fbpx bloglovinBloglovin iconCombined ShapeCreated with Sketch. Fill 1Created with Sketch. Fill 1Created with Sketch. Fill 1Created with Sketch. Fill 1Created with Sketch. Fill 1Created with Sketch. rssRSS iconsoundcloudSoundCloud iconFill 1Created with Sketch. Fill 1Created with Sketch. Fill 1Created with Sketch. Fill 1Created with Sketch. SearchCreated with Lunacy Search iconCreated with Sketch.

DIY Storm Window

DIY Storm Windows

Whenever the weather starts to turn cooler folks start thinking about storm windows. If you live in the northern part of the country storm windows are an important addition to any old house.

Wood storm windows fit perfectly with double-hung windows and blend in seamlessly with the historic character of your old home. There are modern aluminum alternatives with operable elements like the triple track storms that are so common, but none of them look quite as charming as traditional wood storms.

Not sure what kind of storm window you need or would work best for your house? Check out my in-depth post Guide to Storm Windows before making the decision and taking the plunge to build your own DIY storm window.

Traditional wood storm windows were made with mortise and tenon joinery, but you can also make a simplified DIY storm window with pocket-hole joinery and basic woodworking tools that I’ll teach you to make today. Watch the video tutorial below and follow these simple steps and you’ll be saving in no time!

For the best chance of success you can also download my DIY Storm Window Woodworking Plans to help you get all the right measurements and assemble your cut list. These plans lay everything out is a simple to follow format for anyone.

Here are the tools you’ll need:

  1. Table saw
  2. Circular saw or mitre saw
  3. Small router
  4. Tape measure
  5. Glass cutter
  6. Glazier’s Knife
  7. Chisel
  8. Kreg Pocket Hole Jig
  9. Drill/Driver

Step 1 Determine the Thickness

Storms were meant to fit on the outside of a double-hung window and rest up against the blind stop in the screen/storm rebate. They are usually between 3/4” and 1 1/8” thick depending on the thickness of your window’s exterior trim. The 3/4” version is extremely simple to make since you can use standard 1x material to make your DIY storm window.

For rebates thicker than 3/4″ you have three options I’ve listed below. You’ll have to choose one of them. All of them work equally well, it’s just up to you which one you prefer.

  1. Use a thicker stock wood to accommodate the size you need
  2. Fur out the blind stop a bit so as to leave 3/4” of an inch remaining
  3. Ad furring strips to the perimeter of your 3/4” screen to accommodate the extra thickness

Step 2 Measure the Opening

Measure the finished opening on the exterior trim of your window. You’ll need all the measurements below.

  1. Height
  2. Width
  3. Meeting Rail Height

Keep in mind that on an old house just because the height on the left side of the window is 60″ doesn’t mean the height on the right side will be the same. Take a few measurements across the window to make sure you account for out of square windows on all our measurements.

After you have your measurements you’ll want to subtract 1/4″ from the outer dimensions to give the storm the necessary tolerances to fit. For example, if your window measures 32″ x 60″ you want to make your finished storm 31 3/4″ x 59 3/4″.

Step 3 Cut & Rip

To make things simple we’ll be using common 1x stock. Be sure to pick a rot-resistant wood that can stand up to your regional climate. You can use this post to help you pick a good species of wood.

To be efficient, I’ve narrowed the wood needed for each storm to be a single 1×4 and 1×6. The lengths you’ll need will depend on the size of your window, but the widths are the same no matter what the size of the windows.

Using our example window above of 32″ x 60″ here is your cut list below. I’ll explain the math in a moment.

  • 2 stiles @ 59 3/4″ long x 1 11/16″ wide
  • 1 top rail @ 30 1/16″ long x 1 11/16″ wide
  • 1 meeting rail @ 30 1/16″ long x 1″ wide
  • 1 bottom rail @ 30 1/16″ long x 2 9/16″ wide

The 1×4 will be your stiles (the vertical pieces of the frame) and the 1×6 will be your rails (the horizontal pieces of the frame.

