Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Repairing Wood Sash Windows

I am very excited to discover a tutorial on repairing old wooden windows! I picked up the latest issue of Old House Journal at a great bookstore in Whitehorse, Mac's Fireweed Books. (It's worth a visit if you are in the Yukon: Mac's Books)

The magazine contains an article by John Leeke on window repair. The web edition of the magazine also contains a video tutorial. You can find it at:

One of our windows was damaged last summer during tree removal, and I have not had the chance to research what steps are necessary in order to fix it. The single pane of glass was broken when a small piece of the tree trunk bounced off the ground and hit the window. It is a sideways sliding window with original leaded glass panes.

I think we will also be repairing several of the original windows as we restore the Little Blue House, as some of them are stuck. The sash windows that slide vertically are stuck closed due to the fact that the house has settled on an angle, and the windows are not straight in their frames anymore. In addition, there are probably many layers of (lead) paint on the frames. We will wait to repair these windows, until after the foundation is repaired in July. After that, the LBH will be straighter, so we can start working our way up!

Wood Sash Windows in Parlour
The kitchen windows function very well, considering their age (about 115 years old). These window frames are not painted, and they slide sideway or open on hinges.

We will keep single panes in all of the original windows, and if I can find some leaded glass to replace the broken pane, it would be great. I love the wavy look of the old glass; it bends the light in the most beautiful way. They might not be the most energy-efficient windows around, but perhaps we can consider a seasonal winter treatment on the inside of the windows, to keep out draughts...

I will be sure to post pictures once we start working on the window repair. It's still too cold to even consider it...


  1. Oh, so, the project is yet to start. But do take actions on minor issues you can attend to, JT. The crack seems harmless, but still be cautious. You can do some DIY fixes on it so it wouldn’t lead to bigger cracks. Apply masking tape on both sides of the window tracing the crack, and that would temporarily do while you’re still looking for some leaded glass. :)

    1. Hi Sandra,
      Thanks very much for the advice. I appreciate it! I will tape any cracks, as you suggest. The leaded glass is beautiful, isn't it? Cheers, JT

  2. It seems like it's going to be a big project since you'll need to repair several windows. Is the foundation already finished? When will you start the window repair? It would be best to have already laid out a plan on the process of the window repair by now, so that when the foundation is finished, you can start immediately. Wish you all luck. I hope the project will go smoothly. :) -A & B Siding & Roofing