To maintain the authenticity of your historic home you may have decided to repair your genuine windows in lieu of installing new replacement windows. If this is the case, you will want to read our wood window restoration tips below. While it is very common to find 200-year-old windows in historic homes, regular maintenance is required to achieve this level of longevity. This may include routine painting and minor repairs every 20 years or so. If you have neglected your windows for the past 50 years you may be facing more significant repairs. Don’t despair, roll up your sleeves and read on before you tackle your wood window restoration project.
Wood Window Restoration Tips
Remove the Sash: To properly complete your wood window restoration project you will need to fully remove the sash from the casing. To repair damaged wood, you need full access around the perimeter of the sash, not to mention repairing any damage to the wood casing. To remove the sash in older windows you will need to pry off the stops. This is the molding installed in front of the lower sash. In some cases, the stops are screwed in place. To remove the upper sash you will need to remove the parting beads as well. Take care when removing the cords, chains, and hardware and label each set to identify the mating window.
Remove the Glass: Depending on the state of disrepair you may need to completely remove the glass panes to complete your wood window restoration project. Remove the existing glazing with a putty knife. A heat gun set on medium can accelerate this step. Pry out the glazier points that are holding the glass in place. In some historic homes, the glass panes may have slight dimensional variations. In this case, it is a good idea to identify the location of each individual pane using masking tape and a marker to number each pane of glass.
Remove Rotted Wood: Using a Dremel tool or a wood chisel pry out any rotted wood. Specifically; pay close attention to the wood joints.
Apply Epoxy Wood Filler: Fill all large gaps or voids with an Epoxy Wood Filler. Use a putty knife to push the wood filler deep into any gaps.
Apply a Coat of Primer: Allow a full day for the Epoxy to fully cure then sand the repairs with 80 grit or 100 grit sandpaper. Wipe the entire sash with a tack cloth before applying a coat of high-quality primer.
Apply Glazing: Here is where the kids can help! Lay the sash flat on a pair of saw horses with the exterior side facing up. Roll the glazing between your hands to form the shape of a long thin rope. The kids will think this is fun! Lay the rope around the perimeter of the opening then gently press the glass pane against the glazing.
Replace the Points: Secure the pane to the wood by inserting two glazing points on each of the long sides of the glass. The maximum distance between each glazing point should be 12 inches, which can come into play on larger window assemblies.
Apply Outer Glazing: Grab the kids again and roll the glazing into a rope and apply a bead around the perimeter of the pane on the outside of the glass. Use a small putty knife to smooth and bevel the glazing.
Prime the Glazing: Allow the glazing to fully cure before applying a coat of high-quality primer.
Paint the Sash: Apply a top coat of high-quality acrylic latex paint to both the wood sash and the putty. Allow amply time for the paint to fully cure before you rehang it.
Rehang the Sash: When you rehang the sash you should inspect and clean all hardware, chains, and cords and replace as needed. Lubricate the pulley axles with silicone or Teflon spray for smooth operation. Carefully replace the stops & Voila! Good for another 20 years or so.