Antiques & The Arts
How to Repair Old Windows

How to Repair Old Windows

This is Laryn Karsnitz from Lexington Wooden
Window And Door Reconditioning Company We restore old wooden windows And this is an example of a sash that We’ve already done some work on This sash has been stripped of all its old
paint The glass is out of it And it’s ready to be worked on So let me show you how we get it to this point The first step in the process involves the
steam chamber So you see the old glass usually comes thru
the process pretty well The glazing is all softened up This sash had some repairs made to it sometime
ago But were going to improve on those repairs And there you see just how easy the glazing
compound comes off When you put it thru the steam process Looks good here And we save the old glass Now the frame stills looks pretty rough But you can see that the steam floated That paint loose from the frame Fairly well this is probably latex paint And it comes off very nicely when it’s warmed
up But it’s not really ready for us to do our
real work on Our carpentry repairs are best done they’re
furniture grade repairs And they’re best done when they look like
this So we send the sash off to a fellow who has
a big dip tank He dips them to get them down to this bare
wood This sash is interesting Because it still has The old 1890’s version of the metal interlocking
weather strip Which is still intact and still serviceable We use components of this when we recondition
sash This one took some repairs Along the styles and along the rails But these are easily done in our shop This is a Dutchman repair where it’s spliced
in Furniture grade carpentry joiner And that’s part of the beauty of these sash Because they are repairable Where anything that is sold by the major manufactures
of wooden windows today Are maintenance free and so they are not repairable Sometimes the repairs will involve the dividing
members The things that divide the lights called the
mullions and the muttons And this is what they look like when we get
them out of the sash This section of it anyway is the original
old 1920’s mullion And the rib which is this part was Deteriorated and so because it’s a wood
window we were able to Plow a dado right down the center of it and
then insert a new black walnut Spline which becomes the rib Which is this part of the window That surface right there is the surface of
the rib And you can see that’s where the glazing meets
the glass to the rib It provides the seal to the weather If we need to we can mill them ourselves This is a black walnut Mutton bar This is a reconditioned double hung window,
a pair of sash that go to a double hung window This is the upper sash Which we put thru paint and then we put the
old glass back into the sash We glazed it with new commercial glazing sealant We painted inside and out They’re prepped for the kerfs that Will get the seals Which will enable the window to seal tightly
when it finally goes into operation We also take the step Which is an old Traditional step in window sash making and
plowing a shallow Rain drip kerf on the bottom of the upper
sash It goes just like this so when water or condensate Comes down over the window it doesn’t attack
the lower sash It actually forms a drop in the rain drip And drops free and clear from the lower sash This is the lower sash in a double hung window And this is what we have prepared in this
job For metal interlocking weather strip An old system that was begun back in the 1890’s Which is folded metal That ride in the saw kerf along on the sides
of the sash So metal interlocking weather strip is our
preference for The sides of the sash because They allow them to operate smoothly and they
seal tightly We find that this material is superior to
anything that we find in any of the modern window makers Who are using mostly plastic parts This is a version of the metal interlocking
whether strip that we salvaged From a window that is a hundred years old And it’s still serviceable So this stuff is… it doesn’t wear out There is bulb seal that we fit on the bottom
of the lower rail This does two things actually Fitting that bulb seal on the bottom with
these We use these little brass buttons Lifts the sash up off the sill Which is the wooden part below it And when it does that then Water that accumulates here However it gets there Won’t wick up over this gap formed by these
buttons and the bulb seal So it seals tightly And it saves the paint maintenance cycle significantly This is a big white oak sub sill It’s the part that goes on the bottom of
the window On the outside That we’ve made for a home that has a missing
sub sill It’s been rotted away after years and we’ve
milled this one out of white oak You can see a little bit of the material there And it needs to be big and heavy because the
old one was big and heavy So well make them just the way the old ones
were made Prime and paint them and they’ll last a
hundred years. There is a great flexibility in our process
which allows us To do to provide options when windows are
being reconditioned When we remove the old glass We can instead of going back with Another piece of plain flat glass We can retrofit in laminate glass which this
is an example of It’s laminate glass it reduces sound transmission
from the street significantly And this is our standard glazing material This is NP1 it’s a commercial urethane based
glazing sealant And it’s very tough And it’s paintable But this stuff it’s reported to me it will
last fifty years I think if you keep paint on it you’ll get
at least fifty years out of this material

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