Renovating sash windows


T

Tim Decker

I know this is a subject that has been discussed at length on this
group in the past, but reading some of the old postings it seemed to
often descend into slagging matches between various people.

I have just done the first 3 of my sash windows (another 14 to go).
These were in a terrible state with a real danger that if the glass
was cleaned from inside then the glass would have fallen out, due to
most of the putty having cracked off. Just to clarify, these are
slidey up and down windows, as I recall some earlier argument that all
windows were in fact sash windows!

I have now replaced the putty using acrylic putty from a tube. I have
tried using linseed putty in the past, but couldn't seem to get it
right. So at the moment I am quite pleased with the ease of using this
from a tube and the speed with which this could be painted. I have to
say that I couldn't seem to get a definitive answer from past
postings, but I came to the conclusion that as I couldn't get on with
traditional putty and the new stuff could be painted much quicker that
was what I would go with. It will be interesting to see the results
in 5 years time. Thoughts?

The other thing that surprised me was how good condition the wood was
in. Despite being unpainted for at least 3 years there was hardly any
rot. I suppose that 100 years ago, they used some very good timber.

I am now determined to fix one of my downstairs windows that needs a
new sash cord. Next spring I will do a proper job and remove the sash.
Now this has got some rot and is going to require some TLC. I have
been using Wickes wood hardener,
http://www.wickes.co.uk/Wood-Hardeners/Wet-Rot-Wood-Hardener/invt/600075.
£14 a litre. but figured there might be a cheaper generic alternative.
Any ideas?

I also intended to do a full draft proofing. I have been looking at
Mighton, who seem very good, but again I would welcome any tips for
alternatives that might be cheaper.

Any further ideas or new thinking on the subject woiuld be
appreciated.

Thanks
Tim
 
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B

Bruce

Tim Decker said:
I have now replaced the putty using acrylic putty from a tube. I have
tried using linseed putty in the past, but couldn't seem to get it
right. So at the moment I am quite pleased with the ease of using this
from a tube and the speed with which this could be painted. I have to
say that I couldn't seem to get a definitive answer from past
postings, but I came to the conclusion that as I couldn't get on with
traditional putty and the new stuff could be painted much quicker that
was what I would go with. It will be interesting to see the results
in 5 years time. Thoughts?

My grandfather always used "Swedish putty" which was made with gloss
paint rather than, or in addition to, linseed oil. It gave a finished
appearance from Day 1, however he used to put a coat of gloss paint
over it a few weeks later.
 
M

mail

I know this is a subject that has been discussed at length on this
group in the past, but reading some of the old postings it seemed to
often descend into slagging matches between various people.

I have just done the first 3 of my sash windows (another 14 to go).
These were in a terrible state with a real danger that if the glass
was cleaned from inside then the glass would have fallen out, due to
most of the putty having cracked off. Just to clarify, these are
slidey up and down windows, as I recall some earlier argument that all
windows were in fact sash windows!

I have now replaced the putty using acrylic putty from a tube.  I have
tried using linseed putty in the past, but couldn't seem to get it
right. So at the moment I am quite pleased with the ease of using this
from a tube and the speed with which this could be painted.  I have to
say that I couldn't seem to get a definitive answer from past
postings, but I came to the conclusion that as I couldn't get on with
traditional putty and the new stuff could be painted much quicker that
was what I would go with.  It will be interesting to see the results
in 5 years time. Thoughts?

The other thing that surprised me was how good condition the wood was
in. Despite being unpainted for at least 3 years there was hardly any
rot. I suppose that 100 years ago, they used some very good timber.

I am now determined to fix one of my downstairs windows that needs a
new sash cord. Next spring I will do a proper job and remove the sash.
Now this has got some rot and is going to require some TLC. I have
been using Wickes wood hardener,http://www.wickes.co.uk/Wood-Hardeners/Wet-Rot-Wood-Hardener/invt/600075.
£14 a litre. but figured there might be a cheaper generic alternative.
Any ideas?

I also intended to do a full draft proofing. I have been looking at
Mighton, who seem very good, but again I would welcome any tips for
alternatives that might be cheaper.

Any further ideas or new thinking on the subject woiuld be
appreciated.

