drafty window

Old 10-05-07, 11:59 AM
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drafty window

our windows are about 20+ years old, triple pane, wood frame. one window in particular is very drafty, facing in the direction of the prevailing winds, and it is very cold in that room over the winter months.

a new (vinyl) window costs better than 1000 bucks.

any way to repair the draft myself? i am thinking, remove the molding around the window; i think this might reveal the window's internal construction, or maybe would do so if i removed some wallboard?

if so, can the draft be blocked by putting putty around the inner frame etc? or any other suggestions?

Old 10-05-07, 03:25 PM
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I think you have the right idea. There's no reason to replace a window if you don't have to. Before you remove trim, you might check to see if the window is spread in the middle by taking a few quick measurements. The distance between the jamb should be the same if you compare the distance across the top, middle and bottom of the window. If the distance between the jambs in the middle of the window is larger, the frame might need a couple shims to squeeze it slightly, until it is straight again. You'd want to do this first before you go to the next step.

When you're ready to proceed, take off all the interior trim. It's likely that there might be a small gap around the window... too small to insulate properly. So you would want to take a drywall saw (sometimes called a keyhole saw) or a reciprocating saw and buzz around the window to remove the drywall back to the stud (back to the rough opening). You'll probably be removing about 1/2" of drywall from each side of the window and the trim should still cover the gap.

Once you've removed the excess drywall, you can have a good look at how well the window has been insulated. If there's fiberglass around the window, I'd suggest you take a poker and stuff it back into the rough opening farther. Then get yourself some "Window and Door" foam. Great Stuff has it in a blue can (don't get the red can or it will overexpand and bow the window frame). Stick the nozzle into the rough opening about 2" and just barely put enough in to fill the gap. You don't want to overfill it, believe me. Once it dries if you still want more in there you can do it again.

Once it's foamed, the only place air could come in is between the drywall and the stud. You can try to foam out to the drywall, but you don't want to make a mess either. So it's your call. If you have a very small gap, 1/8-1/4" or so, I've found that DAP Latex foam works the best to fill those narrow gaps. You can kind of smash their straw back into those gaps and spray some foam in before moving the straw up a couple inches and doing it over again.

Once you're satisfied you have it sealed up, you can put the trim back on and wait for winter to come to see if you've made any improvements. Good luck!
Old 10-05-07, 05:33 PM
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What type of vinyl window would cost $1000.00? Are you sure it's a draft from the window and not a lack of heat in that room that would make it feel colder?

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