Check out my window frames. Icky, aren’t they? As good of shape as my 1950s ranch house is in (minus the outdated wallpaper and ugly backsplash tile of course), the window frames are in desperate need of help.
Wood is a common material for window frames. It provides great insulation, but over the years sunlight and the elements can wreak havoc on windows inside and out, so they may need some TLC.
My window frames are pretty sturdy, and I’ve checked to make sure there aren’t any air leaks, so rather than replace all the windows now I think I’m just going to refinish them. Repairing old windows and frames is a great idea if it’s possible because it maintains the architectural integrity of a home. But if your windows are horribly energy inefficient or in really bad shape, it may be time to replace them. (Stay tuned—I’ll fill you in on replacing windows soon!)
In the meantime, if you’re going the refinishing route with me, this eHow article will walk you through the process, from inspecting your windows to repairing and painting them.
I’m lucky I don’t have to worry about messing with repairs first, but if you do, this article from ReliableRemodeler.com might help you figure out what your next steps are. Or if your old wooden window frames are falling apart, check out what home repair expert Henry Harrison does to remove a window, fix up the frame, and put it back in place. (As it says on the HGTV site, this job requires a bit of elbow grease.)
Want more repair info? Check out this DIY Network episode, where you can learn to repair a windowsill and build a window seat while you’re at it!
In the midst of repairing and refinishing, this is probably a good opportunity to weatherize your windows if you haven’t done so yet.
Refinishing window frames made of wood is a lot like refinishing wood furniture. You’ll want to sand and clean the wood before staining or painting. One of the biggest tricks is making certain that you don’t damage the glass. Ron Hazelton showcases how to paint window frames using one of two methods—the taping method is designed to keep paint from getting on the glass, while the paint and scrape method involves painting away, then scraping the dried paint of the glass with a razor blade. While you’re at it, head over to HomeTips.com, to learn some specifics for working with double-hung or casement windows.
Before you tackle your own project, just for fun take a look at the process of restoring windows at a Frank Lloyd Wright house—and be thankful your task won’t be that complicated!
The Home Know-It-All