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The Panefully Long Project

Turns out when you are restoring an old building there is a lot of repetitive and sometimes tedious tasks to do. That being said those same tasks tend to yield some of the best results and I usually find the repetition relaxing. However, those tasks don’t always make for the most interesting blog posts. The window restoration was completed the end of October and I have been putting off writing about it because it is really just a list of steps done forty six times. But here goes…

Twenty three. That’s how many double hung windows this house has, which makes forty six individual windows with most of those forty six having two panes each. That’s a lot of windows. Most of the windows in this building are original which makes them pushing one hundred three years old. Over the years numerous repairs had been made using silicone, L brackets, putty, screws, nails, etc.IMG_1437

Some worked, some not so much and something had to be done to help avoid a repeat of last winter.  http://thedragonrun.com/desperate-times-call-for-desperate-measures/

So we started the process of removing the windows and the trim in May. I covered the counters in the store downstairs with plastic, gathered my tools, and got to work. The putty on the first window was so dry and cracked it all but fell out!IMG_1250 Yay, this won’t be so bad!







Then I got to the next one…silicone was holding the glass in some places where the putty had fallen out so I gently started peeling it up, *snap* (sound of glass cracking) “darn it”! Fast forward four or five more *snaps* and “darn it” became “#&%^&$” echoing throughout the house. I was getting real cozy with the glass cutters at Lowes.

Broken glass.

Broken glass.

A heat gun was suggested but I was not too excited about using that much heat on my original wood windows…I had visions of them bursting into flames and such. In the end it was a $30 clothes steamer that saved the day! It softened the old dried on silicone enough to peel it off without hearing the dreaded *snap*.

All but two of the windows required some kind of repair. Many of those only needed some wood glue and a really big clamp but some of them…well, they had seen better days.

Has seen better days!

Has seen better days!










These required some creativity with a wonderful product called Wood Wizard which involves its own set of steps mixing equal amounts of two liquids to paint on the wood and then equal amounts of putty to fill in the rotted areas.

So here we go with the basic steps involved in restoring a window.

First thing I did was assign each window a number so that we knew which window and trim went where. Can you imagine the nightmare if they got mixed up?

Remove two side trim pieces, weights, lower window, three wood pieces that hold in upper window, and upper window. Write the window number on all pieces.

Take off the hardware. Remove old putty and/or silicone, points (little metal pieces that hold the glass in), and the glass which is hopefully still in one piece.

Glue and clamp and/or Wood Wizard as needed and let dry overnight.

Give the window a light sanding, or maybe a vigorous sanding in some cases. IMG_1249

Two coats of white paint on the outside of the window. Two coats of polyurethane on the inside of the window with a light sanding in between coats.




Clean glass, which sometimes required the use of the trusty clothes steamer again as putty and/or silicone may still be adhered to the glass.IMG_1489

Replace sash cords (cord that attaches weights to windows) if needed. Turns out it can’t be purchased locally so thanks to Amazon Prime that only set me back a couple of days.

Fit glass back into window and CAREFULLY insert new points. Never apply pressure downward towards the glass, it causes that dreaded *snap*.



Apply fresh putty (which takes 20-30 minutes per pane of glass) and let dry. The drying was about two weeks as it is fairly humid here. Put some paint on that putty and the hardware back on and you have a finished window! IMG_1178 IMG_1179









But wait, the trim still has to be done. Remove the nails, sand, and two coats of polyurethane and your trim is ready!

Before and after polyurethane.

Before and after polyurethane.

But wait, the window sill and trim at the top get sanded and two coats of polyurethane and the space between the window and the storm window gets sanded and two coats of white paint.

But wait, we thought some insulation in the space where the weights hang might be a good idea. This picture was taken from inside where the weights hang…yes, that’s daylight, no you shouldn’t be able to see daylight from inside.

Might need some insulation.

Might need some insulation.

Okay now the window is ready to go back in!

Repeat that process another 45 times and you’re done!




Well, unless you count the 7 transom windows that still need work…I’ll think about that tomorrow.



  1. Carolyn Draper says:

    Good for u lots of hard work proud of u Heidi

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