray painting approach because it will deliver the best result.

So, make sure you have all the masking paper and tape you need to properly cover every surface that might accidentally be sprayed when you start the job. We'll give you some helpful hints of where to focus your masking when spraying uPVC doors and windows in a section below.

How to know how much masking paper and tape to use

The best thing you can do is test the spray gun before starting. Different guns have different tendencies to overspray or leave residue behind.

Take the gun that will be used on the job and test it on an old piece of furniture or wood. Notice how large the splatter zone is.

You'll need to make sure the paper and tape you'll use for masking covers the splatter zone entirely, so it doesn't accidentally get on the windows themselves.

How to mask uPVC windows

Once you know how large the splatter zone is, make sure you cover the window in paper that is at least as wide as the splatter zone - but preferably an inch or two more.

When taping and papering your windows, you'll only need a thin layer because spray painting only produces an even, small layer of paint. The chances of it soaking through are small (but you'll want to watch out for this if you're being heavy-handed with the spray gun).

When masking, remember you may need to apply three coats of paint to give your windows a new life, so make sure you're thorough when covering it to begin with.

Apply a covering to the corners and edge of each window and door, sticking the mask down firmly enough for it to stay in place for each coat.

Be mindful of the silicone seal around the windows too - we'll talk more about how to get uPVC paint off your windows below if you've accidentally sprayed the glass or silicone seal a different colour - but it's best to protect every inch of the window if possible.

What other areas need masking before it's spray painted?

It's not just the glass windows and glazing that need protecting when painting uPVC bay windows. You'll also need to protect:

  • Nearby brickwork
  • Floors
  • Surrounding guttering etc that won't be painted
  • Window ledges
  • Surrounding pipework
  • Handles etc on the frame
  • Inside corners of the windows
  • Anything surrounding the edges of the window

The point is, thinking of everything when trying to avoid paint from getting anywhere but the uPVC is the key to success.

When using a roller or paintbrush, it's much easier to only mask a small area, but here you'll need to protect far more than normal because of the spray.

Step three: cleaning up spray paint when things go wrong

If, once your uPVC windows have been spray painted, you realise that there's paint on the glass, or there is a colour somewhere it shouldn't be, don't panic.

Yes, paint is difficult to remove (especially if you've accidentally applied a few coats of the colour), but uPVC paint can be washed away with a little elbow grease.

uPVC paints are known for sticking well to the door or frame you've used it on, but it doesn't adhere easily to materials other than uPVC - and this will work in your favour.

The key to removing the uPVC paints from the glazing is hot water, soap, and a little hard work. (Often customers will opt to take on the cleanup of the small details themselves, so if a customer is willing to tackle it after paying for a service, it must be pretty easy.)

Simply rub over the paints with a sponge and hot soapy water. It may be more difficult if there is more than one coat on the door or windows, but just keep scrubbing at the colour and it should come off easily enough.

Interestingly, this technique works for the primer too, and it'll even remove an accidental spraying coat on any brickwork!

Take-home message

To mask uPVC windows before spraying is quite easy. Just remember to try out the spray gun first to see how much it covers, keep masking the glazing itself (and everything surrounding where you'll be spraying later) in mind, and you should be fine. And if all else fails - hot water, soap, and elbow grease is your friend!

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