Helping owners, tradespeople, contractors and professionals understand and maintain their historic and older buildings.
Welcome, Old-House Journal readers. For more info on wood-epoxy repairs get the book right over here:
or, join the epoxy repair discussion over at the Forum:
It is worth taking care of what you have. You don’t have to spend big piles of money to have a nice place to live and work. You can swing into ongoing routine maintenance and minor repairs. If you do have big piles of money, it’s worth assessing conditions and planning an effective project. Either way, I can help you “git ‘er done.”
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Care for a house, it becomes your home–a safe haven for the comfort of your family.
Got peeling paint? Crumbling bricks? Rotting porch columns? Not sure which way to jump first?
Wish you had a brother in the business who could tell you what’s what and who’s who? Well, I’m not your brother, but you can still count on me for objective advice not tainted by the construction industry’s marketing hype and hidden agendas. I don’t do paid product endorsements. I don’t do “associate” sales where a link to Amazon.com gives me a percentage of what you spend there. I don’t even take “free” samples from manufacturers. You will notice that there is no outside advertising here at HistoricHomeWorks.com. So, you know that my recommendations and advice are objective. If I mention or recommend a specific material or product, that is based on my own personal experience and I find that it actually works.
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66 thoughts on “Home”
I have a very old Red Devil point driver, which I love! I am trying to assess if it can be adjusted to fire diamond points in just a tiny bit deeper…I have been unable to find the answer. I am restoring all the beautiful wood windows in our home one by one. For me, it is labor of love and deep appreciation for the craftsmanship of days gone by.
Can you help? Thank you!!!
I have a 113-year-old house that needs some window repair. I don’t want to replace them. I want to keep these 8′ x 3′ double-hung beauties. My problem is that finding a carpenter/contractor capable of doing this work has been near impossible. Do you know of a website or organization that can help me locate someone who can do this kind of work? Or do you know a person you can refer in Georgia? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Kim, My book, Save America’s Windows, has a national directory of window specialists who can do that work. There are two listed for Georgia, and more in the neighboring states. Get the book here:
If you get the book and none of those can help, give me a call and I’ll try to help you find someone. –John
I restore historic windows . My name is Archie McGee
336 460 1037. Text me only.
The window in my small bathroom opens into a 3 season porch, not to the outside. It is a beautiful old double-hung wood window. The original window frame is partially over an existing bathtub to the left of the window; in order to accommodate adding a shower above the tub, the window either needs to be removed or narrowed toward the right. My friend is handy with trim work, but I’m not a carpenter. This would mean removing the upper and lower windows, cutting a 12 inch section out of the middle and connecting (gluing or splicing etc) the two parts together – leaving the original window edges and joins and dowels intact on the left and right ends. To accommodate the narrower windows, move the left side window trim 12 inches to the right. Do not damage the walls (plaster with wires). Can this be done? ideas? Thank you!
The window in my small bathroom opens into a 3 season porch, not to the outside. It is a beautiful old double-hung wood window. The original window frame is partially over an existing bathtub to the left of the window; in order to accommodate adding a shower above the tub, the window either needs to be removed or narrowed toward the right. My friend is handy with trim work, but I’m not a carpenter. This would mean removing the upper and lower windows, cutting a 12 inch section out of the middle and connecting (gluing or splicing etc) the two parts together – leaving the original window edges and joins and dowels intact on the left and right ends. To accommodate the narrower windows, move the left side window trim 12 inches to the right. Do not damage the walls (plaster with wires).
Can this be done? ideas?
