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Repair Windows

You may think that repair windows means working on your frustrating Microsoft Windows TM software. Believe me, I've had my share of repairing windows problems in all my years of using personal computers. That's why I finally switched to an Apple computer so I could not have to deal with the constant hassles, bugs and crashes.

But in my world, repair windows means working on those wonderful inventions we have in our homes that allows us to see outdoors and often make an outdoor patio or vista become part of an interior room. How to repair windows and all of the issues that come with broken or leaking windows is my bailiwick.

The caulk around this window is separating allowing cold air inside during the winter. PHOTO CREDIT: Roger Henthorn

The caulk around this window is separating allowing cold air inside during the winter. PHOTO CREDIT: Roger Henthorn

Home windows repair can often be accomplished by you if you have a moderate degree of skills. Perhaps the most common repair you can do to extend the life of the windows around your home is to make sure the caulking that is used to seal the windows to the adjacent brick, stone, siding or stucco is always in good repair. Water that leaks in and around windows is often the root cause of larger and more troublesome repair issues down the road.

If your windows require periodic painting, this is the second-most frequent repair that you might be able to accomplish with ease. Paint can extend the life of a well-made window to well over 50 years. I prefer to use paints that have a mixture of both acrylic and urethane resins in them. Urethane paint is very sticky, and if you clean the window surface well and remove all loose paint chips, you can often get 15 or more years from a paint job.

Sash window repair or double-hung window repair is a common problem. Tens of thousands of homes have double-hung windows that consist of two sashes that move up and down independently in channels. A window sash is the actual wood, metal or other frame that surrounds the glass as well as the glass that is inside that frame.

In older double-hung windows that still have the cast-iron counter weights that assist in opening the windows and allow them to remain open, a common repair is the sash cords or rope that connects the cast-iron weight to the sash. If these ropes or cords break, the window is repaired by taking the window sash out of the channel so that you can gain access to the weight and the side of the sash where the new rope attachs.

Broken glass is also at the top of the list. Keep in mind if you're working on an old building, you can sometimes find old glass to match that in your historic home. There are architectural-salvage businesses that sometimes purchase old wood window sashes from replacement-window contractors. Some contractors may actually store the sashes themselves to sell to people who need both the old wood window as well as the glass. As more old buildings disappear, this very-old glass will become harder to get. People want the old glass because gravity actually pulls at a sheet of glass making it wavy over time. Old glass has tremendous amounts of character and often slight manufacturing imperfections.

If you have to do a glass window repair, be aware that some windows are disposable. That's really sad, as in the old days when I was just starting into the construction business, you bought a piece of glass, took some glazing pins and putty and installed the new glass. But thousands of people have to repair Anderson windows, and you can't  just replace the glass. If you need new glass, you have to replace the entire sash. This is especially true of many, if not all, of the vinyl-coated wood sashes made by Anderson during the 1980's and early 1990's.

The best windows repair you can do is one that will ensure your windows will last for a long time. Be aware that if you have a rotted wood window, you can purchase fantastic epoxies that are meant to restore wood. These materials bond permanently to the surrounding solid wood, and the dried epoxy can be sanded easily and painted. It's an amazing material.

If you are building your dream home, and you plan to live in it for a long time, it really pays to accumulate a few spare parts at the time you build. You may think this is a waste of time, but it's not. Over time, certain parts may be tough to come by. I regularly get emails from people looking for parts for sliding doors and windows. They need the rollers, locks, handles, etc.

It's easy to get the parts from the manufacturer when you order your windows. You can store these parts in a well-marked box in your garage or workshop. Believe me, you'll never regret getting spare parts, especially ones that get lots of use, like hinges on casement windows, the crank and gear box on casements and the internal springs in double-hung windows.

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