Take Care of the Outside First
Unprotected window openings may need painted as often as every five years. If this maintenance isn’t kept up, the paint and glazing will eventually fail, and rot will begin its slowly creeping wave of destruction. To slow the elements and keep your wooden windows energy efficient and in good shape, they require one of the following:
1. Hefty allowances in time and budget for regular maintenance, weather stripping, and heating/cooling.
2. Properly installed, high-quality storm windows.
A good storm window does all the heavy lifting. Often, we see wooden windows that have remained in great shape well after the average 15-year paint maintenance cycle. The owners speak of how comfortable their home stays and the reasonable heating and cooling bills. When we hear these comments, we find the wooden windows ALWAYS have had the protection of a good storm window. While many modern storm windows look much nicer than their historic cousins, not all are alike in their performance and longevity.
Exterior Storm Windows / Custom Storm Windows / Storm Window Replacement
The primary jobs of a storm window are to keep the weather off the window sash and protect the home from air leakage. A custom storm window project includes as many different styles of storm window as the homeowner has plans for the operation of each window. Which storm to use depends on several factors, including screens, operation preference, cleaning needs, appearance, color choice, and more. Our estimators are ready to discuss each consideration to ensure each storm does what you intend.
Our high-quality storm windows are custom-fitted and have a baked-on paint finish that will last many years. Their lines are clean, and they align with the sash they cover. With standard colors and custom paint finishes available, our vendors make a real effort to meet the modern color palette and even color match the mounting screws. Screen panels come in fiberglass, charcoal aluminum, fine mesh, stainless steel, and others as desired.
To learn more about storm window projects, check out the following related articles:
Call us or send us your information at the bottom of this page to discuss your storm window project.
Exterior Window Opening Stabilization
Window Stabilization is needed on projects where decay has begun to cause some parts of historic windows to lose strength, but the owner isn’t ready to start a window restoration project yet. Pieces of glass and wood may no longer be in place, so “stabilization” is literally the act of stabilizing the opening from rapidly getting worse. It can be short-term or longer-term, delaying the effect of decay and often making the project more manageable over time.
Stabilization might include bracing the elements of each window in place, patching glass and glazing, and most commonly, protecting the opening securely with a quality storm panel that can be used during and well after the project is completed.
Restoration Grade Carpentry Repairs
While window sash are usually removed and transported to the shop for repairs and restoration, the brick-molding, blindstop, sill, subsill, and other exterior elements are often repaired in place. Our expert craftsmen will perform different types of repairs based on the needs and condition of each window opening.
- Small areas of rot are consolidated and rebuilt in a premium exterior grade epoxy repair.
- Larger sections of damaged wood undergo a “Dutchman Repair” when enough of the original material can be saved. This is a furniture-grade repair where the removed area is replaced with rot-resistant, compatible material. Once painted, it usually looks like no repair was done.
- Sometimes the entire piece of wood needs to be completely replaced. New components can be milled and installed when necessary using furniture grade methods for strength and durability.
- We have a variety of other less common repairs that are sometimes needed in specific situations, including sill re-sloping, correction of a racked opening, and window conversions where we change the window's operation style to suit an owner's needs.
Rot Prevention & Repairs
Most homeowners are familiar with rot. Rot is the process of decay brought about commonly by the growth of fungi. Historical windows were naturally designed to avoid rot, but they are not immune, and over time may need repairs.
The common points of failure resulting in damage caused by fungi in any wooden window unit are; the junction of glass and wood in a sash (filled commonly by glazing putty), direct contact of the bottom rail of a wooden sash with the sill, and water dripping unnecessarily onto the unit from above. Rot deterioration becomes a concern when the moisture content of wood passes 20%, and the natural growth of fungi begins.
Rot prevention is woven into many steps of our process. Storm windows are often the first step in a historical window project and generally keep moisture off your windows so that fungi cannot grow. We use rot-resistant materials when doing repairs and restoration as an added defense. Some repairs such as “sill re-sloping” will ensure water properly flows away from your house instead of inside. Proper flashing above a window with insufficient overhang will prevent excess water from pooling in the wrong place. When these strategies are combined, it is very rare that rot remains a problem.
Protection from the natural elements has been the working focus of architects and tradesmen (painters, coppersmiths, masons, and finish carpenters) for centuries. When sufficient protective overhang was not included in the design, the necessity for superior protective flashing is likely imperative.
Proper flashing or protective rain drips are missing in many projects we’ve looked at, and so the windows and doors and their moldings often show premature rot. With these small details included, wooden windows and doors can be kept from the small amount of continuous moisture needed to establish the necessary condition for fungi to grow. This allows them to have the adequate condition to last as they should, without rotting, provided they get proper maintenance.
Another more serious sort of damage that can be corrected with proper flashing is the condition known as “rust jack.” This occurs when the steel lintel supporting the brick façade over an opening captures moisture which can’t escape and develops rust over time. The rust buildup will lift the brick slowly over time, often causing the phenomena known as “step-cracking.” The destabilization from this can be disastrous and, at the very least, an expensive repair.
Inquire About Your Project
Take a moment to contact us about your historical window project. We will try to get in touch within 2 business days.