Yes, that can definitely be done. Post this comment over on my Save America’s Windows Forum:
My wife and I purchased a bungalow style home that was built in 1905 with most of the 1.5 story being living space. The home was most renovated before purchase including new roof, windows, mechanicals, hvac (less most ductwork), electrical and plumbing, and vinyl siding placed on top of what looks like large white shingle tile siding. Our master bedroom is upstairs along with 2 guest rooms, an dormer office space, and a bathroom. Our master bedroom has two knee walls with access to only one of those knee walls in our closet. Once inside that access, you can view most of the attic space which spans from our bedroom on one side down one side of the hallway and butts up against one wall of one of the guest bedrooms. The folks renovating (flipping) the home placed batts in some of the wall cavities inside that main access with fiberglass blown in on the remaining attic floor and some up above the ceiling joists leading to the devil’s peak attic space above the upstairs living space. When we moved in, I started air sealing that main attic access space as well as filling in the remaining 2×4 wall cavities with batting, placing foam board at the top of bottom floor wall cavities, placing 3 inch foam board over the wall cavities with batting, and air sealing all gaps around the foam. I’ve also added a gable vent and plan to add a ridge vent new spring since there are no soffit vents around the edge of the house. I plan to cut out a door to gain access into the opposite attic space and repeat what I’ve done on the part I have been able to access currently. Once all foam board and batting have been installed and all gaps are air sealed, then we place to blow in cellulose on both attic floors. We would like to insulate the remainder of the upstairs, but do not have access to those wall cavities. I thought maybe we could go inside the main attic space and blow in cellulose up and over the ceiling joists above the knee walls in one of the guest bedrooms and then back down into the wall cavities. We would fill until all cavities were full and dam of the top of the knee walls with a small gap for ventilation. To help fill the devil’s peak areas, we could pull down some of the puck LED lights they installed and blow cellulose into those areas until full. We recently had an insulation contractor quote use to insulate the upstairs attic spaces and wall cavities, as well as the exterior walls of the home. The company would finish the upstairs insulation in a similar manner I stated above, but would have to cut (2) 2″ holes in each wall cavity on the exterior of the home for insulate those outside walls. Mind you, we have plaster walls and original trim throughout the home. The contractor would remove a section of vinyl siding and drill through the original siding and house wrap. After researching older home insulation techniques for exterior walls, I am second guessing having this contractor drill hundreds of holes in the exterior of our home. We have air sealed and caulked most items we could so the house isn’t drafty, and doorways and windows have been weather-stripped. We are trying to focus on the ABC (Attic, Basement, Conditioned Space) of insulating the home so we are focusing our efforts on the attic for now. What are your thoughts?
I have a 1929 house with its original windows. Considering their age, they are in great shape—in fact they still have their original varnish/shellac finish on the inside. But the finish hasn’t been maintained, and I think the wood has been degraded by UV light—it’s very, very soft (what remains of the finish turns to powder easily with sandpaper, and the wood —which I think is fir—can be dented with a fingernail). The outside has been consistently painted and is fine. I have your book on windows, but there isn’t much in it about repairs for stained wood. I’d like to refinish the insides and coat it well with something like spar varnish to protect against further UV damage, but I’m not sure how to remove the finish without accidentally softening the sharp edge detail of the muntins. The wood is so soft! And assuming I can get the finish off, should I consolidate the wood with something to strengthen it before varnishing? Or are multiple layers of varnish sufficient?
I have a fair amount of lincrusta wall in my old 19th c home. It’s beautiful, painted to look like leather. In places it’s darker than others, years of grime I suppose and smokers. I want to do some cleaning but without removing the paint (I used a little Krud Kutter in an hidden spot–that did seem to lift the pigment). Can you or others point me toward a safe cleaning solution. I’m been all over the web and mostly I land at museum or fine arts conservation sites with very technical discussions. Thanks! Patricia
I’ve been watching a lot of your videos related windows and reading all your information. I appreciate it!
I’ve been reading a lot of your work and it’s fascinating. We recently bought a home in NJ that was built in the 1800’s. We have 19 original (we think) wood windows that we’d like to restore. My husband and I have never done this before and we think we’d benefit from watching someone do a couple of ours before we maybe try and tackle it ourselves. Could you recommend someone who is highly skilled at this in NJ ? We’d be so grateful.
Alexis and Anthony
That would be a good approach for stepping up your window game. My book, Save America’s Windows, has a national directory of window specialists with half-a-dozen listed in New Jersey. If you get the book and none of those work out, call me and I’ll see if I can scare up some more.