  1. Rip the 1×4 exactly in half which, when accounting for the blade kerf, should leave you with two pieces that are 1 11/16″ wide.
  2. Next rip the 1×6 into three pieces of the following widths: Top rail 1 11/16″, Meeting rail 1″, Bottom rail 2 9/16″

Here’s how the math works so you can understand and make it work for your house. Your stiles are simply the total height of the window minus the 1/4″ space we need for fitting.

The rails are a little more difficult. You have to subtract the 1/4″ like with the stiles but you also have to subtract the width of the two stiles. So, here’s the math: 32″ – 1/4″ – 1 11/16″ – 1 11/16″ = 28 3/8″

That hurt my head, but that is the correct length of ALL 3 rails (top, meeting, and bottom). Got it? Good!

Step 4 Drill & Assemble

kreg pocket hole jig

Lay out your frame and check your work. Measure and mark where your meeting rail should go and the you are ready to drill your pocket holes. For this I used a Kreg K4 pocket hole jig which was super simple. It even comes with a vacuum attachment keep the sawdust at bay (something I needed big time!)

Follow the setup instructions that come with the kit. Clamp and drill 2 pocket holes on each side of the top and bottom rails and one pocket hole on each side of the meeting rail.

Clamp the frame together and install your screws, glue in the dowels with a waterproof wood glue like Titebond III and let it dry for a couple hours. Once the glue has dried cut the dowels flush with a flush cut saw and sand everything level and smooth with 80-grit paper.

On the outside of the storm sash route the channel out of the top and bottom glass openings. You’ll be left with rounded corners which will require a chisel to square off.

Step 5 Cut Rabbets

routing storm window

The next step is to cut the glass rabbets into your rails and stiles. These should be 1/4″ wide and 3/8″ deep rabbets. I used a Ridgid laminate router with a 1/4″ rabbeting bit. You can really make these rabbets larger if you prefer or are planning on a thicker pane of glass, but I’ve found that this size is more than sufficient for 1/8″ glass and doesn’t hog out as much wood as a larger rabbet. Make sure the bit has a bearing on the end or you’ll have to setup a guide for your router.

Step 6 Cut and Fit Glass

Cut and test fit your choice of glass. There are a ton of options for glass and you can learn more about the different options in this post. My recommendations would be to use double strength glass (1/8″) or for southern climates double strength glass with Low-E coating.

Your glass needs to be about 1/16″ smaller than the storm frame so that it has room for expansion later. You don’t want the storm to swell and break the glass.

Use this video tutorial on How To: Cut Glass if you’re not sure how.

Step 7 Prime

Then put a coat of oil-based primer on all sides of the storm. Once dry sand it lightly with a sanding sponge and dust off the surface.

Step 8 Bed, Glaze & Paint

glaze diy storm window

Put a thin bed of Sarco MultiGlaze putty in the glazing rabbet and press the glass into the putty so that you’re left with just a thin line of putty on the interior. Set the glass in place with glazing points. I prefer using the smaller No. 1 diamond points and a Glazing Point Driver because they hide the best, but you can also drive the larger No. 2 diamond points by hand with a hand point setter.

Add a beveled line of glazing putty on the face of the glass to finish it off. You can watch this video for the details of glazing a window if you need help. After a couple days the putty will be ready for painting your choice of color.

Step 9 Installation

Using a couple Stanley storm hangers install the storm in its opening and secure it with a hook and eye or two on the sill.

There you have it! An attractive, energy efficient storm to keep you warm and cozy this winter. Make a few a month and the energy savings will add up quick not to mention they protect the primary window from wear and tear.

The benefits of storms go on and on and now you can make your very own DIY storm window to keep the winter at bay!

Subscribe Now For Your FREE eBook!

