How To: Repair Old Wood Windows

Old windowsThis resource page is full of info about restoring old windows. You can find tools and supplies related to the repair and care of historic windows like glazing putty, sash rope, epoxy and more at the bottom of the page.

Your home’s old wood windows are some of the most valuable yet misunderstood elements of a historic house. Most people find them painted shut with sash cords cut and with missing bits and pieces of hardware. That’s the time they usually opt to start over with replacement windows.

Reasons people choose to replace old windows:

  • Inoperable windows
  • Leaky and energy-inefficient windows
  • Chipping lead paint worries
  • Aggressive marketing from window companies


Every one of these problems can be addressed and these windows can be brought back up to REAL efficiency and functionality.

The Facts About Historic Windows

1. Repairable – Historic wood windows are designed to be easy to repair. Unlike replacement windows where the whole window unit must often be replaced or factory repaired if an issue arises, historic windows can be repaired piecemeal. Each individual piece can be repaired, restored or replaced quite simply by the homeowner or local tradesman.

2. Upgradable – Your old windows may or may not have weatherstripping, but if they don’t you can easily add it and dramatically increase their efficiency.

3. Simple to Maintain – Keep your old windows painted. That’s it! With some paint every decade or so you can keep them protected and safe for a long, long time.

4. Resilient – Being made from old-growth lumber these windows (when properly maintained) ca last for several centuries unlike replacement windows today which are obsolete within just a few years.

Now that you know the facts you’ll want to know the how and what of repairing these old windows. So below I have included links to posts that detail exactly how to restore and care for these windows. I’ve also included links to where you can find the proper tools and products to use in the restoration process.

Some of these are affiliate links, which means I get a small commission (at not extra cost to you) if you decide to buy one of them. However, I WILL NOT link to anything that I do not personally use and recommend. Everything here is something we use at Austin Home Restorations almost every week while restoring and rehabbing old windows.

old-windows-made-easy-3D-coverOld Windows Made Easy

First things first, if you want a comprehensive guide for the restoration of your wood windows you need to get your copy of my book Old Windows Made Easy. This book is the absolute simplest way to restore your wood windows. In this guide I walk you through the entire restoration process step-by-step so as to leave no stone unturned.

This book will save you hours and hours of working time and thousands of dollars in restoration costs. You can learn more about the book here  or  order your copy now!


The Techniques


Old Window Tools & Supplies

Sarco Multi-Glaze GallonSarco MultiGlaze Putty

My favorite putty for wood sash. Fast skinning and ready for paint within 1 week. This linseed oil based glazing putty is for in shop glazing only.



Sarco Dual Glaze GallonSarco DualGlaze Putty

A slow curing (2-3 weeks) glazing putty ideal for on-site repairs and steel or wood sash. Immense flexibility and long life is the name of the game for this linseed oil-based glazing putty.


Abatron Wood EpoxAbatron Wood Epoxy

My favorite and still undefeated champion of epoxies in my honest opinion. This easy to use wood epoxy is great for making almost any kind of repair to wood windows. From minor filling of rot to complete reconstruction of profiles this combination of epoxy filler and consolidant does it all with style.



samson spot cordSamson Sash Rope

Sampson #8 Spot Cord is the ideal sash rope for wood windows. Able to support up to 150 lbs it will support any size window and that’s why it has been the industry standard for over 100 years.


Spring Bronze

1 1/4″ Spring Bronze

Spring bronze is a very long lasting and effective weatherstripping for windows and doors.Installation requires only moderate DIY skills and can be learned in some of the tutorials above. 1 1/4″ bronze is the perfect for just about any window between 1 1/4″ and 1 3/4″ thick which covers almost all residential and most commercial windows.



bronze nails

3/4″ Solid Bronze Nails

You’ll need bronze nails to install your spring bronze. This 350 count package will nail up 50 feet of spring bronze if spaced at 1 3/4″ as recommended. The use of bronze nails is important to avoid galvanic corrosion that occurs between dissimilar metals.




ProScraper Vacuum Scraper

How do you keep lead paint chips and dust from causing a health hazard while you work on your windows? Attach a ProScraper to your HEPA vac to keep things safe and clean.


scraper bladesReplacement Scraper Blades

Even carbide blades wear out eventually and the ProScraper is no exception. Replace your worn out originals with these 2″ carbide replacement blades to keep your paint stripping projects moving along.


Window ZipperWindow Zipper

An easy to use tool great for cutting sashes free from years of built up paint and caulk to get them working again. It’s serrated edges provide a great cutting edge that helps keep other surfaces free of damage.


glazier's toolGlazier’s Tool

With 2 sides this glazier’s tool can be useful for those learning to glaze. I use only the beveled edge after years, which I find has the perfect bevel for glazing my windows.



For paint stripping infrared heat is a great way to get the paint off without damaging the surface beneath. Lose decades of old paint easily in minutes with this tool and keep yourself safe from lead paint by eliminating dust.


Triangle glazing pointsTriangle Glazing Points

Simple to use and provides great hold for glass in wood sash. This style works great with the Fletcher glazing point setting tool below. For simple hand setting of points this is the best choice.



Fletcher Glazing Point ToolGlazing Point Setting Tool

Point driving guns can be expensive but with this easy hand tool you can set multiple styles of glazing points with one affordable tool. Sure it might take a little longer than a gun, but it gets the job done all the same.


  1. Hi Scott, I am working on a rental property to get it ready for sale. I’ve had several contractors and handymen work on several repairs around the house in the past, and have been very disappointed. My 6 panel wood pane windows need serious attention. I thought I would have to purchase new vinyl windows because I had never tackled re-glazing, repairing or reinstalling windows. Your blog has made me feel confident that I can tackle this aspect with success, and I am eager to get started. I appreciate the details of your info share. (will definitely order your book, glad I happened onto your site!) Thanks you.

  2. mariamthomas on said:

    Thanks for sharing these interesting ideas to repair old wood windows. Windows and doors should modernize according to time change because old doors and windows reflect the identity and lifestyle.
    I also would like to share some ideas regarding window and doors maintenance:

  3. Emily on said:

    Does your book “Old Windows Made Easy” include information specifically on replacing the spring bronze weather stripping on French style windows? I have been looking for resources specifically on that without much luck. Thanks!

    • Emily, it’s not in the book, but I have some posts available on the website if you do a quick search for spring bronze.

  4. S Roland on said:

    We have a 1948 Ranch style home. A few of the double-hung wood windows are out of square. Can’t properly lock them because they won’t match up. Any suggestions on how to correct this problem? They have been this way for over 40yrs. I really don’t want to have to replace them with newer windows. Thank you.

    • Roland, when I see out of line Windows it usually means the house has settled or the windows were not entirely closed when some painter caulked them up and painted. Either way they can be fixed by either clearing out the excess paint and caulk that is keeping them out of square or by removing the sashes and planing them down a little to accommodate the out of square house.