Thanks
Tim
Dear Tim
I have done this professionally for over 30 years and as an amateur
for 40! A few bon mots may be useful. I, too, was initially impressed
with the acrylic "putty" when I first came across it about 10 years
ago - seemed to be the bee's knees but recently came across an
interesting problem with it. I used it about 7 years ago on a SW
facing fixed (ie a sash window lookalike fixed into place where there
is no room for cords) side sash in a 3 window bay where only the
centre window opens. All seemed well for a few years but I noticed in
the last couple of years that in driving rain water percolates through
the apparently totally sound and well painted joint a the bottom! It
only does it when there is a right old gale. There is no evidence of
any defect (the window was recently painted. I have concluded that it
is the material of the joint - acrylic putty - probably at the
interface with the wood and glass that is at fault. I have reverted
back to good old linseed oil putty and whereever I have there have
been no problems.
To do this with proper putty, try the following: get a decent large
tub of the pukka stuff, dig out a tennis ball sized lump and kneed it
really well for several minutes till it has ceased to stick to your
hands (really messy!) and is stiff but malleable. Prepare the surface
of the sash by removing all old traces of putty and applying firstly a
coat of preservative in OS (eg Cuprinol 5 star) paying particular
attention to end grain and joints - dip overnight if necessary. Prime
with Dulux Weathersheild green primer one light coat to the rough
surface of the rebate for the glass (if necessary roughen it up with
sand paper first). Roll your putty out into your thumb in a "tube"
from the base of your palm and press it into the right angle gap of
the recess such that there is an excess but not much of one on the
"indside" of the sash. Put in the glass and put in four or so copper
(not steel or iron) nails (not coppered as that is iron with copper
covering) nails using a panel pin hammer and lots of care. Ensure you
get the angle right so as not to pressurise the glass as it goes in.
Once safely pressed into the final place - about 2mm of putty on the
inside - apply the outside putty with the thumb to being just a
surplus. This will come with experience. If it helps an amateur trick
would be to roll out a long thin roll and squeze it in but thumb and
experience is better.
now get a tool to squeeze in and shape the putty. I use a combination
of a special rubberish German shapig tool that is basically a square
with a corner cut off to allow access to the corners and also a 1"
chisel. Others use putty knives or any sharp edge that does the job.
Be bold and once started go for it all the way down to the end! If you
do it vertically and right the squezed off bead is easy to collect
with a rolled up ball of putty.
Let it set for a day or two before painting normally with primer under
and gloss.
Wooden repairs.
Unquestionably the best product for this is Windowcare resin used as a
glue to put in suitably pressure treated replacement timber.
Chris
 
T

Trevor Smith

If your house is similar to others in the area look out for new windows
being installed and get an old one of the same size - you can then use
bits of it to repair yours. The actual construction of the window and
frame is pretty straightforward - and if you have similar bits you can use
those to repair the rot in yours.

--
*Eat well, stay fit, die anyway

Dave Plowman (e-mail address removed) London SW
To e-mail, change noise into sound.
You might be lucky and find some the same size, I have sash windows in the
back of my 1900's terrace and horrid wooden replacements at the front, these
being fitted into the original sash boxes. I have looked around for sash
windows as I would love to reinstate them but as the windows in my house all
differ in size it is a struggle. I have come to the opinion that when the
houses were built, the windows were made on site to fit the hole the builder
made.
Trevor Smith
 
T

Trevor Smith

Dave Plowman (News) said:
What I was trying to say was that old windows from the same estate can
often be used to repair yours - not used as complete replacements. May
well mean cutting and jointing some parts - but this is often easier than
trying to make new - and you'll be using the same sort of timber.

--
*Why is it that doctors call what they do "practice"?

Dave Plowman (e-mail address removed) London SW
To e-mail, change noise into sound.
I'm with you now, and the point about the same timber is a good one as
modern wood is not a patch on the wood they used on the original windows,
hence why I am reluctant to make new frames.
Trevor Smith
 
P

PeterMcC

'cos they don't know that it's spelled "practise" when they do it?

Sorry, the pedantry just swept over me.

--
PeterMcC

If you feel that any of the above is incorrect,
inappropriate or offensive in any way,
please ignore it and accept my apologies.
 
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S

sm_jamieson

'cos they don't know that it's spelled "practise" when they do it?

Sorry, the pedantry just swept over me.
A few more :-
Why is it called "theatre of war" ?
Why do estate agents have "4 bedrooms TO the first floor" instead of
"on the first floor" ?
Why do BBC pronounce "New Orleans" New Orlee-uns, when the folks
living there pronounce it "New Orlins" ?
Simon.
 