==> Get the book, http://saveamericaswindows.com/get-the-book/
Other window resources that might be helpful:
==> Videos, watch over my shoulder and learn window work http://saveamericaswindows.com/videos/
==> Discussion Forum, ask questions, upload photos, get help http://saveamericaswindows.com/forum/index.php
==> Long Distance Consulting, private help to suit your needs, live video conferencing, etc, http://historichomeworks.com/office/
Hello, I am working on restoring a beautiful home dating back to the 1890s, and it has four beautiful Greek column out front(weight bearing) that have almost lost the integrity of their bases and have sunk, causing the roof above to also sink. They are over 20 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide. My question being, how in the world am I going to lift these columns to be able to replace their base, jacking them up has come to mind, just with their size and weight, I have no idea how to go about doing this in a way to leave access to slide out the old base and replace with a new one. Thoughts?
Hi, I have a beautiful old double hung wood window in my small bathroom that opens to 3 season porch and not the outside. I want to make this window 12″ narrower in order to accommodate adding a shower above an existing bathtub located directly to the left of the window (the existing window trim on left side extends partially over the tub, but w/ a shower Curtin to be installed w shower head, the window needs to either be removed or narrowed toward the right). I’m not a carpenter but have a friend willing to help me who is handy w trim work. My thought (may be naïve) is to make the window narrower – remove the upper and lower windows, cut a 12″ section out of the middle of each window and reconnect (glue/splice etc) the two parts – thus leaving the original window left and right sides / edges and joins and dowels etc intact on left and tight ends of the window. And move the existing left side window trim 12″ to the right to be located next to the narrower windows. And also avoid major wall damage (plaster w wire walls).
Is any of this feasible? Or can you offer advice / ideas?
Jim, yes your plan certainly is possible. The window frame and the sashes could be made smaller in width. to get started you would need to remove the sashes, and then remove the whole window frame from the wall. You would then make a cut in the frame’s header and sill, then shape a 6″ lap joint on each end of the header and sill parts, then screw and glue the laps together.
For the sashes, you need to remove the glass panes, and make cuts and lap joints as with the frame. Then cut the glass to the new size and glaze it back into the sashes.
Finally, install the frame back into the wall, and install the sashes in the frame.
If you need more detailed help with this I could provide you with sketches, etc., with my Long-Distance Consulting service:
Hi Mr. Leeke :
I live in Birmingham, Alabama and have been doing handyman/maintenance for the last 20 years. Occasionally I have had to repair rotten wood … on window sills and frames, re-glazing windows, repair rot on door jambs and other parts of houses. I ran across your article and was wondering what it would take to become a conservator ? I would gladly gather any books and materials needed and then apply myself to learn all I could about becoming a conservator. I realize that it does not happen overnight and would require a lot of dedication and perseverance.
Is this something that I could do ? Am I underestimating what it takes to do this job and would best not try it ? Any advice and help you could offer would be greatly appreciated. I have been looking for a niche type business involved with building repairs and maybe this is what I am looking for. Even if I just start out with the common window and door repairs that can save a lot of money I could sort of get my feet wet. I look forward to hearing from you. P.S Have you ever considered someone training under you as an apprentice ? Thanks for your time .. Wayne Morgan
I live in Gadsden and was trained as an architectural conservertor. Am now retired. However, I would be happy to talk to you about the world of historic preservation and plug you into places that you might be very useful and happy. John knows me; I know John. leaving my contact info for you.
I live in Gadsden and was trained as an architectural conservator. Am now retired. However, I would be happy to talk to you about the world of historic preservation and plug you into places that you might be very useful and happy. John knows me; I know John. leaving my contact info for you.
Hi. A friend recommended me to this website. I have several single sash windows that are flaking paint to the bare wood as well as the glaze falling off. These windows face West and have the most exposure to the elements. My other windows aren’t as bad. I have seen several websites and my head is swimming LOL. I can’t afford new windows or to hire a professional. My plan of attack is to remove the old paint with a chemical paint stripper, remove the old glaze but leave the windows in tact, sand, using water and a respirator to cut down on lead exposure, apply oil based primer to the entire window including the rabbit joints that holds the windows. Again, I would like for the windows to remain intact while doing this and apply the primer to the part of the rabbit joint that is exposed and not covered by the window. Then I would like to use sarco dual based glaze and wait 30 days to paint over the glaze. I would apply several coats of paint. Am I on the right track or doomed to failure? I would love your input. Thanks!
Hi Dave K–
I’m about to do the same and am curious about your experiences. Might you be able to share?