  5. Mike in Philly on said:

    About the glass,
    we have some panes with old “wavy” glass that are cracked, sometimes the crack ends blindly in the middle of the glass and sometimes from edge to edge making 2 separate pieces.
    In a previous lifetime in the chem lab I/we would repair cracked pyrex by heating it up at the point of the crack and “refusing” the glass.
    Can that be done with window glass and a hand torch? Any other suggestions on using glue or sealant to salvage? Obviously other options are to replace with current glass or find “wavy” glass from an architectural salvage place, but I would hate to pay for a 2×3 ft piece of wavy glass because of a crack in the corner… (multiple times)

    • Never tried it but that would be interesting.

    • Mark in Boston on said:

      Temperature to melt glass would probably burn up the sash, and crack the pane, because of non-uniform temperature dispersion on the pane itself. Also, Pyrex is a different type of glass than standard window pane glass.

      • Mike in Philly on said:

        Thanks, Mark
        That was pretty much what I came to think after some reading on the Web, that most glass would need to be heated uniformly in an oven to do it,
        and that my experience with Pyrex was not the norm, it having specific properties,
        but thanks again.
        And while a little pricey, getting some wavy glass from local salvage stores would be a lot simpler.

  6. Travis on said:

    I just purchased a 1920 Colonial 3 bedroom in East Rutherford, NJ. I have all wood windows and the insides were never painted. I am about to start my window renovation and read your book Old Windows Made Easy. It says to paint both exterior and interior after sanding and to lap the glass which I understand. But what if I want to keep my interiors unpainted and stain instead? Do I lap the glass with the shellac or some other finish? Or is it okay not to? Thanks

    • If you are doing shellac on the interior then yes lap the shellac just a 1/16″ onto the glass. It’s all about sealing the putty.

  7. Jamie on said:

    Hello all-I want to putty my windows and am having a hard time deciding how to go about it. I have some Sarco Dual Glaze so I have options as far as doing it in situ or taking the sashes out and laying them flat. I did a little last fall just leaving them in place and it went okay but since I’m just learning how to putty windows it doesn’t look great. No big deal there….I would really like to do more of a full resto but that’s another discussion. I guess what I’m wondering about is this-what do people who are working on their windows in a house in which they are living do when they take out the windows to keep out the elements? Use plywood to cover the openings or what? And as a complete novice at this is it really going to make that much difference for me if I take them out to putty? It sure seems like it would be easier, plus I would like to strip the old paint down and really do it right. That’s not to mention what I would like to work on from the inside (we are talking about casement windows here, so the crank mechanisms, etc). Any ideas for me?

    • Mike in Philly on said:

      Yes, people can use plywood, I use “carriage bolts” going through the plywood on the outside, with the washer and nut on the inside through a piece of wood straddling the frame.

      Daughter with the fine motor skills is doing the glazing on the project. We have many “windows” that are part of a French-window style “gardenroom/conservatory” that don’t come out unless one wants to cut through framing nails, etc. She spent time practicing on an old window that we hung vertically, in preparation of the task itself.
      YouTube instructional videos by this guy Scott Sidler and his team were very helpful.

      • Jamie on said:

        Thanks Mike. Yeah, I also “practiced” a bit myself last fall. I used my back storm door for my practice windows. It was a little disheartening that it looks better than the subsequent windows I worked on but, oh well. I did the bottom part of the sashes on a few of our windows to get a feel for it as well as try to prevent the condensation buildup we see in the winter.
        BTW- who is this Scott Sidler guy you speak of haha?

  8. Mike in Philly on said:

    Has anyone seen glazing compound “pre-formed”, like rope caulk? Either flat for bedding, and /or angled? I’m sorry, but while I am happy to strip down windows and trim for restoration, I lose too much time and patience trying to make the glazing live up to the work involved in restoring the window,
    especially with “French-style” panels that are difficult to remove and have a pro do it.
    I may just have to find a pro to come out and do them in mass after I have prepared them.

    • Mike, I’ve seen a product out there with preformed foam to look like putty, but I didn’t believe it would actually last. If the putty drives you nuts then bringing them to a glazier might be a good way to go. The price wouldn’t likely be too much for just glazing and I know there are some folks locally to you in Philly.

      • Mike in Philly on said:

        Can you give me specific recommendations on who to contact?
        Do you still do “virtual consultations”, and if so, what is the rate/procedure?
        Thanks as always

  9. Jenny on said:

    I have an old window I want to use as a picture frame. We took all of the original glass out of it since the putty was dried and crumbling. Now I want to put them back in but I’m not sure what to use. The point things that hold them in are still there, but I’m pretty sure they won’t hold the glass securely. I would appreciate any ideas. Thanks!

    • Jenny, remove the old points and set the new glass in place then install new points. Use at least 1 on each side and 1 for every extra 12″ of length along the glass. They’ll hold just fine!

      • Likely, the old paint on that sash has toxic lead in it. Either remove it safely and contain all the dust or shavings or coat it thoroughly with a clear coating.

    • Likely, the old paint on that sash has toxic lead in it. Either remove it safely and contain all the dust or shavings or coat it thoroughly with a clear coating.

  10. Mike in Philly on said:

    We have a room off of the living room that is french door style windows (1895 Queen Anne), in groupings of 4 panels. The 2 center panels have visible latches and hinges, then on either side is a panel that looks like it is intended to be removed from the frame as well. (there is what looks like a space between the outside edge of the sash and the interior of the frame.) Is this just the way it was constructed? were they meant to be replaced with panels with screens in the summer? they were not functional when we bought the house, now that we are redoing them, I’m wondering if we should “leave them painted shut” or open them and rehab the working edges as well. (No, I don’t have $$ for a pro and have too much work still to do on the house for unnecessary unforeseen [mis]adventures…)
    I have pictures

  11. Hi Scott. I have bought a 1942 house and I love the large windows. The problem is I know nothing about windows and everyone wants me to replace them. These windows had pulleys attached with string to hold them up. Really strange because I don’t think they have a sash or the part that windows fit in to go up and down, just wood. Can they be repaired? Or should I replace?

    • Also better to restore original windows. They last longer and can be made to be just as energy efficient as new windows. Not to mention they look a hundred times better.

  12. Michelle on said:

    I have restored about 20 Windows and a million to go. I have your book and it is a great resource. A new problem I have not seen. The paint on some of the glazing seems to be bubbling up or wrinkling up.
    I prime the window with oil and my second coat is a latex exterior paint-good quality. I do not prime the glazing just paint two coats with latex. I am seeing the bubbling early-like at 4-6 weeks.
    The glazing is M type as you recc. I had been using dual glaze but switched to M type recently.
    The glaze was painted at little bit over 2 weeks and I thought was skinned over well.
    I do remove the paint on my Windows with a steam box. Is this a moisture issue.
    let me know your thoughts when you get time.

    • Michelle, there are a few reasons you may get the bubbling or wrinkling paint on top of putty.
      1) The skin on the putty may not be significant enough yet for paint. Solution: Wait a little longer before painting.
      2) The paint may have been subject to stressed while drying like rain or dew, direct sunlight, etc. Solution: Paint out of direct sunlight and when protected from rain for at least 24 hrs if possible.
      3. Not enough time between coats of paint. Solution: Make sure you wait the manufacturer’s recommended time before applying a second coat not just until it’s dry to the touch.
      Despite this I have had it happen occasionally and it usually lays back down properly in a little time. If it starts to peel then you may need to re paint though. Hope that helps!

