Rebuilding Windows

Ed. note: I wrote this post in April 2009, and didn’t post it because I wanted photos. Life happened. The photos didn’t. Here’s the post without photos although I hope to have an exterior photo series later. We have windows in all window holes as of December 2009, but some still need to be rebuilt and others have been rebuilt but not installed. We can do this because we have an excess of windows, having ended up with some new windows in the house rebuilding process.

We (Don, that is) removed more than half the windows in the house so we can tune them up and put them back in. It’s a good time, despite being winter when we started (it’s spring now), since there’s no plumbing to worry about freezing. (Or electric or drywall or people, for that matter.)

I wasn’t involved in the actual removal of the windows, although I understand that Don spent some of his time leaning out the 2nd story windows. We used our SpeedHeater to warm up the glazing to the point that it’s removable, and use a putty knife to get the glazing out. (We use a piece of thin plywood, wrapped in aluminum foil, to reflect the heat away from the glass. It seems to work since we haven’t broken any glass at the deglazing stage.) After Don removes the glass, we heat the window frames and scrape the many layers of paint off.

Then, we prime the window sash with a 50:50 mix of mineral spirits and linseed oil, let it rest 48 hours, and prime with oil-based primer. The primer has to rest for one day before we paint it with latex paint. Or oil paint, I suppose, but we’re using latex. We paint just the interior with the latex paint at this point because you can’t efficiently paint the exterior until the glazing is in.

Then, Don lays a thin bead of latex caulking on the interior part of the window frame, sets the glass in, adds a multitude of glazier’s points, and uses DAP 33 putty on the exterior. (He heats the putty in a garage sale slow cooker that we also use to strip the hardware. That makes it much more malleable and more homogenous.) The installed putty rests two weeks before priming. We’re letting it rest at my folks’ house so we can paint it at a reasonable height off the ground.

Speaking of my folks, that’s where we’re doing the work. Daddy has kindly let us borrow his garage for the winter.** (Heated! With electricity!* And lights! And, did I mention, heat!) We’ve borrowed their guesthouse for window work, too, including the hardware stripping. (Recipe: hardware, dishwashing soap and water in a slow cooker. Cook until the paint bubbles up and softens so you can sponge it off. This also works to remove the mastic from the ceramic wall tile we salvaged.)

*Well, it had electricity, except during the four days we spent there during the ice storm.

**We ended up borrowing the garage bay through the summer and into the winter again. First for windows and then more recently for additional storage. We borrowed the guesthouse for living in. I hope we are out of both before next summer.

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