I’m very interested to hear how the glazing went, since I’m reading different opinions: to wait 30 days before painting over the glazing putty, OR, do it right away, within the same day.
I have a 1917 Craftsman house with many wood windows, the first floor interior original oak or chestnut. When we painted the house, we removed the aluminum storms. After much searching, we found a window restorer who makes wood storm windows. He puts removable glass in the bottom and you add a screen in the summer. It is all done form the inside. We also had the sash restored by him. It is expensive and a lot of work.
We have a second floor stairwell window that it too high to be opened and had a fixed wood storm made by him.
After a year, we noticed splits in the wood–when he came and removed it mushroom- like plants were attached! I was horrified–but I see now it was the condensation of this south facing window that was closed up tight and never opened from the inside. So wood storms are not the best solution is some cases as I have found out. He is willing to make another, but it seems like the same thing will happen. We have spend so much money and time on these, I am at a loss on what to do now. I could open the window most of the spring and summer, but not sure if that is enough. My house does not have central AC.
Any ideas would be appreciated. The restorer says there is some sort of ventilation he could put in the wood but he can’t seem to locate it anymore. Would the metal double pane storms have this issue also?
I am considering double track metal storms the Quantum panel, but still not sure the condensation would not continue to be a problem on a window that is too high up to use Thank you.
Cathy, welcome to Historic HomeWorks!
The problem with fixed storms is that they can trap moisture in the woodwork leading to fungal decay, as you have found.
I would not suggest simply putting up a metal storm, because it is likely to trap water in the window sill and frame, leading to their decay and demise.
I suggest considering having your window restorer make another storm, this time out of a more decay resistant species of wood, and possibly treating it with a migrating borate preservative before painting. And they installing it with a 1/4″ space between the sill and the bottom rail of the storm. This gap will help ventilate the space between the storm and the sashes. Also, I suggest installing the storm so it can be easily opened for occasional maintenance.
Who is your window restorer?
Thank you for your thougtful reply. I will ask him to make the storm out of a different wood, and also not weatherstrip it tightly, as he did before. Second floor windows are a problem to open and close, so I am thinking that taking it off in the summer or at least keeping the window in the hallway open might be enough. I do this with a fixed leaded glass window and it seems fine. He does put a hook and eye on the sill so it can pushed out.
I did some reading and have reservations about the borate as it seem to cause paint and wood failure down the road. Have you seen this happen? I hesitate to recommend it if they are not used to using it.
It has been frustrating so that is why I was thinking of installing two track metal storm, such as Quantam panel. This is not my first choice but it is getting costly restoring the wood windows, making storms and then have them not last long.
My restorer is a company in CT called Windowmaster, they are not on any restorer list, but at the time I could not find anyone to do this work and they were recommended. He did a good job of restoring the primary windows I have done so far but I have been very disappointed in the wood storms. I did a lot of research and no one really did this work near me. I would be happy for any recommendations.
I have a home with old paint that has failed. I would like to remove the paint and paint with linseed oil paint. I was planning to heat the paint with an infrared heater and then scrape the paint. I have your window books and I think you do a seminar on painting. I seem to remember that after you remove old paint, maybe that has lead in it, you wash the wall with a solution. I was wondering what the solution is and how you treat the wall with it? Do you still do a painting seminar?
First, thanks for getting the windows book!
I’m not doing a painting seminar this year. However, you can get the next best thing over at the Historic HomeWorks Forum where you can post photos of your paint project and ask questions:
You can get all the details on the Wet Abrasive Scrub method right here:
If you are planning to use Allback Linseed Oil Paint, you may want to study this discussion:
Best of success with your paint project. Keep us posted on your progress over at the Forum.
I hear you’re good on windows. What do you do when the floor of the sash weight pocket has rotted out and the weight is sticking through a hole in it, or, worse, has fallen down the wall? I tried putting a 1-by on top of what is left of the original floor, but it doesn’t hold up to the heavy weights (23 lbs. per side, in one case) dropping on it and it throws off the level of the sash pocket doors. The original floor seems to have been integral with the outer sill (1-inch poplar).