      • Michelle on said:

        You are great
        Thank you

  13. tish on said:

    the double hung windows in a 1955 house, are not weighted nor sash cords. Instead the jam is metal sliding up and down and has screw in jam. which I will assume is a tension screw??
    can not open windows, some I open and will not stay up??

    • Tish, likely the balance system is something call an “invisible sash balance”. Replacements are still available today from Strybuc. They are pretty difficult to work with but can be restored to operability with some patience.

      • Michelle on said:

        Does your ebook include instructions on working with the metal jambs? I like doing things myself and enjoy new projects but have no experience in working with windows. Our son recently purchased a small 1950s home and I would like to try to repair/restore the windows but am starting from ground zero in terms of both assessing whether is it feasible and whether/how I can actually do it successfully. The jamb is definitely metal because it is the first time I’ve seen that with wood windows


        • It does, but I believe Dave Bowers at Olde Window Restorer has some videos on the topic that might help. We run into so little I haven’t thought to include it, but I might add a post on it soon to see if I can help.

          • Michelle on said:

            Thanks! I will check it out.

  14. Brandon on said:

    Hey Scott, thanks again for all the great info on your site and in you book. It’s been invaluable in the process of restoring 26 100 year old windows at my place. I recently opened up another bank of 3 windows on the back of the house and found that the middle set of sashes have no pulleys or cords. I guess these are single hung? (Not “hung” at all really) The upper sash was secured in place with two large nails driven into the jam. It looks like they were bent over and then the sash was forced past them. The sash would then have stayed put due to friction against the nails and a solid paint seal. I don’t need for this sash to be operable, but can you recommend a more elegant solution for fixing it in place now that it’s all prettied up again? Thanks!

  15. Paul on said:

    Do you have a source for treated lumber suitable for making replacement sash?

    • Check out Accoya. My favorite! Not sure who the dealer is in your area.

  16. stephen hester on said:

    I live in a house that was built in the mid 20’s.I recently got one of the windows replaced by northtech( with a vinyl window and now the window is leaking.I checked the window and its mullion was open.What do I do to fix this problem?

    • Hard to tell, but it doesn’t surprise me that a vinyl window is leaking. Check with the installer and have them come back out to fix the problem. If they are a reputable company they should stand by their product.

  17. Paul on said:

    Does anyone have any tips on repairing/restoring 1930s era Casement Window SCREENS ?

    • What kind of problems are you having with the screens Paul?

  18. Nancy on said:

    One more thing: For the inside… I didn’t wait as long for them to dry, I didn’t have drapes etc to worry about.

  19. Nancy on said:

    Hi Paul,
    I stripped all the old finish & paint, then sanded, tack cloth-blue shop towels with turpentine (Be careful to air out and not create a fire hazard! I was dedicated not using anything that would build up where wood touches wood ensuring easy sliding windows. I also like to use natures own products! On the inside surface: yes it was bare wood. I played with 1. applying stain first and the wood preservative. 2. (WP) 1st stain next, what I settled on was #3. wild mix of the two multiple applications. There is SO MUCH turpentine that there is very little residue on the surface. I admit… this was an experiment with a learning curve. I would suggest you search out a local old time woodworker…. or experiment for yourself before you use it on the final product (I didn’t because I just like natural wood and anything would have been better than all those layers of paint) Please track down BIRC – biointregal resource center for their WP recipe. If you can’t find it I will track it down. If I remember correctly I melted 1 oz paraffin (found it at Michaels craft supply), and whipped it into about 3 cups of turpentine with a paint stir attachment on my drill, then mixed in 1 cup of linseed oil. It helped using it when the ambient temperature was between 80 & 90… or I found I needed to reheat the old mix. (they recommend a double boiler – I did it outside in the dirt & did have a little flame once! Never leave it on the stove!!!) Really, talk to the experts first. I really loved doing it. OH! In the BIRC liturature they say dry 36 hours (I think) For the exterior of the windows that I was going to paint, I used the WP, let it dry a LONG time – week or so, then primed & painted. (I think oil based primer…. but again refer to BIRC.) ps: no affiliation! Best tip, allow for time and learning curve… and if you aren’t using any stain it makes it really stress free. IF you do end up with a residue of linseed oil on the surface wipe it off with cloth & turpentine before it dries. AND this isn’t the cheapest way to go… Just seems authentic and real to me, except I used an electric hot plate vs a wood fire! OH wear gloves! I found the heavy mil harbor freight box of 100 very useful! It penetrates and leaves a matte finish. Have fun. Glad you like the idea.

  20. Paul C on said:

    I picked up your book “Old Windows Made Easy” at one of the local “Sash Revival 2016” events and was hoping to use the information to restore the windows in our c.1890 house myself. Your book covers painting the sash, but what do we do if we want to keep the interior of the sash a natural wood instead of painted? Could you explain what all we need to do the the interior part of the sash in that case? We don’t just leave it bare sanded wood do we?

    • Glad you got a sash revival this year, Paul! There are a lot of finish options for the interior, you can stain and apply a spar urethane or go with a more traditional wax, boiled linseed oil, or shellac finish. Just depends what you are comfortable with applying as all are appropriate.

    • Nancy on said:

      Hi Paul C
      I just redid windows & wanted unpainted as well! I used an old woodworkers formula of turpentine with melted paraffin mixed in and then linseed oil whipped in. The recipe calls for lots of turpentine to act as a carrier. I did the runners (?) where the windows touch and the edges & inside face of the sashes. I added a touch of stain to match existing frame. LOVE how they turned out. Reference: Bio integral Research Least toxic pest management– I used the recipe in their booklet on termites & wood destroying organisms. PS good luck finding turpentine! AND, all our previous painters thought painting was a good idea !!! What a mess and frustrating to use. NOW it is like a luxurious vacation to open the windows!

      • Paul C on said:

        Nancy, thanks for sharing your experience. The turpentine-paraffin-linseed might be an option for me based on your reported success. Does it get applied to the bare wood only, or any other prep necessary? Is it easy to work with? Does it dry and leave a nice lasting finish by itself and is the drying time reasonable? Any other tricks or tips that you would recommend?

  21. Elaine on said:

    Hi Scott, we live in Portland OR and I’d like to try to restore functionality to some of our original windows. It’s not a very lux house originally and the windows all appear to be single hung wit the slanted block of wood affixed under the upper pane. Is there a way to make single hung windows double hung? The weather is getting hotter and hotter here so I’d love to use the passive ventilation.

    • Elaine, often they can be modified to be double hung with some work by a pro. It just depends a lot on how they constructed and installed originally.

  22. Christine on said:

    I have about 8 medium sized double hungs to repair and restore. One has a rotted side jamb in the middle — the end adjoining the sill appears to be sound wood. I haven’t identified the source yet (termites? Failed flashing?) but also am not sure how to tackle this repair. Will the entire window unit (jambs and sash) need to be removed or can it be repaired in place? Will a new piece need to be spliced in or would epoxy be adequate? In case it matters, this unit has an acme twin style balance system installed on the same side as the rot and it is in a bathroom (though not in tub area). Thanks for your great site!

