Field Repairs to Window Frames
There are several methods of repairing sash while they are in the field. Sometimes for stabilization with future work intended and sometimes as a method of saving on the cost of a large project. While shop repairs will yield a much more satisfactory result, the field repair can be done nicely when a trip to the shop is unnecessary.
Paint & Glazing Maintenance
Often historic windows need to be cleaned and painted. People often come to us for a second opinion after having it pointed out how bad their windows currently look. Cracking paint and dirt can make a window look pretty bad, but a good cleaning and a new coat of paint can make all the difference in the world. Here are the different types of paint maintenance you may want to consider.
Usually, the lowest cost method of “sprucing up” is the appearance of the window sash. This type of maintenance is appropriate for a sash covered with storm panels and will not be required to open or are in excellent mechanical shape.
A thorough look at each window sash, testing their structure, minor repairs, spray finish, and better prepare the sash for smoother operation if desired.
In-Shop Sash Restoration & Repairs
Sash Restoration comes in various grades depending on how far you want us to take the sash toward its original look and operation. Here are descriptions of the different grades of sash restoration we can perform on your windows while they are in our shop.
Steaming the sash allows for removing glass and cleaning/scraping off decades of accumulated paint and glazing. Sash is tested for mechanical strength with restoration-grade carpentry repairs made in our shops. Time is spent filling & sanding for a smooth custom paint or stain finish. Preparation is made for smooth operation, often with new parting stop, interior stop, weather-stripping, and reconditioned hardware. Glass is replaced or salvaged glass is reinstalled with new sealant glazing, a higher-end variant of the older glazing types. Sash is reinstalled at a site with a new cord, salvaged (or new) chain, and hardware as either operable or fixed.
Our most detailed approach to sash maintenance, this method generally includes stripping off all old paint in a chemical bath, paint/stain grade repairs to decorative features of sash and hardware, and all the steps you see in the above Basic Sash Reconditioning.
Rot Repairs & Weathering Repairs
Different windows on the same building may need different types of repairs. We have noticed that the position of a window is a significant factor in the weathering it gets. The windows facing south and west often have more sun damage, while those on the north side are usually more shaded and develop rot more accessible from daily moisture buildup if they aren’t protected. The overhang of the roof, flashing, style of the roof, and even nearby buildings and trees can also influence how a window holds up over time.
We address each window individually and fix what’s needed based on the owners’ preferences.
Historic Window Sash & Frame Reproduction
When a homeowner wants to restore a window opening, it sometimes calls for a part of the window to be recreated. Our experienced craftsmen can reproduce parts of a window that have fallen apart or are totally missing.
Sometimes a new sash needs completely rebuilt from scratch. Old pictures of how the original window looked are helpful if an owner can find them. We build sash in historic styles out of appropriate wood species for durability and easy operation.
A couple I know built their home a little over twenty years ago. They explained that their modern wooden windows were failing and asked me to research the current market for replacements that would not fail again. If these could not be found, they asked if I would build them good windows in the traditional form with simple rope and pulley balances.
When I surveyed the home, I found the windows were made to simulate an antique sash's mullions and muntin bars, but these were glued onto the exterior glass. The sash was made of rot-prone Ponderosa Pine, which had begun to rot on the day they were installed. Pretty standard for a modern window repair call. This was to be their third set of windows.
Having asked me to find them a good window that would last, I began surveying the market and was surprised, at that time, to find that none of the major window companies were building standard wooden sash with lumber that was highly resistant to rot. Most building and window suppliers admitted the life expectancy of their sash was, at best, 20 years. All relied on technologies that were generally admitted to lead to replacement eventually. I was shocked by this, as I had continued to hold the industry up for what seemed a dedication to building something that would last.
Now I believe what has become standards in making windows “maintenance-free” and “energy-efficient” has changed the way we consider windows. They are no longer made to be part of buildings in a lasting sense. Windows have become something like consumable goods, requiring replacement every 20 years.
With this in mind, I began building window units using traditional methods and superior lumber, balancing the sash with simple balance systems. We aim to address the market of those frustrated like us and provide a product that will last. Our material selection can be in wood species that are both light in weight and are highly resistant to rot, for example, reclaimed old-growth cypress from the Gulf Coast or black walnut for the Appalachian Mountains.
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.