Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Window Repair Progress

I am happy to report that we now have one fully-functional, fully-repaired window in the master bedroom. This is cause for celebration! Let's pop a bottle of bubbly...just don't point it towards the newly repaired window, please. If that glass cracks after all this hard work, I will scream.

We started this process approximately two months ago and, in truth, the repair still isn't quite complete on this window. We still need to paint and install new interior stops and then, we'll be done. But I was anxious to write this post. Plus, once the stops are installed, you won't be able to see as much of the window's "guts" as you can see now. For an "in progress" post, I thought it would make sense to have pictures that show more of the window's interior workings. (Here is a diagram with window anatomy, in case it's helpful).

When we toured The Papered House prior to purchase, the left window looked like this:

Sorry for the crummy photo. But as you can see, the left window wouldn't close completely. An old shirt was stuffed in the opening to keep out drafts, dust, bugs, etc.

When we started to repair this window, we removed each sash from the wall. They looked like this:

And now, the left window looks like this. It opens and closes. Progress!


So, what took us 2 months? 

We* started by removing all the old, chipping paint from both sides of the window, as well as the window lock (we discovered a copper lock under all that paint!). Then we removed the old, cracked glazing and reglazed the windows. The new glazing took 10 days to dry. It's been humid here, and we're hoping that the drying time will decrease when the humidity does. Both the inner and outer sashes received a fresh coat of oil-based primer, plus two finish coats. Painting took about six days total, since each coat of oil-based paint required 24-hours of drying time**. We installed bronze weatherstripping to increase the energy-efficiency of our windows. The old parting strips were in bad shape, so we cut and installed new ones. We also installed new sash cords as the previous ones were brittle and frayed. The pulleys were cleaned and lubricated, and then we rehung the sashes. Finally, we routered and cut new interior stops, which will be painted over the next few days. 

*I say "we" did this work, but it was predominately my husband. It's just awkward to keep typing "my husband" in every sentence, and he'd prefer that his name not be used. Just know that he did all the hard/skilled work. I just painted!

**I thought long and hard about the decision to use oil-based paint on our windows. I also consulted with a local paint expert whose family has been supplying paint in this area for over three generations. He recommended using oil for the windows because of the beautiful, durable finish. Oil-based paint is also less likely to "stick" in humid conditions, which is an important consideration in our climate. We used latex for the walls and trim, since the clean-up is so much easier. 

The good news is that much of the repair time is inactive, so we were able to tackle other projects in the meantime. We're hoping that our pace and workmanship will improve as we become more experienced at window repair. This was our very first attempt, so there was a lot of trial and error. In terms of effort, I would give ourselves an A. In terms of actual execution? Perhaps a B-. Luckily, we have at least 27 more windows in need of repair, so we'll have plenty of opportunities for improvement. These are a few of the issues we'll be looking to improve: 

The second window is in our basement at the moment, about half-way through its repair. We'll let you know how our second attempt goes.

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  1. A true thing of beauty! Perhaps " my husband" could be "MH"? 😃

    1. Yes, MH would work! Or perhaps HH for "handy husband" : )

  2. Wow, these new windows look so good Jamie! I know it was a lot of extra work but they make such a huge difference. I really appreciate how hard you guys are working to restore your home. I know it's going to be amazing! Hugs, Coco

    1. Thank you, Coco! Every time I walk into the bedroom, I stop to admire the new/repaired window. It brings a smile to my face!