  23. Sharon in Tennessee on said:

    My home was built in 1900 and the huge windows will not open. They have the counter weights cut, caulk in the track and multi layers of paint inside and out. I do not want replacement windows, just to get a couple of them open. Any suggestions?

  24. Emily Mullins on said:

    Very nice.

  25. VC on said:

    We have been offered windows from a home built in 1870. We want to repurpose them as artwork. If they test positive for lead paint, can we simply paint over the paint already on the windows? Is there any risk to exposure after repainting the windows?
    Thank you..VC

    • VC, as artwork the Windows have very little risk of any lead issues. Remove any loose chipping or peeing paint and then repainting will seal the lead paint in place underneath a safe coat of paint. You can also use polyurethane if you want to show the old patina instead of covering it with fresh paint.

      • VC on said:

        Thanks ever so much for your concise, and quick response. It is very much appreciated.

  26. Samantha on said:

    I have a 1925 Craftsman bungalow in Northern California and it has at least 2 window frames on the shady side of the house that are starting to rot. I’d love to think I could do the repairs myself, but I don’t have much faith in my handy skills. 🙂 I also live in a historic district, so rhey need to be made according to period and match the others on my house.

    Since I am going to be looking at hiring someone, I was wondering if there is anything in particular that I should ask or look for in a contractor. I want to make sure the new frames are made to match the style of the house and will also last the next 100 years.


  27. Kathy Green on said:

    Hi Scott,
    I live in a home built in 1929 with an addition that is 20 years old. The original windows are by far much nicer than the 20 year old windows. But most of old windows do not open. I do not have any maintenance history on them and am just assuming that most of them are just painted shut. There are 31 old windows and to take on the task of repairing that many windows fills daunting. I would love to keep the original windows and not replace them with new. Any advise? Kathy

    • Kathy, restoring your original is always the best way to go in my mind. Some people have the time and desire to do it themselves and if you’re one of those people then my book Old Windows Made Easy is the perfect thing to help you do it! If you want to hire someone to restore your windows that’s he easy way to go about it though it will cost more. You can find a restorer at

  28. That’s interesting that historic windows are designed to be repairable. I thought that they might be more difficult to repair because of their age. However, I’m sure that you would want to hire an experienced company to perform the repairs. That way you can keep the charm of your home’s look for years to come. Thanks for the post.

    • I know you’re a pro too Alex but that’s the great thing about historic Windows. Most repairs are simple enough homeowners can handle them and we can help them for the complicated stuff.

  29. Marcus on said:

    I was wondering if anyone has or had thoughts on how I could/should make my top sash stationary. I have 10 windows that all need to be redone. They all are double hung and 68″ tall windows. We never open the top sash and seems like a lot of work to rehang 10 additional sashes. 10 windows is going to be a lot of work already. Also seems like they would be much more air tight with the top sash sealed shut.
    Has anyone “locked” their top sash in place? What is the best way to do this?

    • Marcus, it’s often as easy as caulking the top sash in place and you’re done. If it is moving or has a tendency to slip downward then you can cut a piece of blocking (you can make it decorative or simple) to fit in the jamb below the top sash to hold it in place. This was often the design for single hung windows.

      • Marcus on said:

        Thank you!

        • martin on said:

          Personally, I’d never make a double hung window a single hung. The beauty of double hung windows is heat escapes through the top sash and cool air enters through the bottom sash.

  30. Annabel on said:

    A debt of gratitude is in order for sharing Catherine! I’ve officially hot my duplicate and it is a fabulous asset.

  31. Thomas on said:

    Repairing an old window can be easy in some situations, but not all the time. Beware of the glass and if you do want to fix it yourself you should make the environment as safe as possible. It is highly recommended that you call professional help and leave it to the expert to fix your windows when it comes to replacing the whole window or if it is a broken glass situation.

  32. If you want to repair and change, your old windows. SRS Hardware is one of best place for wooden window weights. Here you will find the best products at best price.

  33. angelo on said:

    Looks like you found an unfilled market niche. Get to work!

  34. Lorena on said:

    My wood window from 1970ish doesn’t align anymore to lock properly. Do I sand it down? There’s no debris in the crevices where it closes.

    • It’s hard to tell without seeing what the problem is.

    • willow on said:

      Lorena, sometimes the windows misalign due to settling of the house or frame. The gap above my upper sash was due to settling. The sashes are square. The frame itself was not. This was fixed easily by drilling new pilot holes for the old spring bolts (spring bolts are horizontal bolts drilled through either side of a sash pulled toward each other to allow movement of the sash; when released they hold the sash in place by allowing the bolts to rest in holes drilled into the frame.)

  35. Nancy on said:

    Hi Scott,
    I am in the process of reworking old wood double hung windows. So happy to find you. We have 3 kinds, spiral, weights, & duplex sash balances. Working on the duplex sash balance windows now. One of the larger windows was sagging, I purchased 8 # acme sash balances to match the original, the top still slid down a couple of inches. Then I tried 10#, the bottom sash raises up a few inches (vs staying where I leave it). The local ACE hardware expert gave me Adjustable sash balances to try. I am afraid of messing them up and don’t quite understand the instructions for releasing the tension. Do you have any handy hints? Should I just live with the 10# and shove down & lock the sash locks? or is there a way to use the #2 Adjustable sash balances to correct both sashes to stay where they are put!

    AND thank you for the reference to diamond glazing points… I have looked everywhere for months!
    Next will be working on the other two types. We even have some with the old wavy glass that never had the jambs clogged with paint! YUM
    One other question: for french windows I have seen exterior copper weatherstripping… but can’t find it to purchase. Do you have a source for it (S. California)

    • Nancy, for the spring bronze weatherstripping try

      As for the sash balances I haven’t messed with the duplex balances ever, though I have seen them before. The adjustable sash balances (tube or spiral) might work well to solve this problem. I would think that the replacement duplex balance should be able to be tuned to match the weight of the sash though. In the end it may be more trouble then it’s worth to switch everything out. If it was my house I would probably just leave the #10 balance in and push the sash down to latch it for now until I did a more thorough restoration of that window.

      • Nancy on said:

        Hi Scott,
        Thanks for your reply, I will check out Kilan for the weatherstripping, and when I get back to finishing the windows, I will let you know which way I went.
        Thanks again!

  36. Madeleine on said:

    Hi Scott, thank you for this wonderful resource! I have some original wood casement windows in my 1919 craftsman home that do not close all the way and stick, making for a breezy and chilly winter. Would you be willing to create a tutorial on how to fix windows and doors with sagging frames (I’m assuming that is the cause of my issue)? Is there a preferred method for planing down the window/door or frame? I don’t want to embark on this task while still so ill-informed, as I very much wish to preserve the original features of this home intact.

    Thank you again!

    • Madeline, thank you so much for the inspiration. You’re right that those kind of tutorials are definitely needed. I’m on it!

  37. Bryan on said:

    Scott, I have a c1800 Rhode Island home with single hung windows, the house is plank on frame construction and no room for window weights. What hardware could I use to keep the windows open besides a stick?

