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Old 06-04-2011, 07:39 PM   #1
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How do I replace old window putty?


Im working on my windows sills/jams (the wood frame around all my windows).

There is old soft black putty of some type in between the glass and the wood in most areas (you can see cat hair build up here). Some areas have a grey putty that appears newer.

What is the correct way to do this, without removing the window panes themselves?

I will be sanding, painting/staining all window frames as well.

I only have two weeks off work to do as much around the house as I can before selling the house; and I have some very large windows that I simply cant remove myself.
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Old 06-05-2011, 09:24 AM   #2
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How do I replace old window putty?


That looks like urethane caulk or similar to me. Is it soft??? Mosts caulks never fully harden, which allows them to breath with the seasons. Not sure you want to dig that out.

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Old 06-05-2011, 01:26 PM   #3
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How do I replace old window putty?


You can just slice most of that with a razor knife. It looks like the spacers stick out past the wood stops some also. You could always get some quarter round or similar trim and trim out around the windows to hide the spacer some and give it a more finished look. Would also cover up the caulk/putty as well.

Not sure if you'd want to do that much extra work/money though, since you're selling the property, would be a good solution to hide/finish the windows though.
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Old 06-05-2011, 03:08 PM   #4
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How do I replace old window putty?


Just a thought about the 1/4 round, you will be able to see the back side of it through the glass unless you add it to both sides. Also be very careful nailing the 1/4 round as just a nick on the glass with a nail and it will shatter.

If that is actual putty you can remove it with heat and a putty knife, if it hasn't dried out too much, but be careful not to over heat the glass as it will pop. It seems like I saw an attachment a while back that is used with a drill to remove old putty, you may do a search and see if you can find one.
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Old 06-05-2011, 04:42 PM   #5
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How do I replace old window putty?


Thanks for the tips. Ive got so much to do in two weeks I wont have time to use 1/4 round, but Ive done one small window so far. I was able to dig the old "black stuff" out. Im not sure its putty...Its very soft and much more sticky than new putty. Perhaps it is very old putty or very old urethane caulk? (house is 22 yrs old).

Basically my thought is to dig out the most visable parts of it and replace it with new putty, it looks good on the small window Ive done so far.

Is there any danger in digging out a small amout of the old "black stuff"? Just enough to get new putty in, so that it looks better...

Last edited by mibson; 06-05-2011 at 04:55 PM.
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Old 06-05-2011, 09:57 PM   #6
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How do I replace old window putty?


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Originally Posted by mibson View Post
Is there any danger in digging out a small amout of the old "black stuff"? Just enough to get new putty in, so that it looks better...

Nah, as long as you're just digging out what's visible. I wouldn't be using a putty knife to cut way back there, you wouldn't want to compromise the seal of the window. If the window isn't leaking don't mess with it too much, trim off the visible stuff and maybe 1/16 between the glass and the wood would be enough to put some new stuff in for cosmetics.

Just be careful not to crack the glass!

Edit: Now, I should probably clarify and say, that while generally there is more then enough putty/caulking on those old windows (generally much more then need be, that's how they did it back then), that doesn't mean it's impossible to mess the seal up by removing just a little bit. You never know what you're gonna get into. So while I say it "should" be fine, the old proverb of, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" comes to mind.

Be gentle and aware, if you're digging somewhere and that little voice says you shouldn't do that, don't do it.

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