How to repair wood windows

Once upon a time, most homeowners knew how to maintain their wood windows.  After WWII everything changed.  First, the window industry decided to re-invent the double-hung window.  They made it much more difficult to disassemble the window by replacing the simple sash cords, pulleys and counter-weight system with metal jambs and operating systems in many variations.  Then the aluminum storm window was invented.  It was sold as a maintenance-free system with both storm and screen in place all the time.  This eliminated the danger of carrying large heavy wood storms up ladders every fall, and taking them down every spring.  What could be wrong with that?

The aluminum storm/screen window, a maintenance-free product, resulted in most homeowners’ failure to maintain their windows, which are definitely not maintenance-free.  With the storm in place, it is nearly impossible to get to the outside of the sash and keep it painted and intact on a regular basis.  In addition, with only a glass panel in the upper half, the knowledge that double-hung windows are meant to ventilate by lowering the upper sash and raising the lower sash, creating a convection loop, was lost.  The final blow came once aluminum storms were nearly everywhere and painters were trained to caulk and paint the upper sashes shut.

We would love everyone to know how to maintain, repair and weatherize their own windows.  To that end, we are posting “How To’s” to help you.