Before you jump in with both feet on your wood window repair project, take a few minutes to watch these educational videos. This five part video series produced by the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office will walk you through the process. Each of the videos are full of useful tips and simple steps to ensure that your window project is a success.
Wood Window Repair Video 1
Removing the Sash
In video 1 you will learn how to remove a double hung window in a Historic Home. This particular home was constructed in 1895, and you will clearly see the difference in window design when compared to modern windows. In this video, you will learn how to remove the upper and lower sash. Follow the step by step detailed instructions on how to remove the outer stop so you can remove the sash. Then you can release the ropes, remove the center stop, and release the upper sash. If the home was constructed prior to 1978 there is a good chance that the paint contains lead. If it was built before 1960 the paint almost certainly contains lead. To reduce the risk of lead dust escaping and contaminating the air inside your home you can spray all the surfaces with water.
Another method of containment would be to use a high-powered vacuum which features a HEPA filter to vacuum the work zone every step of the way. This may require a second set of hands. Once you wet the outer stop you can score the paint from top to bottom using a sharp X-ACTO Knife. Now that you have scored the paint at the junction of the Jamb and the Stop you can make a deeper cut to make sure you fully separate the 2 pieces of wood. The original score line provides an easy-to-follow path for your final cut. You should score the back side of the Stop as well. After you make your cuts the Stop should be somewhat free and you can move it around. At this point you can pry the Stop away from the Jamb using two putty knifes or wood scrappers. This is well illustrated in the video.
The interior stop is generally a snug fit. To remove it from the Jamb without damage, you can simply bow it, which in essence, will make it shorter and it should easily be separated from the window assembly. With the stop removed you can now remove the lower sash. With the lower sash removed you can inspect it for damage to get an idea of the repairs needed to refurbish the window.
Remove the Upper Sash
To remove the upper sash, you will follow similar steps. Wet down the center stop and score a line where the center stop meets the jamb. Look underneath the upper sash panel to make sure the builder or owner has not installed a permanent stop beneath the upper sash. If so, you will need to remove the fixed stop before you can lower the upper sash. On older homes, you may also find that the upper sash has been painted in place on the outside of the home. In this case, it’s time to break out the ladder and score the outside of the upper sash with your knife. At this point you can carefully pry off the center stop. Use extreme care when prying the stop so you don’t break it in two. When possible you want to reuse all the pieces to maintain the authenticity of the home. In video 2 of the wood window repair series you will learn how to remove the glass from the sash.