Why Are There Double-Hung Windows?

double hung window

This week’s Ask The Craftsman question comes from Jeremy. “Why on earth are there DOUBLE hung windows? Everyone just raises the lower sash, but I have a hunch that there may be a reason.” Jeremy, great question and there is most definitely a reason! A single-hung window is one where the top sash is fixed and only the bottom sash will move up and down. While there are many of these around there are more double-hung windows in [...] Read on →

What Kind of Sash Rope Should I Use?

sash rope

This week’s Ask The Craftsman question comes from Jeremy. “What kind of rope should I use to restring my windows?” There are a lot of different kinds of rope on the market, but only certain types are appropriate for your old windows. The best kind of rope for double-hung windows is cotton braided rope. Hemp rope isn’t appropriate. Full synthetic ropes tend to stretch too much and I’ve also found that they slide in the pulley tracks in [...] Read on →

3 Reasons I Chose Indow Windows (and so should you!)

Indow Windows

You know that I’m not a big promoter of new products here, but every once in a while someone comes up with a product or technique that makes it easier and cheaper to save old houses. And when that happens I am all over it like white on rice! My company has recently become a dealer for Indow Windows. Why? Because they work! I have them in my own home and it is truly incredible how much of [...] Read on →

Replacement Windows: The Real Story

Replacement windows

If you own an old house you are the prime demographic for the replacement windows industry. They would love to convince you to remove all your home’s original windows and replace them with new energy efficient windows. I can hear them beginning to salivate right now. (I have excellent hearing) The replacement windows industry is out to sell a product and sell it often. I won’t hide my bias here. I am not a fan of replacement windows. [...] Read on →

Ask the Craftsman: Which Paint is Best For Wood Windows?

wood windows

This week’s question comes from Dave in Minneapolis, MN. Dave, before you paint anything I recommend priming your wood windows with a good oil-based primer. You can read more about primers here. Once you’ve primed you’re ready to pick a finish paint. Oil-based Paint Oil-based enamel is great for woodwork. It provides a hard finish that won’t cause your windows to stick like water-based paints have a tendency to do. The downside is that they tend to yellow [...] Read on →

How To Strip Paint (Part 3 Steam Heat)

how-to-strip-paint

This is the last post in our 3 part series on how to strip paint. In the first one I talked about working with chemical strippers and when and how to use them. Last week we delved into the world of elbow grease and talked about how to scrape like a pro. This week I want to talk about using heat to remove paint. Specifically, steam heat, but we’ll also discuss infrared strippers and good old-fashioned heat guns. [...] Read on →

How To Restore Steel Windows

Historic Steel Window

Historic steel windows are all across America. They became popular in big cities to combat the fires that were so common around the turn of the 20th century. Then from the 1930s until the 1950s they were a popular choice in residential housing due to the decreasing availability of quality lumber. Many steel windows sit and deteriorate across the country. While much attention has been paid to restoring traditional wood windows by preservationists, historic steel windows have fallen [...] Read on →

How To Weatherstrip Wood Windows

How to weatherstrip wood windows

There are a lot of different techniques to weatherstrip wood windows. Like anything, some are more effective than others. In this post I’ll show you how to install spring bronze weatherstripping on your old windows. Spring bronze is without a doubt my favorite type of weatherstripping for a few reasons: Very attractive and gains a nice patina as it ages Lasts well over 100 years when installed properly Very effective at air sealing Extremely adaptable to seal gaps [...] Read on →

3 Ways Storm Windows Can Save Your House

Storm Windows

Historic windows can be a real conundrum for some people. Sure they are a gorgeous part of every old house, but they can be a real energy waste if they haven’t been properly maintained and weatherstripped. But just because they aren’t energy-efficient now doesn’t mean they can never be efficient. If you have the means to restore your old wood windows you should definitely do it. You’ll regain their functionality and beauty in addition to really upping their [...] Read on →

Working Together: Preservationists Join Forces to Save a Landmark

Baker House

No matter how badly we want to save a particular historic building, there is only so much we can do alone. Our resources are limited. You only have so much time, money and expertise. After all, you’re only one person. But when you look at it through the lens of what what can be accomplished together things start to get really exciting. And that’s what’s about to happen in Wildwood, Florida this weekend. The Wildwood Historical Association was [...] Read on →

How To: Paint a Wood Window Sash

Old Window

After all the hard work is done restoring a wood window there is one final step, painting your window sash. Painting a window is by far the most important part of the process because it protects all the work underneath. It keeps sun, rain, dirt, insects, air and anything else from harming your window. Without paint, glazing putty is no good after only a couple months, the sun’s UV rays begin breaking down the wood fibers of the [...] Read on →

Dip Stripping Windows: Don’t Do It!

Dip stripped windows

One of my first large scale window restoration jobs was to fully restore all 38 sashes on a 1950s Colonial Revival. I had restored close to 100 old windows by the time this job came around and had gotten pretty good. My glazing putty had nice clean corners and I had developed a pretty good process with my small team. This job was a big one for us and it had a time crunch to boot. The thick [...] Read on →

How To: Install Spring Bronze Weatherstripping

Spring Bronze weatherstripping

To allay your concerns that old doors and old windows can’t be energy-efficient I wanted to make sure we covered how to install weatherstripping on these openings. Weatherstripping has changed a lot over the years. Today it is usually foam, vinyl, or felt peel and stick weatherstripping, but there is an old school way of weatherstripping that will last well over 100 years and be just as effective, if not more, than today’s methods. Spring bronze weatherstripping, while [...] Read on →

Transforming an Old Garage Into a Tiny House (Part 2)

15 lbs. felt paper installed and prepared for siding

Last week I showed you how we started transforming an old garage into a tiny guest house. This week I’ll tell you about some more of the details of getting this tiny house ready for visitors. This week’s post is a bit more building science as I share about sheathing, insulation and floors. Next week we’ll get into the interior details and finishing touches that make it really shine.   Sheathing & Felt Paper Once the new exterior [...] Read on →