Per the suggestion of the son of my father’s good friend, who owns a painting company, I decided to remove the trim from the 14 lower level windows and replace with new. There are at least 4 layers of paint on the trim of my house and it is peeling heavily in some areas and what isn’t peeling has alligatored. Because I wanted the windows scrapped to the wood he was not interested in my project stating it would be labor intensive and he didn’t have the crew to take on that large of a project. I loved the suggestion and quickly calculated the cost of the moulding and the cost to pay Tom Milfeld, my go to man for just about anything (he hung my cabinets, crown moulding, and repaired my foundation just to name a few projects). These pictures show my efforts to scrap the paint from the two front living room windows. Clearly replacing was a great idea.

At this point the painter I was leaning towards had submitted a second proposal, double the first, but it included a description of the work that was in line with the prep work I felt was needed before any new primer or paint was applied. He was estimating 6 hours per window (prep and paint). Based on my painting experience with the back door, I mentally decided 5 of those hours would be prep. His hourly fee and Tom’s are similar. Based on working with Tom on so many other projects I estimated Tom’s time to hang the new trim at one hour per window, a four hour swing in time. I have 14 lower windows, only 10 upstairs, so with my sweat equity in removing the trim and remaining paint from the wood and Tom’s fee for just hanging the trim the reduction in the painter’s time more than offset the cost of the new trim, which is made out of PVC that will never rot. I got it from Hyde Park Lumber, Azek, and it’s the same product I installed around my shower windows, but in a profile that was close to the window trim. This was a no brainer decision at this point.

I decided to move forward with Lyle Home’s Painting and initially he said he couldn’t start until the end of the month, which was great as that didn’t put pressure on me to get all 14 windows prepped. He then contacted me and said he could start on June 12th. At that point I let him know that I had made the decision to handle the prep of the lower windows myself. He actually came to the house and I showed him what I planned to do. I knew I couldn’t get all windows done by the 12th, so it was decided he’d start his work on the second level. I felt pretty confident I could be complete by the time he finished that level. Well the 12th was moved up to 9th. Tom was scheduled to start work the next day and my plan was to try and stay two windows ahead of him. Lyle brought ladders and scaffolding and a worker. When I came outside to start working Lyle had left and his worker was working on the side living room window (1st floor). I sent Lyle a text asking why and he said his taller ladder was at another project. I let the worker continue working. The trim came off relatively easy. They used 6d, 3″ nails to put it up, but as you can see removing the trim removed a lot of the paint that was on the remaining wood.

With the trim removed it left a flat surface. For the loose stuff I hand scrapped with my carbide bit scrapper, but once that was gone I used my grinder with a 40 grit flap disc, which I eventually changed to a 60 grit. In the beginning I had some control issues. Once the disc ate through the paint it sanded the wood and in spots it went too far, which is why I changed grit. Now, conversely the worker Lyle left used a heat gun and putty knife. At the end of that first day my four windows looked like this:

The painter’s four windows looked like this:

The next day I finished removing the paint from my fourth window and then returned with the palm sander on all four windows to try and smooth out the areas where I had ate into the wood. The painter continued removing paint and trim from the other lower level windows. He had removed the paint and trim from all the remaining windows, leaving them in the condition above, except for the three windows on my neighbor’s side of my house. He used a paint eater pad to remove the paint the heat gun and scrapper did not remove and then a palm sander at 60 and 120 grit. I’ll admit his windows were much smoother than mine, I only went to 80 grit with the palm sander and clearly a heat gun isn’t going to eat into the wood the way the grinder did. He also pressure washed the front of the house, which at this point I had to interject and have a frank conversation with Lyle. The 2nd floor was not getting the focused attention I thought we had agreed upon, I thought pressure washing was way premature, and I’m now loosing the savings which was paying for the new material Tom was installing. Day three marked the last day that worker came to the site (to date) and I used my method to finish the windows he started. Tom worked a total of 12 hours, I probably put in about 20 hours over the course of 4 days, but the lower level windows now have all new trim.

With the windows done, I turned my attention on the back porch portico.


  1. What a great idea replacing the outside molding instead of repainting it. My fiance’s brother has an old house with shutters. After them being repainted so many times, it was cheaper to buy new ones.

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