Below are a some frequently asked questions that may help you get started with your window project:
1. How long will it take to restore my windows?
The entire process from when we remove your sashes and accessories from their frames, and your home until we return them and re-install takes 8-10 weeks typically. At the residence, we need approximately 7-8 hrs of labor/window to dis-assemble the window, clean the frame/jamb, weatherize if necessary, and then re-install the restored sashes and accessories after the process.
2. What will you do to the openings once the windows have been removed?
While your windows are being restored, the openings in your home can be weatherized with either 6ml plastic or secured with plywood.
3. What is involved in the 8-10 week process?
Our “full” restoration entails:
* Removing all the glass to be re-used as possible
* Sizing your windows to their openings
* Labeling them for identification through the process
* Stripping the entire sashes of all paint, glazing, putties/fillers, etc.
* Sanding all the entire surfaces, both flat and profiled, to be returned to their original wood condition
* Stabilization of mortise-and-tenon joinery
* Structural and cosmetic repairs including straightening of key sash parts (i.e.; midrails, upper/bottom
rails, stiles, etc.)
* Modifying your window sash to receive historic, but concealed, metal weatherstripping
* Applying two coats of oil-based priming with sanding in-between coats for better bond & finish
* Cutting new glass, as needed for replacement
* Re-glazing your old glass into the sashes, or new if needed, making sure each glass pane is
* Painting your sashes with two coats of finish paint, again with sanding in between coats
* Refinishing your old sash stops making sure they don’t interfere with sound window sash operation
* Restoring your old hardware so it functions smoothly (pulleys, sash locks, and lifts)
* Preparing new parting stops of Douglas fir (VG), sanded and oiled for smooth operation
* Installing midrail weatherstripping
* Cleaning sash edges of paint bead and oiling edges
* Noting sash weight for our mechanics to balance them at your home
4. Aren’t historic windows terribly energy inefficient?
Most people don’t know, and the replacement window industry doesn’t want you know that an old window that has been well restored and weatherstripped, and outfitted with a high quality, well-installed storm window is of equal performance to the top-end, two-pane replacements. Numerous acclaimed research facilities such as Berkeley National Laboratories, Chicago University, the Department of Energy and others have conducted controlled studies that prove this point. Here’s another: https://www.treehugger.com/green-architecture/new-study-shows-restored-2...
5. Will you restore my old windows with 2-pane glass (IGUs - or insulated glass units)?
No thanks! While we could, we don’t recommend it. The old windows were made to work well but not to carry that additional weight imposed by an IGU. Instead of endorsing this non-historic modification, we’d recommend you consider using “historically-sensitive” storm windows to get the equal energy performance. In this manner, you can also save your old “wavy” glass, or antique glass, another authentic element of the time period in which your home was built. These storms are those that are recommended by the National Park Service (our country’s highest standard for conservation, preservation and restoration) for historic structures in order to show off their original grandeur and architecture. They are typically high-quality, high-performing elements that protect your old windows and ensure your old windows have high visibility.
6. What is weatherstripping?
Weatherstripping is the process of sealing openings such as doors and windows from the elements. The goal of weatherstripping is to prevent the moving parts of these openings, the doors themselves or the window sashes, from leaking air or water. Weatherstripping is critical for thermal comfort and is a modern standard in America since the 1930’s for improving the overall energy efficiency of any door or window, old or new. Door and window weatherstripping historically was made of metals (brass, bronze, or zinc). “Modern” weatherstripping can be made of vinyl, nylon, silicone, urethane, foam, etc.
7. Which weatherstripping lasts the longest?
Metal weatherstripping for your old windows or doors lasts the longest and will work for more than a century if you don’t paint it or hammer it! Modern weatherstripping like tube seals, vinyl sweeps, or nylon bristles can last 10-20 years but will deteriorate, or wear out under use or by exposure to UV light.
8. What is glazing?
Glazing is the material used to create an airtight seal of the glass to the wood sashes. As your wooden sashes move slightly during as temperature and humidity vary, it’s crucial that the glass is well bonded to the sashes both inside and out. This seal prevents air leakage and improves overall window energy efficiency.
9. Do I need storm windows?
We recommend that all historic windows be used in conjunction with storm windows. That’s one of the critical elements required that will allow your old historic windows with single-pane glass to achieve equal energy performance compared to a two-pane replacement window (the other critical elements are that the old windows are in good condition; i.e., those that have sound glazing, weatherstripping around all the moving parts, and non-leaky frames/weight pockets).
Double-hung windows typically take an exterior storm which also provides immeasurable physical protection to greatly reduce your maintenance. For out-swing casements and awnings, we recommend interior storms. Historic inswing casements and awnings would be well served with an exterior storm.
10. Is there a minimum of windows to start a project?
We do not have a set minimum required number of windows to restore because we’re committed to restoration and helping you save your old windows. We often do a handful, a number of rooms, or a whole house or building.
11. Do we have to do all the windows?
Nope! We can do all of your windows or we can do some, as suits your budget. We sometimes do an entire house at once or get it done in phases over a number of months, or even years; again, it’s up to your budget.
12. Does the 8-10 week process mean you’re working on all windows that whole time?
Nope! Quality restoration entails drying times, curing, tacking and some waiting. Rushing or “cheating” cure times erodes the quality of the work. Epoxies and glues need time to set and the better ones take more time. Glazing compounds and primers made of oil can take days and not hours, likewise with high-quality paints. The 8-10 week time period allows us to maintain quality and not compromise our process. We work with numerous clients/projects continuously which keeps our service available to many at once while also keeping us fully employed, year-round!
13. Don’t we have to do this restoration work during the milder weather?
Nope! We restore all-year round as our shop is temperature/climate controlled so we can ensure quality. The timing is up to your schedule and ours, but for our part: We always “weatherize” the openings to make sure your home is wind and water-tight, we can customize your needs by using plywood in lieu of plastic as a security measure or add styrofoam sheets to your openings making them 2-4x more efficient than any old or modern window while we restore your old ones in the shop.
14. What can I do to start?
First, please send us a few photographs to firstname.lastname@example.org:
1. A full-view of the entire window so we know what type it is
2. A close-up of the glazing area (where the glass meets the wood on the outside - if this is a challenge you can always take the picture from the inside through the glass focused on the outside condition)
3. Open a window and take a photo of the frame so we can look for evidence of weather-stripping