How To: Repair Old Wood Windows

Historic Wood Window

Image Credit: Scott Sidler

This resource page is full of info about restoring old windows. You can find links to almost anything related to the repair and care of historic windows right here.

Your home’s old wooden 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

 If you’re thinking about replacing your windows know this important fact:

 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 weather stripping, 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) can be made to 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 Window 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 Old Windows Made Easy today. 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


More Research


The Tools

To purchase any of these tools visit The Craftsman Blog Store.


  1. 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?

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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?

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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?

  28. 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?

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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”.

  32. 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.

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

  34. 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?

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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?

  38. 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

  39. 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.

  40. Dave D on said:

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

  41. 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?

  42. 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?

  43. 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…

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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!

  47. WILMA on said:

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

  48. 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.

  49. 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.

  50. 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

  51. 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!)

  52. 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.

  53. 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.

  54. 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.

  55. 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?

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

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