Whether you should repair or replace your wooden windows depends on the following 3 critical indicators:
1. The overall condition of the windows
2. How simple they are to repair
3. The cost of replacing them
The most important of the above three factors is the condition. Countless windows have received numerous years of rainy conditions and very possibly inadequate painting. Sometimes the extent of the problem is only uncovered when an effort is made to sand and paint the frames. With some poking around with a chisel excessive wood rot is frequently identified. Sadly it isn't really smart to just paint over wood that's soft and spongy due to the rotten wood. Instead, an effective solid repair will be needed before you can even think about putting on some paint.
When it comes to commencing the restoration of a wooden window there are lots of other areas of the frames and parts to check over that may be in need of an overhaul, as damp wouldn't be the only problem. If you have box sash windows you could have difficulties with opening and closing which might be stemming from issues with the weights and cords concealed within the woodwork. Complete restoration of a sash window is outside the scope of this article but it's unquestionably a job that may be possible for an enthusiastic Do-it-yourself woman or man.
Assuming that the issue you need to overcome is either tons of layers of paint built-up through the years or the previously mentioned damp and rot, let's examine your alternatives.
The first thing would be to burn off every bit of paint leaving you the bare framework to assess and work on. Based on how badly any dampness has damaged the solid wood you may be able to take advantage of a wood hardener and wood filler to repair and strengthen the fragile wood. The procedure for this is usually to dig out the worst of the decay and after that drill multiple tiny holes into which the hardener is brushed. This definitely does a great job of making what was soft, damp wood, a very good sound surface to fill. There are many fillers that could perform the job and two pack fillers are great. Fill any holes and missing parts of the frame in thin layers, avoiding laying thick chunks on at a time. When the levels of filler have built up you should use an electric sander (or sand by hand) to sand the framework to its proper appearance. All you need then would be to prime and paint and there it is.
In case your window frame is simply too far gone for the above remedy, you might be able to cut out sections of the timber frame and glue replacement wood in its place. You will need some filler to smooth things out after but its a good method of achieving a nice job.
If none of the above points will work it might be time for a replacement wooden window.
The author is based in Surrey in the UK and works in the design industry. For top quality wooden windows click here
and for further product examples visit here
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