Window Procedure: 4.b. Paint Frames and Sills.
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johnleeke
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Location: Portland, Maine, USA

PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 11:02 am    Post subject: Window Procedure: 4.b. Paint Frames and Sills. Reply with quote

(update: 6/20/12)

Basic overall procedure to refurbish windows:
(excerpt from Save America's Windows)

1. Remove sashes from frame, install temporary weather panel
2. Move sashes to onsite or remote workshop
3. Remove heavy paint buildup from frame and sill
4. Repair sills, paint sills and frames
5. De-glaze (remove glass) sashes, remove paint, cleanup
6. Mill out stock for replacement sash parts
7. Cut & fit stock for each sash repair
8. Repair wood of sashes
9. Re-glaze and paint sashes
10. Move sashes back to site and distribute to window locations
11. Re-install sashes in frame and tune up for proper operation

Step 4.b. Paint Sills and Frames is detailed here.


Painting Frames

The only part of the window frame that needs painting or other protective treatments is what is exposed to view and to the weather. With typical double-hung windows this is usually the sill and the sash channels.

Treating Sash Channels (or Tracks)

The channel includes the wide flat surface of the vertical frame jambs and the adjacent surfaces of the stops and parting beads.

There are three functions to serve when finishing the surfaces of the jamb and sash channels:

-- keep liquid water out of the wood
-- let water vapor pass out of the wood
-- a slippery surface for the sash that slides

Generally, sash channels should be left without paint or other coatings so the sashes can slide freely. If there are paint or other coatings the sash is more likely to stick, especially as coatings of paint build up over the years.

To lubricate the bare wood of the channels, rub with solid wax (beeswax, or paraffin (candle wax)), or brush on a mixture of beeswax dissolved in turpentine, or paraffin dissolved in mineral spirits. The wax also acts as a water-repellent protecting the wood from water and deterioration when it is applied as a liquid. Some liquid water-repellent preservative products may be suitable if they leave a slippery, not tacky, surface.

The lower half of the outer sash channel can be painted if the upper sash is fixed and does not slide down into the track.

If the bare wood of the channels must be colored do it with a stain. Thin down oil-based paint with turpentine or mineral spirits creating a stain and brush it on, then wipe off most of the stain with a rag leaving just a little for the color. Allow to dry thoroughly before installing the sash. Do not use "laytex" or acrylic paint, which can remain tacky, or "blocky," causing the sash to stick or jam.

Sash track colors.
One practice that was common from about 1850 to 1940 was to make the inner track match the interior finish scheme, and make the outer track match the exterior finish scheme, and this was described in at least one trades manual from the era.

My own 1899 wood-framed house in Portland, Maine, was like this on the first floor that had a natural shellac finish on the interior woodwork and the interior sash track was shellacked. The exterior of the house was painted gray, and the outer sash tracks on the first floor have a gray wash-coat. (Wash-coat is similar to what we would call a stain today.) On the second floor, where the interior woodwork was painted brown, both the inner and outer sash tracks have a gray wash-coat, an indication that there really were not strict standards for sash track colors.

Painting Sills and Exterior Casings

The following assumes the wood is bare, clean and all wood repairs are done.

This is a 4-step procedure, essentially following best practice for most exterior woodwork painting:

- Pre-Treat
- Prime, oil-based linseed oil (slow dry), or oil-based alkyd resin primer (slow dry); and seal joints
- Top Coats, 2 coats, 100% acrylic house paint, or oil-based alkyd resin house paint

Pre-Treat

Apply a penetrating pre-treatment to the bare wood. There are two types, 1. Paintable water-repellent preservative, 2. consolidating oil-resin. Paintable water-repellent is suitable for sound wood surfaces. (if waxy paraffin type (Forest Products Lab's WRP Recipe, Thompson's WaterSeal, or similar) apply to all surfaces, if sticky oil or resin type do not apply to the inner surfaces of the stops that the sash run on (the narrow strip where the face of the sash rubs on as it slides up and down). Consolidating oil-resin treatment is suitable for gray weathered wood surfaces or surfaces that are somewhat "soft" or more porous than perfectly sound wood. The traditional recipe for this treatment is linseed oil and turpentine. I no longer use linseed oil because it is susceptible to mold and fungus attack. I now use a 50%-50% mix of mineral spirits and oil-based alkyd resin varnish or a proprietary product (Flood's Penetrol, or similar) Just to confuse us all, there are some combination products that may be suitable. (California's Storm Stain Penetrating Wood Stabilizer, or similar) Water-based products of both types MAY be suitable, but all my experience and this recommendation is for oil-based products.

