I am getting ready to start on restoring my weighted sash windows, well i am going to try anyway. I have done extensive reading and think i am just about ready to try one. My question is what to do with the window frame once the sashes are out and i find that the frames are not square? I do not know how old the house is but i do know that it was here in 1928, my window are not painted except for 3 of them, the rest are stained. A couple of them open although not smooth so i am sure that these will just need new cord and a cleaning of the pulleys, some open a few inches and some not at all and are loose on just one side of the sash. This leads me to think that these problems are from the settling of the home. We live in Louisiana and it is a pier foundation so the house settles and moves every season. I have read one article on a woman that restores historic windows in TX and she adds shims and or lattice board inside the frames to square them. Is this okay or should i look at another route? It seems to me that her fix will work and is pretty easy.
I am also looking for info on fixing the muntins, i have 3 over 1 windows and on a couple it seems the muntins are separating from the bottom of the sash on the upper window.
The pic i included is my worst window, you can see a little rot on the bottom of the upper sash. I have noticed that a few of my windows when it rains are wet in this area. My husband caulked or used window glazing around the outside of the windows but it is still getting wet. I am thinking that the glazing needs to be completely redone. Any ideas? And do i just use epoxy for the rot?
Any suggestions would be helpful
This may sound pretty negative but the main thrust is to get you to think really hard about the task you are about to undertake. First, if your house is moving that much, re-squaring the windows won't last but one season. Second, from the looks of the decayed wood in the photo, description of the muntins separating, sashes loose or binding, and need for reglazing, these windows have seen their day. An expert restorer may be able to resurrect them but I wouldn't recommend it unless they were of national historic value or you just want a huge challenge. Even if you do it yourself, the time involved will be staggering especially if you are doing a full restoration. Even if professionally restored they wouldn't come close to current energy standards and would still be problematic operationally. If the wood look is important, all-wood windows are still available and come with insulated glass (or not), tight tolerances, ready-to-paint or stain surfaces, and without need of a counterweight. In either case I recommend that you level the house first.
I'd have to agree with Rick points on the windows.... although on the settling, by the age of the home I'm going to venture to guess that it probably isn't moving much anymore.
Thanks Ark, and home. I really want to at least try one, At least if i cant do that one i can afford to replace one. I would LOVE to have new wood windows but it is just not in the budget. I would have to buy 1 every 6 mo or so, and also i would lose my wavy glass :( which to me changes the look of the home. And Ark, i appreciate the advice, whether negative or positive, and you are probable so right, it prob is more than i can handle. Really am contemplating undertaking this project, not 100% sure if i am going to try yet. Thanks so much for your advice.
I think you ought to go ahead and do one window yourself
just for personal satisfaction if no other reason.
A couple of things to do before you start:
1. Be sure that you have a local source for two mouldings for your double hung windows
because they are frequently broken during removal.
First one is the vertical piece that separates the two windows. It is about 3/8" x3/4"
and is called a parting bead. It is usually just press fit or tacked in place with 1 or two pin nails
so that it can be removed in the future for maintenance.
The other moulding is the stop that holds the inner window in place..Maybe 1/2x1/2". Attach
it loose enough so that your windows will slide freely when operated.
2. Be sure that you have a local glass shop that can do a nice job of reglazing
glass panes if you have any that are broken or loose. Bad putty can allow water intrusion
that causes the damage that you show in your picture. Puttying these windows is something of a
lost art because we don't have many of these old windows left. I have had glass companies charge
me full price for really bad work so check that out before you begin.
3. Have a few basic tools: Stiff putty knife, flexible putty knife, razor knife and a couple of prying tools.
One is a glass specialty tool that is a small flat bar about 9" long that has a short 90 degree angle at
one end with both ends sharpened to an edge. Perhaps a larger flat type bar to remove larger trim
boards and mouldings. Some end cutting pliers to pull nails through from the back of the boards or cut
cut them off will save you some nail hole filling.
One common problem that you will run probably run across is misalignment of upper and lower panels
at latch location. We usually have to trim these panels with power planer to fix this problem but that
might be a little advanced for your first attempt. Instead you can be sure that all paint bumps and
foreign objects are removed from sliding path and tops and bottoms of panels. If that does not
allow the latch to connect, you can cut thin spacers to fit under the latches to get them to line up.
Wood damage like that in your picture can often be fixed with wood filler. I like Bondo because it
doesn't shrink and sets up fast so that you can keep working. There is a bit of a learning curve to
using it but if you have a good solid substrate for it to "bond" to it works very well in these situations.
Take your time and work patiently and thoughtfully and you should be successful and get some satisfaction.
I'll bet that picture by your name is your home...Looks like a very soulful house worth working on!
Best of luck with the project!
Richard, thanks so much for your reply. You have renewed my confidence, haha. I think i will try one, and i will try one that is painted as i think the ones that are stained may be easier. There is a local glass shop that we use and i dont think he would have a problem telling me if he feels uncomfortable handling my windows. I would think that he has done this type before because in my small town we have over 50 building and homes on the historical register. And driving through town i have recently just started looking, but almost every house, prob 8-9 out of every 10 still has the original windows. The glass is the one thing i have reservations about, there are about 4 or 5 cracked on the upper sashes, as i said they are 4 over 1 windows. We recently took out some huge heavy aluminum transom windows and replaced them. My Dad took them apart and saved all of the old glass, so i do have replacement, just not sure about setting them in the windows.
Anyway thanks for your valuable info, and i always say no one can ever learn unless they try, just wish i was born a carpenter. :)
I think you are a champ for taking on this soulful house on your own!
Let us know if you have more questions and please share your successes.
Figured I might as well put in $0.02 here
I know a couple of window restoration guys down your way that would be more than happy to give you any help/information you need on getting those antique windows being awesome again.
been in my house 23 years and it was built in 52' so that makes it 59yrs old with the same windows as yours.everytime i opened and closed them in the spring/summer the glazing would fall out to a point the metal diamond pins held the glass panes.so i went at them to restore them all.first i removed all the old glazing doing one room at a time total 2 windows each.painted the wood with white oil base paint primers,and letting it sit all summer with sun baking it.then in the fall reglaze the 3 painted frames and let them go thru the fall and winter into the spring.then painted them with 2coats of off white outdoor semi gloss...and let them bake till summer end they looked brand new.my way was long but wasn't a priority so it was more of a impulse and i knocked them all off.it's a great project to do at a pace that rotting situation might ace the restoring maybe a good wood filler to save the window....keep and eye on the home centers for free classes on reglazing older windows and or check YOUTUBE for some videos....
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