  38. Robert Warner on said:

    The jamb liners in my old wooden windows (custom built in the mid-1970’s)are metal. There are no springs or pulleys employed to hold the double hung windows up (only friction does the job). I need to rebuild these windows because of exterior rot to the frames and sills. I have a pair of spare sashes. I would like to pre-build each window (one at a time as I go)so that I don’t have to temporarily cover each window with unsightly plywood, etc. So I need to find a source of double hung metal jamb liner (friction only) so that I can always be one window ahead. Do you know of any sources?

  39. julie on said:

    my contractor said he could restore my old wood windows. He led. Now they are worse. ALL of them leak water- some are so bad we have to mop it up when it rains and the sheetrock is mildewing. No drip edges on some, some sashes installed UPSIDE DOWN,improper window sills on some, buckets of caulk used-no real glazing, stops off, rattling, improper priming of stripped windows, the list goes on. Quoted $2700 a window to repair by local company. No way with 12 windows can that happen. And when I speak to places after researching windows, I quickly learn that they are NOT experts. Know anyone who does this work in New Orleans that you can recommend? Or you can have a house rent free for Mardi Gras that is 3/4 of a mile from the French Quarter for free in exchange for repairs! I mean it. For as many Mardi Gras as it takes! HELP! Julie

  40. Anna Muskey on said:

    I removed an aluminum bay window 50″ x54″ to clean it and the one end of the glass slipped out of the frame. I found a place who will put it back in and repair the corner where it separated. How can I safely transport such a large piece of glass to avoid breaking it? It takes 2 people to carry it.It is 50 years old. Thank you

    • Anna, something that large will be tough unless you have a truck or large SUV you can lay it flat. It may be best to have friend help carry it as well. Bring a moving blanket to make sure it is padded during transport also.

  41. kim on said:

    P.S. Would it be okay to use door/window caulk (with or without silicone), putty, or epoxy to seal the aforementioned gaps? Thanks! Kim

  42. kim on said:

    Hi Scott, I have some multi light windows from 1922 that were poorly glazed, and as a result there are gaps between the glass and the mullions and rails inside. Condensation has caused some mildew in a few of them. I know the right thing to do would be to have a pro reglaze the panes, however most of the window is in really good shape, so I’m hoping you can advise on product to treat the mildew, and patch/seal the gaps to prevent further moisture intrusion. I don’t want to cause more harm than good. Thanks for your help! Kim

  43. PFraney on said:

    My home was hit by a tornado on Memorial Day. It was built in the 1900s. Some of my windows have rotten places and don’t close properly as well as 2 of my doors no longer closing properly. Looking for anyone in the Austin, TX area that works on old windows and doors. The only place I could find was Red River Restorations but he said he only does BIG JOBS. Any help in finding someone would be appreciated more than you can imagine. I’ve been dealing with all this for 5 months now with no end in site.

    • Actually, I usually take a trip to Dallas and Austin around the new year and one of my carpenters is moving to the Austin area in the next month or so. If you can wait and follow up with me after the first of December I may be able to have someone in your area who can help you get those windows and doors restored.

      • Renee on said:

        Inwouldmlike the contact information of the man who is moving to Austin, also.

  44. Eric Green on said:


    Two things. One, I’m not sure priming the area where the glazing sits will allow the window to be repaired in the future. Priming can dry out but leave the wood impenetrable. I believe soaking the mullion in boiled linseed oil might be a better method. Your thoughts please

    Can I use an exterior high-quality latex paint to cover the glazing? Thanks! I’ve always oil-primed then used oil top paint.

    • Eric, the best practice will likely depend on you climate. In Florida anytime we use oil based paints or boiled linseed oil outside we end up with mildew so I avoid it. And you can definitely use latex over top of the glazing putty.

  45. Mike on said:

    Hi Scott-
    We have 8/12 DL DH sash in our circa 1825 home. The 8/12 sash are thought to be circa 1900 replacements. The 8/12 arrangement is not customary for our region, so we are considering inverting the sash to be 12/8. To do so, we will have to adjust the parting bead on the meeting rail, which is doable. By inverting though, the upper sash will have an interior milled profile at the edge of the glass on all sides, including where the window lock would typically be placed. The flat interior surface where the locks would have been placed previously will now be oriented down beneath the top rail of the now bottom sash. We’re unlikely to install locks on the rail, so this change in the interior profiles is not an issue for that reason. But we’re wondering if it is a faux pas to do this. Any experiences along these lines, or do you know others who have done so? Thanks, Mike

    • Mike, I admire your zeal to get back to what may have been the original pattern for the windows. I would advise against it though. The main reason I wouldn’t do it is because there are too many alterations necessary and too many differences between how a bottom sash and top sash are built to make them work effectively or look just right. Little things like the perfectly matched meeting rail, the slightly larger and beveled bottom rail of the bottom sash and so many other little things. I think the 8/12 arrangement, though not original to the house, is still over 100 years old and a part of the home’s history. Who knows there may be a good reason or story behind the unique pattern!

  46. Ed on said:

    What about spring.My Windows mechanism is spring activated left and right, upper and lower sash. I can’t get them to Work after I remove for repair.

  47. Ed on said:

    In my case was removal of metal track.Once removed I was able to get the sash out and the springs found attached to the sash. The spring is a twisted metal bend inside a metal tubing allowing to move the window up and down .Everything else you describe is true ,people who own the house painted everything ,heavy paint coulnd’t move the windows. Thank you for support.

  48. Chris P. on said:

    Question about sash cord. Good sash cord is pricey, and wont last. Sash chain is very expensive, but will last. What alternatives have been used with success? I’m thinking along the lines of metal braided wire that you can buy by the foot (similar to bicycle brake cables). Aesthetics and problems with attaching the sash and weights aside, why not use this cheaper, long lasting alternative when replacing sash cord??


    • Chris, there are a couple options. You can buy the cheap sash cord at Ace Hardware (or similar) that will last about 15-20 years with moderate use. Or you can buy something like Samson Spot Cord (which is made for window sash) that will last 50-60 years with moderate use. Lastly, you can use chain which will last almost indefinitely if cared for. Personally, I prefer Samson because the price is not bad and it will last longer than I’ll be around (and I’m still relatively young!) I’d stick with the tried and true methods.

      • Marilyn on said:

        Sash pulleys that were made for rope, or cord have a radiused groove. The pulley wheels made for chain have a flat groove. To see what I mean, see photo
        Stick with quality rope, or replace the pulleys too.

  49. Stripping thick paint & glazing is easiest when sashes are removed & put on a table not hung in place. The Speedheater INFRARED (not uv) paint remover low heats them for easy scraping.

    • Angelo on said:

      Yes, infrared light is what you want. Uv paint strippers aren’t even a thing (besides the sun + time)

      Removing the sash is good advice. Do it from indoors. Just remove the stop (by careful prying) and you’re off to the races. I use a razor to cut along the edge of the stop because the thick layers of paint can hamper your prying.

  50. Historic wood windows are soooo pretty. They make you feel cozy. You feel like you live 50 years ago.I love them.Greetings!

  51. Ed on said:

    I start working to restore my windows, paint,reglazing,there are double hung, but I have encounter difficulty to remove any of the sashes.Fabricated by Rusco,Cleveland Ohio,Russell Co. Pat. 2262670.Is any way I can find out how to take it apart.?thank you.