First, I would investigate the condition of the sill/stile joint to see if it also has decayed. If the joint or the sill needs to be repaired, then that’s the time to fix the bottom of the weight pocket.
On most windows the weight should always be suspended above the bottom of the weight pocket. If a heavy weight has smashed into the end of the sill, that’s another reason to check out that joint, position of the sill, fit of the pocket door, squareness of the frame, etc.
Removing an exterior or interior casing might be necessary to fully examine and repair the joint.
Might have to remove a casing, or even open up the wall finish to retrieve the weight. If the weight fell down inside the wall cavity it could be easier to find a replacement weight. In balloon-framed buildings I’ve sometimes found the weight dropped all the way down to the first floor structural sill, and could be easily seen from the basement and taken off the sill.
I love your videos and was able to save the wood windows, which were rotting in my mom’s house. It is a “Spanish ” style white bungalow in Los Angeles, built in 1924. The question I have is this: I want to build a garden shed and have collected a large number of sashes for double hung windows. But I have only come across one article (in Fine Woodworking magazine) about how to build the sash box or frame. I’ve studied the diagrams of some frames and think I have an idea of how to proceed. I’m not an experienced woodworker. I am hoping you might have more info? Right now I’m trying to find a source for parting strip. Any thoughts? I don’t want to toss the sashes or do some silly craft project with them. Thanks for your time . A.L.
If that’s the “Shop-Built Window Frames: Simple Joinery”by Joseph Beals III. Fine Homebuilding #84 (November 1993). pp 76-79, http://www.finehomebuilding.com/1993/11/01/shop-built-window-frames , then you have one of the best guides to window frame construction.
I suggest you simply get some wood and try to build a frame. Considering your experience level, figure that you will have to build a couple of frames to learn how, then you will know more about building the frames you need. If you bump in to problems or need “coaching” go to my other website, http://www.SaveAmericasWindows.com and register at the Forum where you can post pictures of your progress, ask questions and I’ll help you through it. (when you register use your real name and mention your interest in making frames, that way I’ll know it’s you and can approve your registration)
My name is Sandy Curtis and we have a 1952 Ranch with original casement windows. We love them and wouldn’t think of replacing them and are very capable of repair and restoration. My question is they have interior aluminum storms that clip into the frame of the sash, making them semi-permanent. Only to be removed for cleaning I assume. The issue is most have failed. Even with the sash fully restored, they condensate in the cold Michigan winters. If I put plastic up over the window they stay dry which makes me believe it’s the storm that has failed. What are my options? I have had no luck in finding replacements online. We’ve tried caulking the seams, squeezing weatherstripping in the edges…short of replacing the sash, I’m at a loss. Any advice or suggestion would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Sandy, good to hear you are saving your 1950s windows. I’d need more details (including photos) to give you some specific advice. Please head over to my other website, SaveAmericasWindows.com, and register at the Forum, where you can post photos to show me what you’ve tried and I can see the details of your windows. Here’s a direct link to the Forum:
(click on “Register” in the upper right, register, then click on “New Topic” and leave a message, like the one above, and I help you over there.)
I own a house in southern Ontario, Canada built in the 1870s. It has wood board and batten siding with no sheathing from what I can tell and lathe and plaster walls on the inside. There is no insulation in the walls and most of the windows are original. For such an old, drafty house the heating bills are surprisingly reasonable. The siding and exterior trim is in rough shape and will need to be replaced soon. I have read a lot of opinions about insulating houses like this one and creating moisture issues in the walls. When I remove the siding that would be the time to insulate. Should I bother insulating at all or if I should then what would you recommend? Thanks!
Why hasn’t John responded or did he do a PM?
I have the exact same thing facing me and would really appreciate his thoughts on the project. Let me know plz….thank you.
Insulation in side walls can trap moisture in the walls leading to deterioration of the wall.
If you do insulate, you should detail the work so that the interior of the walls is ten times more resistant to the passage of water vapor than the exterior of the wall. This will help keep the interior living space moisture out of the walls, and allow moisture that does get into the walls to move to the outdoors.
Without knowing the details of your walls and building, heating system, and moisture conditions, etc., I’m reluctant to get much more specific than this.