Penetrol (made by Flood) is an oil-based product made of mineral spirits and alkyd resin that penetrates deeply into the wood surface. The mineral spirits evaporate leaving behind the resin that cures and consolidates loose fibers at, and just beneath, the wood surface. After 24-48 hours the treated surface is dry to the touch and ready for light sanding or direct application of paint primer. Penetrol is like a light varnish or like an alkyd resin oil-based paint without the pigment.

Storm Stain (made by California Paints) is a waterborne product that contains zinc napthanate and a very tiny amount of resins. Zinc napthanate is a preservative that limits mold, mildew and fungus. The resins help hold the zinc napthanate in the wood, but there is not enough resin to consolidate loose fibers at the surface of the wood. Storm Stain does not penetrate as deeply as oil-based pre-treatments because it is waterborne. After 24-48 hours the water has evaporated , the wood surface is dry, slightly tacky to the touch and ready for paint primer.

Prime

Apply oil-base alkyd primer by hand brushing.
Allow primer to dry thoroughly.
Apply caulking or sealants to the sill/jamb joints, and possibly to the jamb/exterior-stop-joint if necessary.
Sand surface lightly if there are any whiskers or nibs sticking up.
If any bare wood was exposed during sanding, dust off and clean the surface with a tack rag or vacuum, and apply another coat of primer.
To get good quality primer spend at least $25-35/gallon.


Top Coats

Apply two top coats by hand brushing. Use any good top quality paint you like. I often use 100% acrylic house paint, or oil-based alkyd resin enamel or house paint. To get good quality paint spend at least $35-50/gallon.

Other Paint Systems

Swedish system linseed oil paints can also be good and have their own application procedures and materials that are different than the American system described above.

More to come...

Post your questions or comments.


Last edited by johnleeke on Wed Apr 23, 2014 11:39 am; edited 14 times in total
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jlindtner



Joined: 10 Sep 2007
Posts: 24
Location: Wilmington, DE

PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 10:05 pm    Post subject: jambs and painting Reply with quote

Of all the window restoration jobs that I've been involved in, I've never seen the jambs left bare. I think painters figure they might as well throw a coat of paint on as they would with the sash and casings.

I confess that I am guilty of this act myself since typically homeowners want the jambs painted. I'm curious what others in the field do when restoring window frames. I'm tempted to just apply an oil based primer and be done with it except for under a fixed upper sash where I'd apply latex acrylic paint.

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sschoberg



Joined: 29 Oct 2008
Posts: 569
Location: Plymouth, Indiana

PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi John,

Jeff and I, here in Indiana offer an optional service (if needed) we call our limited area paint removal, repair and repaint of jambs and sills. Most of the windows we worked on do have paint on the jambs. But just where the sashes ride in the channel, usually not behind them, when closed.

If the paint is built up so much that it interferes with the proper operation of either sash, then we quote it as an option. We remove the paint, prime (one coat) and apply a latex color (two coats). We don't usually paint where the sashes sit when closed.
If the paint is in good condition, and not interefering with sash operation
we'll put a coat of color on it with latex. Or we may just leave it.
The exception would be if any repairs are done to the channel. All of our repairs are primed and painted.
We also like to remove paint in the shoulder where the wood storm window fits.
Even if the homeowner decides against buying our Limited Area Paint Removal, Repair and Repaint, I won't leave a restored sash riding against old paint build up.(for obvious reasons)

I love my job!

