Last Update: Thursday, April 24, 2014

HERE'S HOW- Repair Wood Windows PDF Print E-mail
Written by PAT LOGAN, Creators Syndicate   
Tuesday, 23 November 2010 21:08

Dear Pat: I just bought an older house that has wood windows in bad condition. I don't want to replace them because of their character.Can you give me some general repair tips for old wood windows?

—Rosie B.

Dear Rosie: The style of the windows can have a tremendous impact on the overall appearance of an older house.Unless the frames are totally rotten, you should be able to repair almost any part to return them to almost like-new condition.

If a lot of them are in very bad condition, get a quote on having them all replaced. It might end up being less expensive than repairing them. Some of the major replacement wood window manufacturers may be able to closely match frame profiles and styling of the old windows.

It can be hazardous when inspecting and repairing windows so take proper safety precautions. Wear heavy work gloves because cracked window glass may splinter when you move a window sash to check it.When using a ladder,make sure it is supported on solid, level ground and always have a helper steady the ladder.

Typical problems to inspect are rotten areas in the sill and joints in the frame where moisture may have collected. Also look for gaps where the frame meets the house walls and for deteriorated and missing putty. Slide double-hung windows up and down to check for broken ropes on counterbalance weights. On hinged windows, check for rust and frozen hinges.

Wherever you find a spot where the painted finish is broken, probe it with a screwdriver. It may be rotten under the paint from years of trapped moisture.

Chisel out all the rotten wood.Use a wood repair kit that consists of a hardening resin and wood filler. When the rotten spot is filled and sanded, paint it with sealer to block any more moisture.

You will no doubt find somehinged casement windows that will not swing open. This is most often caused by a buildup of many coats of paint, which makes them stick closed. If you find frozen or rusted hinges, it is best to replace them.

If you find gaps between the frame and the wall opening, check them for rot first. If the wood is sound, caulk the gaps. Use standard acrylic latex caulk on narrow gaps. It accepts most paint very well. If the gaps are fairly wide, either fill them with foam caulk or backer rope and then caulk over it. The most difficult task will be replacing broken counterbalance ropes on double-hung windows.

This requires removing the sashes and disassembling the window frame to get access to the weight well. To remain authentic, install new ropes and rebuild the window.

Another option is to install spring-loaded tracks that hold the windowinany openposition.These are fairly simple to install, and they look almost the same as the original setup. If you do this, fill the weight well with insulating foam to be energy efficient. Take your time and chip out any old cracked putty and replace it with new putty. Don't rush this task because you will just end up having to do it again properly in a year or two.

Send your questions to Here's How, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit www.dulley.com.

Share