Wood window restoration and repair is something that needs to be done about every 50 years. If you wait until your windows are in an emergency state of repair, you’re taking a risk and the task of wood window restoration will that much more involved.
Replacement window companies will often compare their product to a neglected historic wood window that has NOT been restored or maintained – an old wood window that would undoubtedly be drafty and inefficient.
Window companies will boast that their windows are Maintenance Free. That is true because Maintenance Free means Cannot be Maintained. Their replacement windows will be in the landfill in 20 years.
Wood window restoration and repair is easier than you think. Old wood windows were made to be repaired. They can easily be taken apart to insert new rails or muntins (cross pieces separating the panes). Broken parts can be remade or whole sashes can be duplicated. They can last 200+ years.
Rotted wood can be repaired to look like new with easy-to-use epoxy fillers designed for wood window restoration (see Abatron ad below). In many cases, these windows have been in service for over a hundred years with much of their deterioration resulting directly from a lack of maintenance.
With repairs and regular maintenance, the life of these old wood windows can be extended for an additional 200 years.
You are a steward to and old building with old windows. Please be responsible and Do NOT neglect your old windows.
How to Repair Old Wood Windows
For a high quality exterior wood filler for rotted wood, I personally recommend a technologically advanced product made by ABATRON as follows:
The quality of the wood your old windows are made of will not be seen again. That virgin forest wood is close-grained and resinous. Today’s young lumber cannot match the longevity of the historic wood.
There is now a new process for making softer wood hard as a rock. It’s called Thermally Modified Wood and you can read more about it here.
To trash your old windows is to trash a superior material that can no longer be purchased. A replacement window will need replacement before the old one would have needed simple maintenance.
Replacement windows are disposable and will end up in the landfill, contributing to more waste. Multiply that replacement being replaced again every 20 years. All the manufacturer needs to do is sit by and wait for the money to come in again and again.
DIY Video: Repair & Restoring Old Wood Windows
The Michigan State Historic Preservation Office received a grant to fund a five part video series – “Simple Steps to Working Windows”. In these detailed videos, viewers will learn what it takes and how to repair and restore old wood windows.