Wooden window frames add a natural aesthetic to any building and when they are properly maintained they will last a lifetime. Over the centuries, the designs of windows have transformed in such a way that they add value to any building. More than aesthetics, they keep out storms, allow air to enter the building, provide you with scenic views and are strong enough to last a very long time. Wooden window frames need regular maintenance and treatment to keep them looking good. Timber products, especially windows are exposed to so many elements and conditions on a daily basis.
Maintenance of Wooden Windows
Regular maintenance will ensure that your windows look good and last a long time. Maintenance also ensures that window frames continue to enhance the look of your home. When you are performing annual window inspections, check for signs of rot or deterioration of the protective layer of sealer, this will prevent any probable problems before they have the time to turn into expensive repairs.
Tips for what to look out for on wooden window frames
- Ensure that you have a paintbrush handy to wipe away any dust residue on your wooden window frames. This will allow you to properly check for damage. Be sure to clean the frames with a lint-free cloth with a little wood wax.
- It is vital that you look for signs of moisture damage and rot. This is an indication that your sealer coating is malfunctioning, and you will need to reapply it. A sealer is usually applied every 12-18 months however you should check with your manufacturer’s guidelines. Moisture build up which is not treated on time will lead to mould, mildew, and water damage. It may be difficult to determine the cause of moisture however; it occurs when the warm and moist air from inside the home mixes with a cooler surface like your windows. Glass is the coldest material found in any home, and water vapour condenses there first, which causes fog. Before you defog windows in your home, it is important to trace the reason for the fog.
- If the wood is cracking or breaking, it is an indication that the wood is drying out possibly due to lack of adequate protection and constant exposure to UV rays.
- Ensure that you inspect the beading that holds the glass panes in place. Loose beadings result in poor insulation inside your home.
How to solve window problems
- If sealer coating has not been applied, you should apply a layer on the exterior of a wood preservative.
- If there is rot or mould, you should wipe the window frames with fine steel wool and turpentine to fully assess the severity of the damage. You may need to remove damage with a wood chisel and fill with epoxy wood putty before applying sealer coating.
- If the cracks are small you may lightly sand with 180-grit sandpaper before you apply sealer. This may rectify the problem.
Glazing and painting wood sash
Glazing a window needs a combination of arts and science, which can only be learned over a period of time. If you are a beginner you should begin with the sash, back room or barn to gain some practice. Once you complete at least 10 sashes, you will be more skilled and efficient. When you have reached the front windows of your home, your glazing practice will be good enough.
- Necessary Pre-Treatments– If there is nothing wrong with the wood surfaces then there is no need to pre-treat them. However, if lower ends of the wood sash’s bottom rail are in a perfect condition, then you do not need to be treated. If there are signs of water damage, you will need to coat it with a layer of pre-treatment. Note that when you apply a pre-treatment to the bare wood you should also put it on the sash, muntin bars and muntins.
- Sand wood surfaces if necessary – all surfaces must feel smooth. If it is not smooth you should sand off the surfaces and then dust it with a HEPA vacuum and tack cloth.
- Prime the sash – Prime all the surfaces of the sash beside the side edges and the face margins. If the glazing rabbets were pre-treated with an oil resin, do not prime them. Allow the surface to dry completely.
- Sand primed surfaces if necessary – Just like the above, if needed sand off any rough surfaces and prime any areas with bare wood.
- Bed the pane – You can begin by making sure all the panes fit by setting them in place in the sash. Once you remove them, be sure to place them in an order that you can remember. Warm the putty by kneading it in your hand, then press putty into then glazing rabbet preferably with your thumb. Lay a bed of putty in all glazing rabbets of the sash. Place the panes of glass on the bedding putty and ensure that the bottom edge of glass comfortably rests on the neck of the lower glazing rabbet. Move the pane a little with your fingers to ensure that it beds down into the putty.
- Set the glazing points – You should decide on and set the glazing points on each edge on panes that are smaller than 6 inches or 8 inches. On larger panes you should set points away from the corners of the glass.
- Tool the face putty – go around the entire sash and place lines of putty. It does not have to look great at first. Quickly distribute the putty with a putty knife or the palm of your hand.
- Polish and clean – Polish the outside of the pane with whiting to clean off the oil from the glass from the putty.
Older wood may be easier to repair, unlike replacement windows which require you to replace the whole window unit. It is important to maintain regular checks on your windows and fix problems as they arise so that they don’t fester and become serious.