Repairing & Glazing Wood Windows, Part 1

Category: Do it Yourself

Of course, during the restoration of windows, you're going to have to reglaze a few panes. I feel pretty lucky. Most of the glazing on our windows is in good shape and only a few panes became cracked during stripping.

There was at least one window with some wood integrity issues due to unaddressed unaddressed condensation issues. This window was right next to a steam radiator and poor radiator maintenance also stained the wood trim closest to it.

For stripping the windows, I used the Silent Paint Remover, a spray bottle with water (to keep down the dust), a very sharp tungsten carbide blade scraper, some steel wool and denatured alcohol. This got the paint and old shellac off.

Then the cracked panes of glass had to be carefully tapped out of the frames of the windows. (I used an old towel over the glass to make sure chips didn't fly.) Using the Silent Paint Remover, I was able to soften the old caulk/glaze so that it easily peeled out of the frames.

I cleaned out the residue with some denatured alcohol and steel wool. It's important that anything touching the new glazing is clean so that it creates a tight seal.

This was the perfect time to attempt some of the minor gluing a loose runner with wood glue (held in place by a clamp and a scrap piece of wood)...

...and determine if some of the larger fixes were worth attempting. That piece of wood with integrity issues? Turns out there was a substantial amount of wood rot that entered the wood through the rotted mullion. I dug out the rotted wood to determine the extent of the damage. It was pretty extensive, so we'll probably have to replace this mullion and bottom rail.

I used Abatron epoxy to repair some smaller cracks and pitting that didn't expose wood rot. (We'll do a review of this's great stuff.)

Then I was able to sand it down smooth to the good wood. After that, I primed the exterior surfaces to prepare it for a future painting.

Then, if was off to get some glass from the local Ace Hardware! Part 2 soon...

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I'm at the point right now trying to decide weather or not I want to tackle restoring our old wood windows or not. Thanks for posting the details of your project!

You can also use a blow drier to soften old putty & caulk....POPS"30"

Your windows look to be in the same condition as some of mine. It's reasuring (and extremely helpful) to see this step-by-step restoration. Thanks!

Wow- a lot of work, but definitely worth the end product. Way to go!

Are you going to be warm enough there without double glazing though? This was the reason we replaced ours, (exact replicas mind you $$$!) and we only live in the Alps, not Chicago! Brrrrrr.

Btw, great step-by-step for restoration, thanks. I love the windows. I'm becoming a huge bungalow fan thanks to you guys.

Recently bought an Italiate built in 1875 and started to strip the peeling paint off the windows and discovered beautiful wood which was originally stained! I am currently using a gel stripper and researching the Silent Paint Remover and discovered your site. Thanks so much for all your information, it has been a delight to read. I do have a question maybe you can answer. The top sash of the windows is fixed and I would prefer not to remove the stops and all to take it out to strip the paint and reglaze. Can this work be done with out removing the window and still use the SPR? I am also removing the paint from the window trim. Same question can it be done with out removing the trim? How is the wall protected if the trim is not removed?

Elizabeth-- Congratulations on your Italianate. Hmmm. I can recommend that you take a look at Working Windows, the classic book by Terrance Meany.

We used the Silent Paint Remover to remove paint for trim still on the wall, so protecting the wall has never been a problem. But maybe someone else can share their technique here?

Thanks so much for recommending my book, Working Windows: A Guide to the Repair and Restoration of Wood Windows (Lyons Press). The second edition is now out, adding 100 pages plus more illustrations and resources. I think you and your readers will like it.

Thanks again.

Terry Meany

Thanks for a very interesting and useful blog. I'm in the middle of restoring a houseful of windows. When I need to replace a broken pane, I stop by one of Seattle's used building materials stores (Re-Store in Ballard is my favorite). That way I can replace the broken pane with wavy glass that doesn't look like it came from Home Despot. They price used sash by the pane, so a huge window with a single pane is $4, but a small window with 8 panes is $32. Also, once you scavenge the glass, you can cut the old sash into new parting bead stock to replace all of the pieces that inevitably break in the course of removing the old sash.


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