Home Decor

Fixing up your windows

Lavish your windows with care and they will keep giving you the sun and the moon

People who live in glass houses…should read this article. Windows take a beating, and need TLC to maintain that sunny outlook. Here are some tips to keep your windows in top shape.

Freshen peeling and faded paint on your window frames every three to five years. Start by washing all the wooden surfaces with TSP. Wood that has gone soft and punky should be gently dug out with a screwdriver.

Use wood or epoxy putty to fill the holes, applying it in layers if they are deep. After filler dries, sand and prime frames before painting. Note: there is a special place in hell reserved for those who slap on paint over sash windows, sealing them shut for eternity, or until someone removes the paint with a heat gun and scraper.

If your window frames are vinyl and aluminum, clean them with a stiff brush and all-purpose soap. Bring back the luster of aluminum frames by buffing with steel wool and paste wax.

Fixing a broken pane isn’t as painful as you might think, but please don the goofy safety goggles and heavy gloves! Criss-cross the glass with masking tape and tap it with a hammer to remove broken glass without it splintering. Now scrape out the old putty and metal clips that hold the glass in place (official term: glazier’s points). Buy a piece of replacement glass that is smaller than the frame dimensions by 1/8 inch on each side. While at the hardware store, buy more glazier’s clips, linseed oil (it helps soften the old putty and keep the new compound moist), a putty knife and glazier’s compound. Roll the compound between your hands until it resembles a pencil-width tube. Press the compound into the outside corner of window frame, then place the new pane of glass into frame, pressing it firmly into compound. Glazier’s points will help hold the glass in place, install them every six inches by pushing them into the frame with the blade of the putty knife. Now apply another tube of compound to the inside of frame with a putty knife. Scrape any excess compound off the glass with a razor blade, and paint the compound so it matches the colour of the frame.

Aluminum and vinyl windows can pose an attractive lure, but older lead-pane windows have a charm that can’t be faked by modern versions. They aren’t as energy efficient, but a little fresh air in the dead of winter isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If your home is older, original windows add to architectural charm so it’s worth trying to maintain them.