A new article from Old House Web entitled “Adventures in Old House Window Repair” made me almost laugh out loud.  I’d laugh if it weren’t so close to home.  That article links to another article on the same site entitled, “Repairing Wood Windows” and is a good tutorial (although cut short) on the repair and preservation of old windows.  My experience with the repair of old windows is that it takes a heck of a lot longer than you’d ever dream.  The author of the first article indicated his repairs took two months, although there is no indication if that is one window or a whole house of windows — and he hired a “professional”.  In my window repair adventures, it has taken almost four months to repair three windows. Of course I only work on them once a week.

This past weekend (7/23), those three windows were finally “revealed” (i.e., they no longer have plastic covering them).  The lower sashes are currently being held in by temporary stops until they can be shimmed, the v-shaped bronze weatherstripping cut and installed, and the stops permanently set.

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When you look back at the before-shots of the windows, they appeared rotten, beyond hope.  In fact, they looked so bad that we even considered and began to price replacement windows (which were going to be too costly).  But after realizing that we could not afford replacement windows (which would have had to be custom made due to the irregular size of the windows in the farmhouse), we decided to attempt preservation and restoration.  After the first frustrating attempts to remove old paint (due mostly to use of inferior paint removal products), I began to encounter solid wood.  And it was beautiful wood, like new to the point that the knot holes, when being rid of many years of paint, began seeping rosin and you could smell the pine.

Comments I hear when people first see the restoration of those three windows are, “They look new!” or “The windows make the entire room look better”  (and that room is far from better).

I am well into the process of restoring the remaining two windows in the kitchen.  Then on to the other eleven, longer windows in the remainder of the house.  I see months and months of window work before me.  But there is satisfaction in knowing that we have saved something that was well worth the effort.

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