Mechanical Restoration of Windows Mechanical Restoration of Windows

Mechanical restoration of old fashioned windows can be a complete, thorough job that requires disassembling the windows. However, it can also be a simple project where disassembling is not required. Because windows may have been painted so many times, run-over paint ridges may appear on the pieces of the channels where the sashes ride in. A scraper and a little bit of lubricant can make your old windows work as if they were new.

Tuning up your windows will make them work and lock the way they should - quite easily. It should take little effort to move a double-hung rope and pulley window once all of the problems are eliminated. When you have a correctly aligned sweep lock, the middle will be pulled together and the top and bottom will be forced down, with the result being a tightly locked assembly. This, along with weatherstripping will give you a window that is relatively airtight. If you have a good storm window, the energy savings may either be the same, or even better than having a new styled insulated glass window that has modern pieces.

Tune-ups may require:

  • Total disassembly of your windows.
  • Planing and sanding if necessary (this will relieve tightness from the excess paint).
  • A brand new rope or chain.
  • Reinforcement of all loose joints in the sashes. Caulking will be needed to keep the joints from deteriorating any further. Epoxy restoration may be needed for badly rotted joints.
  • Replacement of parting beads that may be cracked, rotten or warped.
  • Re-weighting. There should be no falling down or floating up in a sash. It should be suspended in space.
  • Stapled "Spring-Bronze" weatherstripping to get rid of looseness. This will also increase energy efficiency and make the window seem smooth.
  • Total lubrication of channels and pulleys, which should solve squealing and sticking.
  • Realignment of locks and stops. Stops are vertical strips of wood, that are often held together by screws, which control the bottom sash. They should be perfectly lined up to allow the sash to have just enough clearance for free movement, but not too much. When they are totally closed, they should touch the top rail of the bottom sash to keep the assembly still. This will prevent rattling when the wind blows.
  • Replacement of any loose putty with caulking. You do not have to completely re-putty, as that is for structural restoration. Often there is some putty that will fall out of the bottoms, leaving the joints vulnerable.
  • Replacement of any broken glass, with historical replica or salvaged float glass if desired.

There may be some cosmetic damage done to the stops when a window is disassembled. However, this damage can frequently be repaired with caulking. It may be necessary to re-paint when the sashes need to be sanded.

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