However, these moisture performance requirement are usually met by applying a vapor retarder (such as 6mil or 10mil poly sheeting) at the interior and red rosin building paper at the exterior, which will let moisture pass through it while limiting air infiltration.
If you cannot apply an effective vapor retarder at the interior, then I suggest not insulating the walls.
See this discussion over at the Forum:
I Recently moved to N. Yarmouth from the southeastern portion of Pa. Being a historic restoration contractor your sight intrigued me. I have owned and operated The Restoration Fraternity for 41 years and would like to pursue my craft in this area. I would enjoy talking with you in hopes of learning more about our craft and acquiring new restoration projects. Thanks
Hi Steven, Let’s get together. Give me a call at 207 773-2306
I just ordered your book, so hopefully my questions will be answered.
I am restoring a 1954 mid-century ranch with original double-pane wood windows with spring bronze flashing.
The interior glazing is loose and coming out in many spots. There are (5) large 6′ h. X 4′ w. Windows in the front, each with a 5′ x 4′ fixed pane and a 1′ x 4′ awning window below.
What glazing product is best, what tools to use and most importantly, do I sand and restaun the wood or paint?
Miss Kitty in Pittsurgh
I’m interested in what the best practices are for filling through holes (from nails – average size 1/16″ diameter, 3/4″ deep) in historic trim (1890’s fir) and moulding. Wood epoxy (we use Systems 3) has always been used here as a default. Some are for it’s permanence, some are opposed because of it’s permanence. I’d like to try priming and filling the bottom (side against the building) with epoxy, to create a solid, waterproof base in the wood, then treating the remaining cavity in a more historical manner by using an oil based glazing compound. However, I do not know if the epoxy and glazing compound will bond to each other. Also, I don’t know if this is overkill and maybe it’s just best to fill the hole entirely with epoxy. Thank you for being here for us .
Daniel, I filled some nail holes entirely with wood-epoxy repair methods and materials 37 years ago and they are holding up just fine. I’ve been using these methods and materials since then. Here’s a recording showing small exterior wood-epoxy repair methods on a recent project that includes filling nail holes:
Were you at one of the NPS P.A.S.T. program training sessions I was teaching?
Thank you so much for the response! For one reason or another, I haven’t seen it until now.
The video link is unavailable, but we eventually settled on an all-epoxy filler. We primed the holes with liquid then filled them putty, using the Abatron wood epoxy products. It worked great and it’s good to hear that you have been able to monitor that repair over time and that it holds.
Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to the PAST program. The year I was hired with NPS the program didn’t happen. And when they started it back up again, there was no travel money for Alaskan NPS employees.
Great work, great book, all I wanna say – Thank You.
John, I have your book on windows. Just wondering if you think window screens are a good idea. I’m thinking about leaving them on year round, as I have limited storage space and energy. If you do, do you have a standard design for window screens for double hung windows?
Mary, Yes, screens are a good idea because they provide ventilation and help keep out the bugs. What is the climate at your location?
have you used the red devil glazing putty as we have used the dap33 and don’t like it . the red devil seems to be like the type M ? We can only get the Dap or the red devil in Bermuda we have about 50 old sashes to do .
I do not know about the Red Devil putty.
When ever I am faced with limited availability of putties I do a field test of what is available, side-by-side on the same sash. I prepare the whole sash with the same methods and materials, then glaze with one putty on the left side, and the other putty on the right side. Then I paint the whole sash using the same methods and materials on both sides. The longer I can let the test run the more I learn about their differences, and which one might be better.
I have been researching restoration, etc. For a good year now. I bought an old one room schoolhouse a year and a half ago. I want to try and save it before the elements destroy it. I know nothing of restoration, windows, etc. I am in Michigan, so immediate action is best to take action before the weather makes the condition worse. Can you point me in the right direction as to where to start? Most professionals seem to be far East or west of me.
A good place to begin is with a whole-building conditions survey or assessment, to determine the building parts and systems that require attention.
Then sort those into priority categories:
==> Life Safety and Health
==> Structure Safety
==> Weather Envelope
==> Interior Finish
The Practical Restoration Reports Compendium has a section, “Managing Maintenance” that will guide you through the planning process, with detailed instructions, checklists and forms to fill out. Get the Compendium right over here:
Once you have a chance to study the Compendium, stop back here with questions for more guidance.