Steve S.
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rncx



Joined: 21 Jun 2008
Posts: 660
Location: Little Rock, AR

PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 4:29 pm    Post subject: Re: jambs and painting Reply with quote

jlindtner wrote:
Of all the window restoration jobs that I've been involved in, I've never seen the jambs left bare. I think painters figure they might as well throw a coat of paint on as they would with the sash and casings.

I confess that I am guilty of this act myself since typically homeowners want the jambs painted. I'm curious what others in the field do when restoring window frames. I'm tempted to just apply an oil based primer and be done with it except for under a fixed upper sash where I'd apply latex acrylic paint.


it only takes a second to tape off the edge of the jamb that will touch the sash itself.

i do the same thing with tape on the edge of the sash itself to avoid painting it. just put tape on the edge and fold it over on the face before sanding and the orbital sander will clean up the excess tape to the edge while you're sanding the rest.

i attach the bronze weather strip to the frame rather than the window so only have to worry about the jamb edges, since the metal covers the painted frame.
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jade



Joined: 11 Feb 2005
Posts: 785
Location: Hawley MA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi john!
you may want to consider using tung oil or valoil on the jamb......valoil will stand up to uv for a good amount of time and is easy to reapply...unfortunately, it is being phased out...silly epa voc rules......

.......jade
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jlindtner



Joined: 10 Sep 2007
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Location: Wilmington, DE

PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 3:35 pm    Post subject: oil based primer Reply with quote

So perhaps a coat of oil based primer in the sash tracks would work. This would cover any repairs and any paint that I could not remove. I'd still probably apply a coat or two of latex paint below a fixed upper sash.
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Kathhughes



Joined: 21 Jan 2010
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Location: Somerville, NJ

PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:21 am    Post subject: Pre-Treatment Products Reply with quote

I am a beginning the restoration of the 16 double hung windows in our 1937 house in Somerville, NJ. I have started the process and have two sashes removed, stripped and ready to be treated, primed and painted. It is here that I have had problems finding some of the products you have mentioned for the Pre-Priming stage. You have named products such as Thompson WaterSeal, yet when I research the directions on this product, it states that it can be painted, but you must allow 30-45 days of drying period on two of the products, and 12 months on another. The impression I get from your writings, is allowing it to dry a day or two….am I wrong? I have located a source for the California Paints Storm Stain Penetration Wood Stabilizer or the Wood Life Extender, would this be better then Thompsons? I have also mentioned this to my local Benjamin Moore Paint store and he strongly said not to do it….that it would void the warrantee for the primer. So, my question, is there any easily accessible product out there that I can get and use? I am planning on using Benjamin Moore’s Fresh Start Moorwhite Alkyd Penetration Primer for priming, and then their products for exterior paint to match our house colors.
I also am having trouble locating a dealer for any Epoxy products. I know I am not going to be able to get it at Home Depot, but no one else seems to have it either. Is on-line my only choice?
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jlindtner



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Location: Wilmington, DE

PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Kathhuges.

Instead of using Thompsons to pretreat try using a 50/50 mix of Penetrol and Mineral Spirits. If the sash are in good enough condition and the wood is fairly sound you probably won't need this step and go directly to priming. I'm guessing this may be the case since your windows are barely 70 years old...unless of course they are in rough condition and the paint was barely there to begin with before the restoration process was begun. Also, don't use the Ben Moore Penetrating Primer on the glazing. Either a normal alkyd primer or some here on the forum have suggested no primer at all when using an oil based glazing compound.

As for epoxy, try Jamestown Distributors and Advanced Repair Technology (ART). Everyone has their preferences when it comes to epoxies. Some are easier to work with in certain applications than others. System Three makes SculpWood that I find works well for filling most nail holes and major gouges. ART has a structural epoxy that I find works well for dutchman repairs and reattaching wood pieces back together. As I said, everyone has their preferences on epoxy. Just make sure that you know what the manufacturer states about priming the epoxy. (most recommend not using oil based primers). System Three Sculpwood is available at Woodcraft as well as Jamestown (online).

Good luck!