35 thoughts on “DIY Storm Window

  1. Thank you for this content! Two questions:

    1) Other sources have mentioned cutting the top edge of the lower rail at an angle to avoid collecting water. Thoughts on this? Wouldn’t the middle rail have the same issue?

    2) Are weep holes or some other solution for dealing with condensation necessary with wood storms?


  2. Thank you for the easy to follow pdf plans and this writeup. I didnt see reference to weep/drain in the plans – do you recommend weep holes in the bottom rail or sizing the storm window height to leave a small gap between the bottom rail and window sill?

  3. Hello,

    I am having a hard time finding ‘1/4″ wide and 3/8″ deep rabbets’. They all seem to be 1/2 inch deep. Can you tell me what brand and where you purchased this routing bit from?

  4. Hi Scott,

    I really appreciated discovering this diy project. I’m handy, but never used a router before and having some difficultly finding the proper bit. Can you give a link to one that works.

    Thank you.

  5. I’m slowly refinishing the original windows in our hundred year old bungalow…the only problem is that the condensation on them is horrible in the winter time. We currently have triple track aluminum storms but they don’t seem to help much. If we built a storm like these could it solve our condensation issue??

    1. We live in Philadelphia and we have not had a condensation problem,
      I suspect the storm you have must not be doing the job, idk I am just the owner of an old house

      What I have done so far is to build the frames and then use the plastic window kits for the time being with the plan to replace with glass “before next winter”…

  6. Your work has convinced me definitively to keep the old double hung windows in our late 20s ‘cube’ Georgian here in Chicago.

    Working up to do storms for this winter. Thing is the front windows are …. huge.
    The storm will need to be a little over 62×52″. Is this doable with 2 panes of glass, top & bottom, or will something this size be better if made w/ 4 pieces?

  7. I need to make four storm windows for my screen room. The opening for the storms are 36″ x 84″ with a rebate of 3/4″. Would you suggest using wider styles and rails for this size of window? And if so, what size would you suggest?

    1. I think the size rails in this should work fine still. If you want to extra support than I would either use 1” wood rather than 3/4” or you could add about 1/2” to the rails and stiles for a little extra strength. Either way is fine.

  8. Hi, Scott – I’m going to make an offer on a nice little folk Victorian cottage on Sunday. Thankfully the previous owner left the original windows in place along with original wood storm and screens. Here’s a question for you. The storm windows don’t hang on hooks and seem to be two separate panels, a top panel and a bottom panel. The top panel sits directly on top of the bottom panel and the whole deal seems to be held in place by some sort of strange type of spring that’s screwed inside of the jamb and has a sort of metal bracket on the end with a sort of keyhole shaped opening in it. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m not sure yet if the main top window sash is stationary and only the bottom sash is functional. I only had that thought as it appears perhaps only the bottom storm panel will come out and be replaced with a screen. Have you ever seen or heard of this kind of two panel wood storm screen combination unit thing? I’ll give the house a final once over on Sunday before making the offer and I’ll look at the windows more closely and maybe test one to see if it opens easily. Thoughts on the storms?

      1. I made the offer today. I’ll know by Tuesday if it’s accepted. If the deal goes through, I’ll take some really detailed pictures to share once I get possession.

  9. Scott Your post inspired me to build a storm winow for our cabin. All went well except the glazing. I’ve done many windows for this location, but this was the first time I used acrylic instead of glass. After painting the wood and bedding in the acrylic, I layed down a nice 45 degree layer of glazing. When I came back the next morning the glazing had shrunk dramatically in the center, making almost a hard line down the center of the once nice 45. Any idea what went wrong? I’m using DAP 33 putty. Thanks …Rich

  10. This is such a great post, Scott! Thanks for the time and effort on writing a page and making at video on how to make storm windows. I have been using your site and purchased your recommended products to redo all my windows for the past 2 years (almost done!) What hardware do you recommend to use for the storm window. I would like something that would allow an “awning” style storm window. Thanks again!!!