Thank you John,
Great advise and I did’nt know about the metal sash glazing products.
On the topic of priming and painting. When is it too early to paint and when is it too late? Or, what is the most optimal time to paint the glazing related to its curing?
Thank you again
I can use some expert experience on a glazing situation as I have only window glazed once. I have an aluminum skylight installed in the 1960’s. I spot glazed the window with DAP 33 but I did not pretreat the remaining glazing with oil prior to glazing with the new DAP 33. I have to say that I spent a long time getting the glazing to look almost perfect, and it looks really really good up close. However there are some micro hair-line cracks in the areas nearest the old glazing that are hard to see. I ‘m guessing that these are from the old glazing drawing the new glazing oil out? Or maybe because it is so hot on the roof with a metal frame? is there a remedy to midigate or reverse these micro cracks? Brush linseed oil to revive? I have not yet painted or primed the glazing and it has been one day since I glazed, although it is hot in San Jose, California and it is on my roof. The window is a two foot by three foot skylight and my window frame outside lip is about one inch tall.
When glazing metal sash use a glazing compound made for metal, such as Sarco DualGlaze, or DAP ‘1012’ Glazing.
You are probably correct about the old putty drawing oil out of the new putty causing the cracks. Soaking some boiled linseed oil into the old putty probably would have helped.
For a remedy removing the cracked putty, soaking boiled linseed oil into the old putty and redoing might work, but I suggest (much as it may be difficult to hear it), starting over with a better putty like the Sarco DualGlaze. Look at it this way, you have given yourself a training experience and now learned more about glazing and developed your tooling technique, so the re-do will go quicker and better. When removing the old putty take it all the way down to bare metal and glass, and so your new putty butts vertically to the old putty.
I am very interested in knowing how you pick your projects and whether you would be able to provide a quote on window restoration for a 1866 farmhouse in Virginia (approximately 30 windows). They are two-over-two double hung sash windows and then one set of external french doors (very narrow) and two sets inside. We have a historic preservation minded general contractor for a lot of the work but he’s not a pro at windows and we want someone who will take great care. We also are looking to remove the vinyl siding thrown overtop the clapboard and would love to get an estimate of what that might cost us so we can plan for it in the near term. The house is approximately 2,700 sq ft if that helps. So our questions are a) are you available to restore windows in Virginia and b) can you give us a price range for what you charge for window restoration (we already have a ballpark from reading online) and for siding restoration? We just don’t have any idea if the amount we have in mind is anywhere close to what these kinds of undertakings cost.
Thank you very much! We’re so glad true artisans like you are around!
Anne & Ian
Anne & Ian:
These days I pick window projects that will be the new chapter in the next revision of my windows book.
There are a lot of good window restoration specialist between here (Maine!) and Virginia. I suggest getting my book ( http://saveamericaswindows.com/get-the-book/ ) that has a national directory of window specialists, with five right there in Virginia, and at least a dozen more in surrounding states.
One very effective way to determine costs is to do “sample work.” Pay your tradesperson or contractor by the hour to do a limited amount of work, such as one or two windows, or for siding restoration do a 10-foot wide section of wall from foundation to eaves. Keep close track of time and material costs, and divide the total cost by the number of windows or square feet done. Then you can use that “per window” or “square foot” cost to project costs for the whole project. The limited scope protects you from spending too much money, and the square foot cost figure assures the contractor he will not loose his shirt with a bad estimate. Other benefits include seeing the character of their work and learning what it is like to do business with them.
My 1930’s home is currently under renovation. I want to retain all of the original doors & more importantly the glass door knobs and mortise locks. The renovation is also an expansion and we’ll be adding additional bedrooms and bathrooms. This requires 10 new doors. I was able to find identical matching door knobs and mortises and I’d like them installed in the new doors that are required. My GC seems to be unable to commit to being able to use these old knobs and mortises in the new doors. What can I do to assist/convince him that it can/should be done? I was also able to get an original french glassed door and i’d like him to install that. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Try this, offer to pay him by the hour to work with you to disassemble one of the original mortise lock sets, taking the lock set out of the door, examining the mortise and holes, making a drawing of the mortise with measurements, etc. You might have to get him started on it, but then let him carry through. Then ask him to think about how he would cut a similar mortise into a new door. Then do a mock-up. Take a piece of wood the same size and species as the new doors are being made of, and cutting a mortise in it and installing one of the identical locksets into the mortise. If it doesn’t come out good enough, that’s OK, there’s no shame in that. Then he can think about how to make improvements and do a second and even third mock-up, as he trains himself in how to do this work.
