Restoring an older window is labor intensive, but you can save the historical integrity of your home — and a good deal of money — in the process. Here are some tips to help you do the job.
To restore your window, you’ll want to remove old paint, as layers of paint can affect the smooth functioning of the window and hide areas that need repair. The safest method is to use chemical paint strippers. This reduces the risk of creating harmful lead-based paint dust. But before you get to that, you have to disassemble the window, to make it easier to work with.
We’ll look at the common double-hung window. With particular attention to the window stop, scrape or break the paint bond between the window jamb and the stop. Using a putty knife and a rubber mallet, carefully pry loose the stop from the jam. Apply force evenly and in small increments along the stop to avoid damaging the jam or cracking the slender wood of the window stop. Removing the stop is the key to removing the lower sash or moveable portion of the window. As you remove the stop and sash make note of their positions so that they may be reconstructed exactly. If your window has a functioning sash cord, look for the nails holding the cords. Place the sash on the sill while you carefully remove the cords from the sash. Pin the unattached cords with a nail to the jam to prevent the cords and sash weight from falling inside the window frame.
To remove the upper sash, look for the parting bead that is found in the centre of the window stile; it’s often in a groove, and it’s smaller and more fragile than the window stop. Remove surrounding paint and gently pry the parting bead, so you can gently remove the upper sash from the window jamb. Now you can repair both sashes on a work bench. Next time, we’ll look at the next stage.