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Tips, Techniques & Resources for Wood Window Restoration
Nov 2009  

Double Hung Windows

Most double hung windows prior to 1950 used sash weights, sash cord and pulleys to create what many believe is the best sash balance system ever invented. The origin traces back to England and France in the 18th century. By late 1800s they became standard in most windows in America. Their beauty is in the simplicity of design and ease of repair. 

  In the last several months I have had a number of inquiries about replacing the rope and pulley with a jamb liner (ugh) or some other balance type due to concerns about air intrusion in the weight pocket or pulley. 

   While the weight pocket is not insulated, it should be dead air space which in itself has some insulating value. If the exterior trim is sealed there shoud not be drafts from the weight pockets. The amount of uninsulated space compared to the many other sources of cold air intrusion such as outlets, doors, floors and trim is minimal. My advice is to renew the sash ropes, lube the pulleys and weather strip your sash.  

While jamb liners will cover the pulley pulley opening, you now have a piece of plastic with some springs and clips that are sure to break in the future. Jamb liners are not attractive and do not work nearly as well as the original rope and pulley system. 

Weatherize or Winterize... Whatever term you use, it is worth doing. Weather stripping your wood windows will save heating money, make your home more comfortable and your windows will work smoother. Most windows can use spring bronze on the jambs and a silicon bulb seal on the bottom of the lower sash and top of the upper sash. That leaves the meeting rail. Remove any paint gubers and other obstacles that will keep the rails from meeting properly. If the meeting rail will accomodate, make sure there is a good quality sash lock properly installed to bring the meeting rail together and keep the sashes firmly in place. 
Want to keep working on your windows this winter? Make the equivalent of an interior storm window and insert in place of the window sash. This assumes that you have an exterior storm in place. Can be just a light wood frame from covered with shrink film, clear vinyl or translucent polyethylene. It will likely be just as good as if your window sash were still installed. In many cases, better. 


Storm Windows

Whether you install traditional style wood storms or quality modern storm windows, all windows can benefit from storm windows. 

Improve the performance of your windows with a minimum of expense? Consider installing an interior storm. Here are some examples that you can make yourself for a small investment.

Tip: Check your exterior storm windows to be sure they are sealed around the casing but be sure to leave a couple of small holes known as weep holes at the bottom of the storm. Should be visible from the inside. This is to allow moisture to escape and a bit of air to circulate.

If you have traditional wooden storms, don't seal the bottom of the storms if they sit on the sill. This will allow that little bit of circulation to prevent moisture problems.

If you have a restoration story you would like to share, we would love to publish in one of the newsletters.

One of this years projects.. 

The Goyette building, once a mill and now a residence. It began life in the 1800's as a furniture factory, was also a mill that made underwear, a basket factory that became the Peterborough Basket Co, the Goyette museum and world headquarters for Save the Earth. It is being restored and updated by it's current owners and occupants. While only six lites in a window, each sash is 50w x 87h. See how we got them out. Flickr photo set

  Olde Window Restorers


Water Based Glazing Compound

Aqua Glaze acrylic glazing compound:
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  • No solvents
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Olde Window Restorers
PO Box 542
Weare, New Hampshire 03281

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