Wood Window Restoration

Wood window restoration, with ropes and pulleys, need the right tools to remove the stop moldings, sash cords, weights and to refinish the wood.  You will also need time, patience and determination to do the following.

Some factors when deciding to replace or repair old windows are as follows:

  • Just ‘how loose fitting’ the windows are in the opening?
  • If and how much dry rot is in the sill or the window sash?
  • How hard is it to remove the wood trims on either side of the window? Under the side casings are weights and broken sash cords.
  • How much spare time do you have?

To make this job easier acquire these helpful tools:

  • A utility knife to cut the paint or varnish where moldings contact each other and the wall. This will minimize paint damage when removing moldings.
  • A pin punch is a long slim nail set used to drive finish nails through the moldings allowing easier removal.
  • Hyde Mini Pry Bar is a mini wonder bar, except the flat end is very thin so it can be driven under a molding with out much damage to the wood.

First, remove the stop molding on one side of the window only. Once off that side of the window should pull out allowing further repair. Then remove the side casings to expose the balance weights. Later you will take sash cord and reconnect the weights to the windows so they balance and not require sticks to hold the window open.

While the window is out of the opening, coat all bare wood with linseed oil or a coat of exterior primer. Then apply a coat of exterior paint over the window and side jambs. Now is also the time to do any reglazing between the glass and the window frame. Glazing will last longer if applied over a primed surface.

Once everything is painted and dry, try 3M’s V-Seal on the sides of the window jambs to stop drafts. It is thin and provides continuous pressure against the window stopping drafts. If the surface is smooth enough, it will work well between the window and the sill. If the surfaces are too rough for the V-Seal, go back 50-years and use felt weather-stripping. The foam weather-strips will not last long enough.

Use premium sash cord to retie the weights to the windows. Check for smooth operation and reassemble the windows.

Most storm windows are repairable unless the old storms and tracks are too run-down. Corners with tips, slide locks and spring clips are all still available at window and hardware stores.

Restoring an older home is a very rewarding experience. However, it often requires a lot of patience and perseverance.