Top Things to Consider When Repairing Windows at Home 

Last updated on January 8, 2024

Consider these key things when repairing your home windows. Read on!

Whether you own a historic home with wooden windows or just want to maintain the value of your property, knowing how to inspect for issues and properly repair wooden windows yourself is important.

A minor repair done incorrectly can become a much larger problem over time, eventually requiring the services of a specialized wood window repair company. In this post, I will cover the most important things to consider when tackling common wooden window repairs at home.

From identifying signs of deterioration to gathering the right tools and materials, following these best practices will help you make effective, long-lasting fixes that protect your investment and improve the functionality of your old wooden windows. 

What's Inside

Check for Signs of Damage or Deterioration

window repairman

The first step in repairing wooden windows is to thoroughly inspect for any signs of damage or deterioration. Look for cracked or broken glass panes, which may require a glass replacement if the cracks are extensive. Minor cracks can sometimes be repaired, but large areas of broken glass will likely need to be replaced.

Also, check the sills and frames for damage from rot or insect holes. Run your hand along the wooden parts to feel for soft, rotting areas caused by long-term moisture exposure. Examine the glazing and caulking between the windowpanes and frames.

Rotten caulking allows moisture to seep in, so it should be replaced. Windows that are sticking shut may have built-up paint preventing the panes from opening properly. Sanding and stripping the paint can often free up sticking windows. Finally, look for warped or twisted frames and sashes, which may require removal and replacement of the damaged wooden parts for a proper repair.

Gather the Right Tools and Materials

fix window

To successfully complete a home window repair, you’ll need the proper tools and materials. Basic hand tools like a hammer, pry bar, and screwdrivers for removing old panes and putting frames back together are essential.

You’ll also require more specialized window tools, including a glazing knife for applying glazing compound,  a putty knife to remove old putty and glazing, and glazier points for fastening new panes.

In terms of materials, you’ll need replacement glass panes if needed, glazing compound to secure the panes, caulk for resealing the frames, glazing tape, and wood filler or putty to fill any holes in sills and frames. Having these key tools and materials on hand will ensure your home window repair goes smoothly and effectively. Check hardware stores or online retailers that specialize in home improvement for options tailored to your specific project needs. 

Replace Broken Glass Panes

broken window

Replacing broken glass panes in wooden windows is a common repair for homeowners. Make sure to take safety precautions when replacing glass by wearing protective gloves and eye protection to avoid injuries. The first step is to remove any old putty and glaze around the existing panes using a putty knife.

Then, pry the panes out of the frames using a pry bar. Once the panes have been removed, you’ll need to measure the openings to order replacement glass from a glass replacement service that can cut custom panes to the correct size. When the new glass arrives, position the panes in the openings and secure them using glazing points. Glazing points are small metal clips that hold the glass tightly in place.

Finally, apply a glazing compound around the edges of the glass to set it firmly in the frames. The glazing compound forms a seal that keeps water out. Allow the glazing compound to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions before installing the interior stops and trim pieces and recaulking the frames.

Improve Window Insulation

Taking steps to improve insulation is one of the most effective ways to make old windows more energy efficient. Applying new caulk around the frames and sills will help seal cracks and gaps that allow cold air to leak in. Installing new

window weatherstripping between the window frames and sashes will form a tighter seal when closed. In the winter, you can install plastic shrink film kits or interior storm windows, which fit inside the existing window frames to create an extra layer of insulation.

If your existing wooden windows are older and in poor condition, consider replacing them with more energy-efficient tilt and turn windows for sale that offer improved insulation values. Look for windows with a higher U-factor rating and options like low-E-coated glass and gas-filled panels for optimal energy performance. These upgrades can significantly reduce heating and cooling costs

Other Maintenance and Repairs

There are several other common maintenance tasks and repairs for old wooden windows. The most extensive repairs involve removing and replacing rotted or damaged frame and sash parts. You may also need to replace missing or broken components like glass panes, glazing beads, stops, and parting beads.

Simple routine maintenance includes tightening loose hardware, lubricating hinges, latches, and pulleys with white lithium grease, and replacing or repairing damaged sash cords.

Properly functioning sash cords are essential for the easy operation of the windows. Finally, regularly repainting the exposed wood surfaces of the windows helps protect them from moisture damage.

Aim to repaint every 5 to 7 years. Choose a high-quality exterior paint suitable for wood that will help seal the surfaces and extend the lifespan of the frames. With regular maintenance and timely repairs, old wooden windows can continue functioning for many decades.

When to Call a Professional  

While many window repairs can be handled by a DIY enthusiast, some issues require the expertise of a professional window company. Any repair that involves removing and replacing rotted or damaged frames or window sashes is likely beyond the abilities of most homeowners.

Hiring professionals can help ensure a proper repair that will last. In addition, installation of new replacement windows should generally be left to a professional window company that has the proper equipment, training, and experience needed for a challenging job like full window replacements.

A reputable window company can complete complex window repairs and replacements quickly and properly to avoid issues down the road. 

To sum up, thoroughly inspecting your wooden windows for damage, collecting the proper tools and materials, and performing basic repairs like replacing glass and improving insulation can help extend the life and functionality of your old windows. Only complex repairs like frame replacements generally require hiring a professional window company.

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