    • Angelo on said:

      Most of the time the muntins are held together by the sash frame. Take the frame apart, and the muntins are just loose sticks. What are the frame joints like? Also, if there are just too many layers of paint, you might consider borrowing a uv stripper and going to town on the sash before disassembling it.

  52. Terry Love on said:

    Who can I find to repair leaking windows? Where do I start? The few folks I have called in the Nashville, TN area seem afraid to work on them. They are only 12 years old.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Terry Love

    • Terry, new windows are not always easy to repair in place. They are mostly designed to be installed and then replaced when something breaks or they wear out. If your windows are historic replicas then I might know someone otherwise probably calling the manufacturer is the best way to go.

  53. Mary on said:

    I have a sunroom with 7 large, old fashioned awning windows. Each window is almost 4 feet by 5 feet. Two of the windows have missing pieces that operate the windows. Is there a sight that show how to rebuild these?

  54. Brenda on said:

    Can I turn my mid century windows into tilt ins? There must be a way. Any ideas?

    • Probably a way but it may not be easy or feasible.

      • Ray on said:

        I do not personally know much about this company but they claim that they can make them tilt outs. I believe they will do anything from restore to pretty much do a Marvin tilt pac but using your old wood sash and replace the weight/pulley with vinyl side liners.

  55. kim on said:

    Thanks Scott. Do you think the Abatron would be able to take the place of an entire bottom exterior corner of window, or would the only way to fix that properly be to splice in wood. I can’t find anyone in my area willing to take that on a repair. Do you know of anyone in the SF bay area that does that sort of work, as opposed to rebuilding entire new window? Seems new my only option unless you can suggest someone. Thanks! Kim

  56. kim on said:

    Hi Scott,

    Thanks for your speedy reply, and doing your part to help people like me! I found a local guy who wants to replace the dry rot with “Bondo” whatever that is. Another guy said as long as he uses “Smith’s 2 part epoxy” it may work. Do you think that could take the place of salvaged wood? Thanks again, Kim

    • Kim, Bondo on wood is never a good idea because it is not meant for that application (even a lot of carpenters use it). It will fail within just a few years. A 2 part epoxy meant for use on wood is a better plan. We use a product called Abatron WoodEpox but there are other brands like Smith’s that work just as well.

  57. kim bliss on said:

    Everyone I’ve talked to in my area who works on old wood windows is telling me that the dry rotted bottom rail of my multi-light sash window can’t be replaced, or that replacing is a bad idea because the new and old wood aren’t compatible. They all say it would be cheaper to rebuild a new window than try to fix the old one. What are your thoughts? I’ll try to send a photo.

    • Sometimes it is cheaper to build a replacement sash, but if preserving the window is your goal then I would repair it. Unless the sash has more than 40-50% of the wood that is beyond repair I usually try to save it. If you’re worried about new wood and old wood not blending then you can replace the damaged parts with salvaged wood.

  58. Troy Schmidt on said:

    hello my name is Troy Schmidt
    back in the fifties they need what they called a putty remover. it basically heated up the harden party on old windows and it becomes very pliable and removable.
    Anyways I’m here in San Diego and I’m trying to locate such an antique… Was wondering if you have any recommendations
    Thank you for your time
    TLC handyman service, Troy Schmidt

    • Troy, I haven’t seen one of these. We put sashes in a steam box in my shop to soften the putty. It works great. On site you can use a heat gun but be careful of temps above 900 F if there is lead paint.

    • Heat guns blow heat across the glass and create varying temperatures which often breaks glass. Plus high heat guns, which are the most common kind, operate at 1000 degrees F. and make toxic lead fumes from the old, lead paint on the window wood.A new technology of heating toot, the Speedheater Infrared (IR) Paint Remover is low, 400-600 degree F. which is evenly- distributed heat from two, long, IR 11″ bulbs. The even heat across the length of the IR bulbs greatly prevents glass from having different temperatures on it and thus reduces the risk of breaking the glass. The IR heat softens the putty in about 60 seconds and allows it to be scraped off easily.

  59. Correy Smith on said:

    Oh hey, that’s pretty neat to know how old wood windows can be repaired. How long would it take to do a window repair for those type of windows? This is something that I would be doing for a grandmother of mine who has several old windows to repair.

    • Correy, for a 1 over 1 window I would expect it to take 2 weekends for you first window. And then much faster as you get more comfortable it takes my team about 15 hrs per window to restore 2 sashes and the jamb and mechanics.

  60. Ray on said:

    Love your website and the useful information. I have a question I would like to get your thoughts. I have a couple of old windows in my garage that I want to close off for security and privacy reasons. I do not want to remove the frame, so I was thinking of rep,ace the glass storm windows with 3/4″ plywood. What would be the best way to install the plywood?

    • Ray cut the plywood to fit in the storm windows channels and screw it in from the outside using a security bit or at the least a combination of square drive and star drive screws to make it more difficult for any criminals.

      • Ray on said:

        Scott, thanks, I was wondering about caulking and should I put a drip edge on the top. The current storm windows are 3/4″ wood and fit completely within the window frame.

        • If it fits within the window frame it likely won’t need caulk, but watch and see to determine if your case is different.

  61. Randy Bradford on said:

    Fact number two is important to remember. My mother in law lives in a very old home and she is scared of replacing the windows because she thinks they cannot be upgraded. There are so many great glass repair companies around today that it would be easy for any of them to upgrade your old windows.

  62. Kathy McVicar on said:

    We are trying to repair sash cords in our home built in 1927. Windows are 6 over 1, weighted & pullies upper and lower. We popped The trim off and can access The weights through trap door.The problem we are running into is the Windows have interlocking metal channels that they ride in. We can’t figure out how to get the knotted end into window without destroying metal channel. Frustrating! Suggestions?

    • Kathy, the weatherstripping will have just a few nails holding it in place. Using a nail punch, punch the nail heads thru the metal which will free up the metal to be removed with the sash. Then when everything is reassembled you can add back a few small nails to hold it in place again.

  63. J Kolberg on said:

    Hello Scott
    We just purchased a 1736 house completely restored with all original lead glass windows, original shutters and siding.

    Where can we find an experienced historical contractor to help us restore the Windows? They are painted shut.

    Thank you.

  64. Kelly on said:

    I have a 1925 home in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. I’m looking for someone who can repair/restore several windows on my home. Can you provide any suggestions?

  65. Robin Newman on said:

    Hi Scott,

    We just purchased an 1890 Victorian and would like to keep the original windows. Do you know a window specialist in West Chester, PA – 19380 zip code?

  66. Angelo on said:

    The Los angeles office of historic resources sent me a list I’ll send you. It’s mostly large contractors who work on large masonry buildings and mansions. Those of us with little bungalows need to select from a better curated set of vendors.

    It turns out the studios (paramount and Fox) are a good resource for period wood work like cornices, moldings and casings. They have full featured workshops and exhaustive lists of categorized millwork profiles. I have talked to people who tell me they are about half the price of a normal millworks in this area, which I’m also told exist in Los Angeles but which I cannot find. I’ll update here as I find out. Or perhaps there should be another topic opened up for fabricating windows from scratch since so many people need to do that, and all this talk about how important it is to keep your windows at all costs is just so discouraging to those of us who have already lost our windows.

