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How to Paint Window Wells

Apply an etching primer to the window wells to prevent paint failure.
rusted paint chips peeling image by Sherri Camp from Fotolia.com

Things You'll Need:

  • Hedge trimmers
  • Coarse plastic brush
  • Water-based degreaser
  • Water hose
  • Galvanized metal etching primer
  • 3- to 4-inch latex paintbrush
  • Exterior acrylic latex paint


If your window wells are narrow or run too deep to reach, use a long-handle latex paintbrush to apply primer and paint.


  • Never paint over a window well unless it has been abraded with an etching primer, first. Do not use a plain acrylic primer in place of an etching primer.

If you would like to paint your window wells, you'll contend with a pair of complications. First, because window wells are comprised of slick, nonporous metal, they are ill-suited for paint adhesion. You must condition the window wells to accept paint by abrading them with a special type of primer. In addition, because many window wells run deep and can be difficult to access, you may need to use specific painting tools that allow access to tight, hard-to-reach areas.

Cut away any vegetation that could interfere with your ability to paint the window wells, using hedge trimmers.

Scrub the window wells with a degreaser, using a coarse brush. Rinse the wells with a water hose, and allow them to dry out.

Abrade the window wells to encourage adhesion by coating them with galvanized metal etching primer. Apply the primer with a 3- to 4-inch latex paintbrush. Allow the etching primer to dry and cure for at least four hours.

Wash the brush with water.

Apply a coat of exterior acrylic latex paint to the window wells, using the cleaned 3- to 4-inch latex paintbrush. Allow the paint to dry for two hours, and then apply another coat if you can see the etching primer showing through.

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