If the two of you run into difficulty, just post a “new topic” with photos in the door section of the discussion Forum:
and I’ll give you some detailed guidance from there.
is the scraper for muntins hand made or commercially available? I have 53 windows, 106 sash to restore on my 1895 Victorian thanks
Hi Mark, welcome to Historic HomeWorks. The muntin profile scraper is custom made. Here is the discussion on making the profile scrapers over at the Save America’s Windows website forum:
I’m making some wooden storms. I have one surviving wooden storm, #41, and the bottom rail is 4.25″ wide, all others are 2.25″. Do you suppose that all other storms in the house would have had these same dimensions?
Do you know of any formulas or tips for these bottom rail widths and for storm window dimensions?
Are both panes of glass supposed to look the same size? They are on #41.
I’m thinking that if I made all rails/stiles 2.25″ then put the muntin at the meeting rail point, that the top storm pane would be smaller than the bottom and there wouldn’t be the same proportional width all around the window.
I’ve been watching alot of your windows videos and reading all your information. I appreciate it!
That surviving wooden storm has typical dimensions for storms made from the 1920s through the 1950s. I know because I put up and took down the storms for about 15 years while I was growing up in the house my dad built, right over on 38th Street, between Sheridan Boulevard and Calvert Street. (That’s right, I grew up there in Lincoln.)
Typically, bottom rails are 1 1/2″ to 2″ wider that the stiles.
Give me a call (207 773-2306) if you’d like to talk more about storms.
Here’s the discussion on making wooden storms:
I have columns dating back to 1867. All wood, and they have water rot on the base and the bottom of the columns. Dimensions are 20′ tall, 24 ” diameter, fluted. We want to raise the columns, cut about 2 inches of rot off the bottom of the column and replace the bases. The bases are currently wood, and we’d like to replace with a PVC look-alike to eliminate the potential of this happening again. It appears it has happened in the past and the bases were cut out and replaced about 40 years ago.
We want to maintain the historic nature of the mansion, but there seems to be discussion about using newer materials even though they have the look of the old.
Referred by Bob Yapp.
Bob, See this discussion on columns over at the Forum:
where you’ll find a detailed method for repairing shaft stave ends, etc., and info on materials selection.
I own a mid century ranch home built in ’69-70 with wood exterior casement windows. They are Pella Windows and the sashes are in bad shape. Can these be restored as Pella does not offer services or parts for these windows. Can you direct me in the direction to go out give me some insight? Replacement windows are expensive and they change the look of the home.
Thanks in advance.
Debra, many of the methods and techniques that have been proven on older windows can be applied to more recent 1960s casement windows.
Ask questions with attached photos at the Save America’s Windows discussion forum:
Or, get the book:
Hello I have old windows, from late1800’s-1950’s, min.$25
please let me know if yourself or anyone you know that might be interested, Thank you
Hi Robert, Do you mean you have windows for sale? Where are you located? What size and what condition? Do you mean $25 minimum each or for the whole bunch? Can you post a photo? –John
Hello! My name is Melanie and I ran across this site while looking at restored, repurposed wood windows. I live in Norfolk Virginia and have been selling salvaged windows for the past 3 years. I currently have over 600 of them in stock. If you guys are ever interested in coming by and checking out my stock, my schedule is pretty flexible. I carry all sizes, ages, and makes. Even wavy glass. $10.00 per window, unless you plan on purchasing 10 or more. I even carry large picture windows. They range from $40.00 and up. If your ever interested give me a shout. (757) 324-2457
You can find my adds throughout Virginia and North Carolina Craigslist, Offerup and Letgo. Ill also be happy to send you pics of my current inventory if you like. Hope you have a great day! Again, I LOVE YOUR WORK!
Extra Space Storage
301 S Naval Base Rd