    1. So glad you found it so helpful. Thank you so much for the kind words! And thank you for the suggestion. Definitely subscribe to the blog and Youtube channel if you haven’t already to see if/when we release your suggested content. 😉
      -Alyssa at The Craftsman Blog

  11. Thanks for the video and your Living in the Past book. I am looking to make these using laminated hurricane glass.

    Why use the pocket screws? Couldn’t you just drill the screws from the outside of the frame into the rails? It would not be visible when installed and could still be plugged and sealed.

    1. I found the Kreg pocket screw jig, etc. very handy to use. I bought it for this project and didn’t regret it. I have used it for other projects since then. Yes, I am sure you could do this without the jig and special screws, but sometimes making a job quicker and easier is worth the money.

  12. Scott, great video, I think I am going to tackle this endeavor. One thing I noticed, is that my bottom sash is angled. Do you cut your bottom sash to match the angle, the reason I ask is because the inside of the window will be a different dimension than the outside of the window with the bottom sash being angled. Thoughts?

  13. Thank you for answering my question! Are you just putting the Sarco into a refillable caulk gun then? Do you thin it at all to get it to flow properly?

  14. A plug, not requested by Scott but I hope it meets with his approval…
    Some months ago he started a patreon site and an appropriate level of membership gets one access to 1/2 hour live online questions and answers every friday at noon (when not interrupted by hurricanes or other major events).
    (Here https://www.patreon.com/thecraftsmanblog/posts )
    Even if one cannot have access to it live, one can ask questions ahead of time and come back to look at what he answered others.
    It is great fun and far too few people are getting the advantage of it.

    I imagine he would answer all of our questions here in great detail for free if he didn’t have other things to do to pay the bills
    I am going to email him now and ask him to cover this tomorrow.

  15. Two, no three, things,

    yes, what do you do if the window opening is not square?
    – I think I am going to make the storm square and plane down where it needs to be
    -if you try to make the storms out of square, then fitting the glass might get interesting and one wouldn’t have 90 degree joints on the corners
    – taking off the facing and squaring it up to put it back on sounds like more work and causing potential problems unless you have other reason to do it
    or I guess you can make it square using the thinnest dimension and there would be a bigger gap in some places between the storm and the surrounding frame

    There is nothing said about anything to seal it. Do you assume that just the weight of the storm will hold it in close enough contact with the blind stop to do most of what is needed?
    Or, if furring is needed, how about using some foam or rubber gasket or something?

    I need a film that keeps heat out in the summer, and keeps it in during the winter….
    I guess I could put film that keeps out the heat on the interior glass, not the storm, so light gets reflected off of the interior glass, and when the storms are up in the winter some extra heat is trapped between the two…

    1. Mike,
      1. Always make a perfectly square storm window. If the opening is not square then build your storm to the largest measurement you find in the opening, and once the frame is built dry fit it on the opening and scribe the portions that will need to be trimmed off. If it’s just a little you can use a belt sander or block plane. If you need to take a off a significant amount fro a window that is really out of square then use a circular saw to trim it. Once you’ve got a good fit proceed through priming, glazing, etc.
      2. You’ll need 2 sets of hook and eye lathes attached to the back of the bottom rail and window sill. This will pull the storm tight and get you a good fit. If the fit is too air tight then you run the chance of condensation.Often I’ll have to add weep holes to let a little air in and keep things dry and happy.
      3. A good low-E film applied to the glass on the inside of the storm preferably or the inside of the window’s glass will improve efficiency even more. Hope that helps!

  16. Excellent, and very informative video. Can you do a follow up video on how to construct double hung and casement windows? We will be embarking on this very project very soon. Thanks so much!

  17. Thank you very much!
    I think I am going to build them minus rabbeting and glass and put plastic over them for this winter, and come summer turn them into permanent with glass,
    (my chief glazer is occupied with classes for the winter!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.