    Tags: Los angeles, Southern California, historic window builders.

    There are a lot of windows that need replacing in Los Angeles. The aluminum sliders that were installed in the 1970s and 80s have not worked for most of their lives. The newer double pane replacements from the 90s and 2000s are already seizing up due to settling. The last place I lived (a 1913 bungalow) had them and most of the widows were already near impossible to open, as was the Home Depot front door. The landlord himself told me it was settling.

    If you are are a homeowner who wants to restore a typical Los Angeles bungalow that has already lost its windows and been stuccoed over, don’t lose hope. The best path is still restoration. Don’t give up. Focus on the facade first. Windows may not be the cheapest place to start, but we are starting to with them because they have the largest impact on the interior and exterior appearance.

    A source in the City of Los Angeles Office of Historic Resources told me realtors call and ask him which properties already have mills act contracts because that is used as a selling point (due to the tax advantage) Two realtors already confirmed that every dollar spent on careful, well-placed historic restoration can easily net five times that in the market.

  67. Angelo on said:

    Scott, we have a 1906 craftsman in Los Angeles, CA that needs lots of work. We need to have windows made. Do you know of anyone in our area?

    • I don’t know of anyone in that area, but I’m currently searching for quality craftsman in S. California so let me know if you find someone you like.

      • Lucas on said:

        Hi Scott,

        I’m totally stuck. My double hung are setup on a shared weight system, one concrete slab with a pully on top on either side of the frame. I can’t seem to find any littiture on the subject and can’t move forward on my 27 window project. Can you offer any direction?

        Thank you,


        • Lucas, there are some very unique pulley systems out there. If you can send me a picture and I will see if I can give you any guidance.

    • Jade Kenneth on said:

      We are a company that restores and repairs historic windows in the Los Angeles and Los Alamitos area. I’ll refer you to Scott, he’s awesome! 562.493.1590 or
      Our goal is always to preserve the historical integrity of the home.

  68. Beth on said:

    I have a 1910 Shaker style house in Minneapolis, MN. The windows are in fantastic shape. The all function smoothly, both top and bottom, and the interior side is not painted. However, the exterior paint is in horrible shape (blistering) and is lead paint. What are your opinions on paint removal/abatement vs painting over? Do you know of any restoration contractors in the area? Everyone I’ve talked to wants to replace them entirely (no!) or refuses to bid a removal/repair. If I paint, I’m nervous that the layers of the encapsulant and paint will limit the movement of the windows. Also, simply repainting doesn’t remove the potential for generating lead dust when the windows slide up and down. Any input would be appreciated. I love my windows and want to do the right repair.

    • Try Borden Windows or Restoration Window Systems both of which are in St. Paul.

    • Mike in Philly on said:

      You might also try:

      Years ago I ran across Roger’s website and he was kind enough to give me some advice, as he specializes in doing old house repaints, stripping down to the bare wood, and guarantees his work for 20 years. In doing my Queen Anne with areas impossible to reach and old cedar shingle, I wanted my paint job to last as long as possible.
      I would love to send him some business. If you contact him, tell him “some guy in philly you gave advice to by email told me about you”.

    • Mike in Philly on said:

      You might also try:

      Years ago I ran across Roger’s website and he was kind enough to give me some advice, as he specializes in doing old house repaints, stripping down to the bare wood, and guarantees his work for 20 years. In doing my Queen Anne with areas impossible to reach and old cedar shingle, I wanted my paint job to last as long as possible.
      I would love to send him some business. If you contact him, tell him “some guy in philly you gave advice to by email told me about you”.

  69. Mark on said:

    Hi There – I’m restoring a wood window, I’ve removed the rot from the corner, replaced with wood and will now cut a new mortise and tenon into the repaired portion.
    My first instinct is to use a really good waterproof glue to glue it all back together, but then I remembered that it seemed to be only nailed thru the joinery… Should I glue it or Pin it? If glue, do I go to a hide glue or a modern waterproof glue?

    • Mark, to repair a joint that is severely deteriorated it usually ends up that I put it together with epoxy and/or a dutchman that result in that joint not being able to be taken apart again in the future. It’s easier that way from a production stand point but if you have the time and desire to mill new parts precisely enough that the joinery can function again my hat’s off to you. If you do glue I would use a waterproof glue like Titebond III.

  70. Scott, you provide great advice and resources to support folks keeping not trashing their old windows. Keep it up.

  71. Robin Wright on said:

    We have a 1920s dutch colonial in Southeast Michigan and are in desperate need of window repair. Most of them do not stay up, many do not open, and all of them have sills that are rotten to some degree. All of our 28 windows have aluminum exterior storms/screens installed many years ago. We panic at the thought of undertaking this massive project on our own. Are there people out there–specifically in SE Michigan–who do this kind of work?

      • Hillary on said:

        Are you aware of any companies that do this work in mid-Michigan? Or should I contact the same Detroit company?

  72. Jan Scott on said:

    Have 1907 house in Des Moines Iowa and can’t find someone to rebuild. Do you have any names for Iowa?

    • Jan, The only name I know in Iowa is Iowa City Window & Door (319) 351-3513. If they can’t help you let me know and my company can ship you rebuilt window sashes if that’s what you need.

  73. Not too familiar with those, but likely the culprit is either a detached or broken spring tensioner on the top sash. You may be able to find replacement parts at Strybuc.

  74. Cliff Harmon on said:

    Scott, we are in a 1897 Victorian House in St Louis and love it. I’m working on windows myself and need to find a supply for curved glass windows. I have two that are cracked and I want to replace them myself. Anyone you know of in zipcode 63108?

  75. Connie Patterson on said:

    We are restoring all the widows in our 1887 Tudor. Sadly some of the widows could not be restored and made operable agin. For Texas folks…… John with Wood Solutions in Galveston Tx has made several new windows for us including 3’x4′ casement, a142″ jamb and lower sash for a 9′ walk thru window ……. The other more common size sashes we have found at GHF Warehouse ( Galveston Historical Foundation) which has hundreds of original sash windows usually costing about $20 -$ 40 a sash……….. Hope this help some

  76. Helen Armstrong on said:

    We have windows made by ROW, Rocky Mt. VA and installed circa 1950. The windows are in great shape with the exception that a few of the sash cups aka retainers have pulled through the aluminum ‘jamb liners’. We have been trying to located the aluminum cups to repair the jamb liners. Have tried numerous window parts suppliers and would appreciate suggestions on other suppliers; we are now considering have them made by a machine shop.

    • Helen, for mid century window parts try Strybuc or Robert Brooke & Associates.

  77. Dave D on said:

    ALso suggestions for sealing the wood between the panes which looks like it had a clear sealant of some sort.

  78. Dave D on said:

    I have 1956 Pella roll screens and casement windows. Most of the latching hardware will not latch and the windows need a lot of TLC and paint/sealant. They are the type with inside storm panes with aluminum frames and swing clips. The sashes are wood. I would like to rebuild them one at a time and clad the exterior in aluminum. There doesn’t seen to be any companies locally that clad. Any suggestions as to where to find replacement hardware and a copany that couold provide cladding for my install?