F

fred

Tim said:
I also intended to do a full draft proofing. I have been looking at
Mighton, who seem very good, but again I would welcome any tips for
alternatives that might be cheaper.
I've not been a fan of Mighton stuff in the past, thought their new
generation seals were a bit gimmicky and over priced but I see they now
have traditional wooden beads with built-in brush seals which I think is
a better solution.

I was going to suggest Reddiseals too:
http://www.reddiseals.com/acatalog/sash_windows.html for range of stock
but they're looking a bit pricey when compared with Mighton's
traditional beads.

Get them ready primed of course, if you're painting.

I've still to find a guaranteed fix for sealing the meeting rails, there
always seems to be some sort of 'fix' required.
 
S

stuart noble

Tim said:
I know this is a subject that has been discussed at length on this
group in the past, but reading some of the old postings it seemed to
often descend into slagging matches between various people.

I have just done the first 3 of my sash windows (another 14 to go).
These were in a terrible state with a real danger that if the glass
was cleaned from inside then the glass would have fallen out, due to
most of the putty having cracked off. Just to clarify, these are
slidey up and down windows, as I recall some earlier argument that all
windows were in fact sash windows!

I have now replaced the putty using acrylic putty from a tube. I have
tried using linseed putty in the past, but couldn't seem to get it
right. So at the moment I am quite pleased with the ease of using this
from a tube and the speed with which this could be painted. I have to
say that I couldn't seem to get a definitive answer from past
postings, but I came to the conclusion that as I couldn't get on with
traditional putty and the new stuff could be painted much quicker that
was what I would go with. It will be interesting to see the results
in 5 years time. Thoughts?

The other thing that surprised me was how good condition the wood was
in. Despite being unpainted for at least 3 years there was hardly any
rot. I suppose that 100 years ago, they used some very good timber.

I am now determined to fix one of my downstairs windows that needs a
new sash cord. Next spring I will do a proper job and remove the sash.
Now this has got some rot and is going to require some TLC. I have
been using Wickes wood hardener,
http://www.wickes.co.uk/Wood-Hardeners/Wet-Rot-Wood-Hardener/invt/600075.
£14 a litre. but figured there might be a cheaper generic alternative.
Any ideas?

I also intended to do a full draft proofing. I have been looking at
Mighton, who seem very good, but again I would welcome any tips for
alternatives that might be cheaper.

Any further ideas or new thinking on the subject woiuld be
appreciated.

Thanks
Tim
Acrylic putty has the advantage that it doesn't rely on an oil based
coat of paint applied several days later. I've never had problems with
it, but I don't see it on the shelves these days.
If you want to work on windows through the winter, just reverse the
sashes and put a couple of nails in to support the top one. It means you
get the mess on the inside, but at least you're not depending on the
weather, and it's a nice working height too.
£14 a litre isn't that awful if it has a reasonable solids content and
is a 2 part system (can't tell from the website). Fibreglass resin works
well, especially in conjunction with car body filler.
I've never found a good way to draughtproof sliding sashes that doesn't
make them more difficult to open and close. Repositioning the staff bead
on the inside can make a big difference but the problem is usually the
gap between the parting bead and the top sash, which is difficult to
rectify.
 
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Joined
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The Reddiseals replacement parting and staff beads are very good for draught sealing - low friction which helps the sash to slide easily. The pile / brush ones are much better in a sliding sash than the q-Lon options. Choose the short pile 5.5mm for top sashes. 8.5mm usually works best elsewhere


Acrylic putty has the advantage that it doesn't rely on an oil based
coat of paint applied several days later. I've never had problems with
it, but I don't see it on the shelves these days.
If you want to work on windows through the winter, just reverse the
sashes and put a couple of nails in to support the top one. It means you
get the mess on the inside, but at least you're not depending on the
weather, and it's a nice working height too.
£14 a litre isn't that awful if it has a reasonable solids content and
is a 2 part system (can't tell from the website). Fibreglass resin works
well, especially in conjunction with car body filler.
I've never found a good way to draughtproof sliding sashes that doesn't
make them more difficult to open and close. Repositioning the staff bead
on the inside can make a big difference but the problem is usually the
gap between the parting bead and the top sash, which is difficult to
rectify.
 

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