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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2010 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John is right, skip the pretreatment if the wood surfaces are sound and you will use a penetrating oil-based primer.

Abatron's WoodEpox and LiquidWood are good if you have not done wood-epoxy repairs before. You can order it directly from Abatron:
www.abatron.com 800-445-1754

For guidance on the use of epoxies see the reports on windows and wood-epoxy repair:

http://www.historichomeworks.com/hhw/reports/reports.htm#Windows

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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
yet when I research the directions on this product, it states that it can be painted, but you must allow 30-45 days of drying period on two of the products, and 12 months on another. The impression I get from your writings, is allowing it to dry a day or two….


Begin by following manufacturers' directions and recommendations. Adapt those directions as you learn from experience what works and what doesn't.

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Scott S



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Florida almost all the windows I come across have painted jambs. And it is honestly very difficult to convince homeowners that leaving them bare or at least not have the same color as the rest of the casings is the right thing to do. I guess it just requires educating the public a bit more.

Are there any publications or old journals that anyone knows the name of that lists these specific practices?

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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 14, 2013 2:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Florida, and any other specific locality around the country, the trade practice may have been different and included painting the jamb tracks. You could investigate this by studying the windows you work on. Take a close look (magnifying glass or pocket microscope) at the wood surfaces and paint layers in the tracks and try to determine if the tracks were painted originally, or if they were painted in later years by painters who just didn't know how to best paint windows. Also, simply take a look at the current situation and determine if painting the tracks has caused problems, or if adding more coats of paint will cause problems.

There could be good reasons why the tracks need to be painted in your local. Perhaps you get more rain, and they need the protection. Perhaps it is historic custom and they should be painted just because of that.

However, if it is the case that they were not originally painted, but one unknowledgable painter in the past painted them, and every painter since then painted them because they were already painted, and the owner is just used to seeing them painted; then it might be time to educate the owner on the issue. Even then, it's the owner's building and they may need to be painted just because it's what the owner wants.

It is possible to "paint" them in a way that can still be good for the windows. If the owner needs to see color there, then I will give them a "wash coat," which is made by thinning down an oil-based paint with turpentine and brushing it on, then perhaps wiping it off, leaving some color in the tracks, perhaps repeating it for more color. Or, I might mix up a special penetrating water-repellant and add a little colored oil-base paint. This limits the thickness of the coating and tends to jamb up the sash less that full coatings of paint--until the next unknowledgable painters come along in the future, building up more and more coats of paint.

Some of my old trades manuals do mention not painting the tracks and the side edges of the sash. I'm not an academic, so I don't have the footnotes and references for you.

Here at my 1899 house in Portland, Maine, sash tracks were originally colored with a wash coat to match the exterior trim color on the outer tracks and match the interior trim color on the inner tracks. It was definitely a very thin wash coat and not the full coats of paint or varnish found on the adjacent trim.

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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike Davis, a restoration worker in New Orleans, uses Dupont's Corlar and Imlar in the sash tracks for less friction. They are supplied by industrial suppliers.
(source: http://www.finehomebuilding.com/item/26360/refurbishing-old-double-hung-windows-part-one?&lookup=auto&V27&V28&V29&V30&V31&V32&V33&V34&V35&V55&V56&Taun_Per_Flag=True&utm_source=email&utm_medium=eletter&utm_content=20130114-beautiful-baths&utm_campaign=fine-homebuilding-eletter)

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kimitchell



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2014 10:15 am    Post subject: Need caulk recommendation prior to painting frame & sill Reply with quote

Just primed my first set window frame and sill, and John's step-by-step instructions refer to: Apply caulking or sealants to the sill/jamb joints, and possibly to the jamb/exterior-stop-joint if necessary.

Can anyone recommend a good caulk or sealer to use that will hold up to the weather over time?

Or are the standard Home Depot options OK?
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johnleeke
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 20, 2014 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I often use a one-part urethane high-performance sealant such as Sonnelastic's NP1. This an oil-based paintable sealant, that cures from moisture in the air and needs mineral spirits for cleanup.
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