  79. Gaby on said:

    Hi Scott,

    Thanks for this. I just moved into the first floor of an 1899 townhouse in Greenwich Village in NYC. Do you know anyone in the NY area who can help fix my old wood casement windows?

  80. Mike in Philly on said:

    The third floor of 1 side of our home has a pair of mirrored casement windows opening outward, same size, both with a “sunrise” motif above them.
    The sash on one of them is a “Frankenstein”, composed of pieces of at least 2 other sashes (that are not identical) that have nothing in common with the matching/facing window/sash.
    So, I was on the hunt to get sash material to match the “good” window…
    then I realized that the other two windows do not match each other, nor do either of them match the other “good” one. And none of them have the original glass to suggest if any of them is original. So, I’m going to check out some architectural salvage places for hints some cold rainy day.
    FWIW, I did find a local lumber company in philly that will mill any trim or sash stock for you, if it is in their collection of knives (thousands) for a $75 set up fee plus (they can make a knife for extra).

    • Anna Vitak on said:

      Mike- Curious who you found in Philly that will mill the trim work. We had a fire in our old house and are trying to see if we can salvage some of the trim work. Thanks, anna

      • Mike in Philly on said:

        Sorry I didn’t see this earlier.
        Tague Lumber is who I was talking about. I haven’t used them, at least not yet, as I am still looking to salvage the small amounts I need while doing the other 35 thousand projects that need to be done…

  81. Marissa on said:

    Hi Scott,
    I’m tackling the restoration of my wood windows in my nearly 100 year old home. This past week-end was my first day/attempt and I’ve noticed my windows maybe not as old as I thought they were. They are all wood w/rope and pulley but the rope isn’t interwined into the wood frame of the window, it was notted and nailed into the side. I’m thinking there must of been a rehab done to my windows sometime in the 50’s maybe??? I know the back half of my house was an addition so I think maybe I still have some 100 year old windows somewhere in my house unless it was a complete renovation. Anyways my question is are these windows from mid-century (possibly) still worth saving??? I hate replacement windows but I’m a little bummed that my windows are not as old as originally thought.

  82. Heidi on said:

    Hi Scott! I’m buying a 1911 farmhouse in Ohio with a split personality…the interior looks beautiful and well-preserved, but outside all the windows were replaced with picture-framed vinyl windows in the not-too-distant past.
    I want to return my facade to its former glory, but I’m a little stumped…how do I know what that glory should look like? 2 over 1? 6 over 6? Is there a good way to find out?? I’ve got a picture of it on the front page of my site. Thank you!

    • Heidi, congrats on the big purchase! The best way to tell what your windows looked like is to find an old picture of the house (not always easy to do). The next best thing is to look at houses of similar age and style in your local area and see what their original windows looked like. Good luck!

      • Heidi on said:

        Thank you! And great news!! We found the ORIGINAL 1911 blueprints tucked in the drawer of the built-ins, and it shows the original windows as having been 6 over 1. So my next move is going to be to have these paper gems restored to the extent possible and preserved.

  83. Nikki on said:

    Hi…we had a fire in our 1890 Rhode Island home. It is a complete gut. All the windows were broken out and we are really having some problems restoring them. We were hoping to have someone build new sashes but having some difficulty finding someone that can do that work, and of course we have a limited budget….any suggestions? Many thanks, love your website!

    • Nikki, Not sure where you are in RI, but it’s not exactly a huge state. Try contacting Heritage Restoration (401) 789-9347 in Wakefield, RI or Highland Restoration (401) 742-1540 in West Kingston, RI. They should be able to take good care of you!

  84. WILMA on said:

    Are there restorers in the southern Virginia area for repairing window frames in a 112 year old home?

  85. Torrie on said:

    My husband and I are in the process of purchasing my aunts 117 year old victorian. Most of the windows are original except for 2. The curved glass in the turret is even still in tack. However, the windows need some care. Right now we are planning replacement, but I just read your blog and wonder if we should try to repair. I’m worried about lead paint and some of the tops are diamond pattern that is bowed out. I’ve found someone in our area to help with the curved glass windows, but he’s scheduling for a year out! Any thoughts you had would be welcomed. Thanks.

    • Torrie, Replacement windows are almost always a bad decision despite the incredible claims they make. The only situation where lead paint is an issue is if the paint is peeling or falling off and if you have children under 6 or are pregnant. If the paint is still in decent shape inside the house I would schedule the window restoration (even though it is a year out). They have lasted 117 years so they can probably make it 1 more. If the restoration company is scheduling that far out it usually means they are pretty darn good!
      You can always try the windows yourself. They are not too difficult once you get the hang of it. I’ve got plenty of tutorials here to help you along the way too.

  86. stephanie on said:

    hi! I just happened upon while asking about my thick walls and have a there a resource or even a market for taking out the newly(but still kinda old)replaced windows in my hundred plus year old house and replace them back with around the same originals? The several owners before me gutted my house of everything original even down to the doors and replaced them with hollow slabs so im trying to put things back into place a little at a time! thanks so much!

    • Stephanie, there is a market and many sources around the country like my company here in Orlando who build historic replacement windows that are made exactly the same way as the originals. It’s a worthwhile investment because of the longevity of the windows and the ability to restore the original appearance.

  87. Louisa on said:

    I have some old single hung wooden window. It can lift up but can’t stay so it close again. Is any one can help me to fix it. We are in Northern California bay area

  88. Mike in Philly on said:

    Some of our windows have problems not only with the windows, but with the framing being rotted away. There are places where there is some type of old metal weather-stripping that fits into groves in the side of the window that is flapping in the breeze with no wood behind it.
    Scott, does your ebook or the window standards book cover dealing with these kinds of problems as well?
    (I have more disposable time than disposable income to hire a pro!)

  89. The National Window Standards developed by a collaborative of over 100 people is now available to the public at It provides a list of tools needed, steps, and methods of evaluation for every part of restoring an old wood window. Check it out.

    • Thanks for sharing Catherine! I’ve already hot my copy and it is a fantastic resource.

  90. david ford on said:

    I had seen and purchased a replacement stop for old windows made from pvc with fibers on one side to block air and ease movement. I cant seem to find it anywhere now. Are you familiar with such a product and where it can be purchased? Thanks for any help.

    • I’m not familiar with that product, but there are plenty of weatherstripping options you can add to either the stop or the sash itself. Try for tons of weatherstrip options for old windows.

  91. Charles on said:

    I really like your videos. I was really nervous about doing my windows. I also found a cool set of 3 tools at for $99 which had a rolling chisel and a great round-pointed scraper. Both helped me clean off the heater-softened glazing and even paint carefully.

  92. LB on said:

    Hi Scott, we have a 1947 ranch home in San Diego, CA with a 5’x6′ wooden picture window that has the outer sill and framing rotted out from a combination of water and termites. We are looking for someone that can repair or help us repair the window. All the contractors that came over to do an estimate for the repair try to convince us to just replace it with a vinyl one. Know anyone who appreciates wooden windows in Southern California that we could call?

  93. Great resource page, Scott! Thanks for putting it all together for us!

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