How to Maintain Wood Windows in Old Houses

There are few buildings as charming as a beautiful old house. They usually ooze character, even when they look like they are in need of repair. However, you will probably find the falling-to-pieces look less desirable when you actually own the old house and have to live in it. Therefore it will be in your best interest to maintain all the original fixtures and fittings as best you can. This is especially true of windows. Modern windows just look wrong on an old house, so it would be best if you could make your wooden windows last for a long time to come.

Prevention is better than cure

Preventative maintenance will go a long way to ensure that you maintain the historical character of your old house. To stay on top of the condition of your windows, you need to carry out regular inspections. Often a coat of paint in time will prevent rotting and swelling due to unwanted moisture.
It is very important to apply a wood sealer to a window frame. This will protect the wood from water and UV damage. You need to reapply sealer every 12 to 18 months.
To inspect the condition of your window frames, use a paintbrush or a cloth with wood wax to wipe dust from window frames. If you see signs of minor rotting or water damage, this means that the sealer coat needs to be reapplied. If there are signs of cracking, it would indicate that the wood needs some UV protection.
Also inspect the condition of the window glazing. Cracked or broken glazing putty can be an entry point for moisture.

Repairing minor damage

If you see signs of mold or rotting, scrub the surface gently with fine steel wool and mineral spirits. This allows you to assess the degree of the damage. If there are rotted sections, you can use a chisel to remove it. You will need to fill in the cavity with a filler product before painting over it.
Minor cracks need to be sanded down lightly with a grit appropriate to the kind of wood and the product you will be applying.
It’s very important to ensure that the product you apply on the outside is suitable for exterior use, otherwise it will deteriorate in a very short period of time, and cease to provide adequate protection to the wood.
If the glazing putty is damaged, it also needs to be replaced, or the gaps filled in.


Often it may be too late to prevent damage before it occurs. In that case it may be necessary to have the windows restored. There’s usually no need to replace severely damaged wood windows with new ones, since old window construction methods make repairs easy. Expert restorers can make an old window look like new by removing sections of wood that are beyond repair, and joining in wood of the same kind, or with a similar appearance. If the frame is to be painted, new wood is also often used.
About the Author
This guest post was provided by Apex Window Werks, a residential and commercial window repair & replacement company. Visit their website for more details about services, rates and guarantees.

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