Repainting / Restoring Old windows Questions with Pictures

Jack KennedyMay 22, 2012

Hi Everyone.

We have a 1923 brick house. We have been in the home for about 6 years and the inside is up to date for the most part. The exterior is now a priority. The windows are the original windows to the house with the exception of two additions which were done in the 90s. The newer windows are good and will only need to be scraped and painted.

The original windows need a lot of work. They were modernized at some point so they do not have the pulley and weight system, which saddens us. Instead they have an aluminum track on the side of the sash. They work ok. I am going to be re-glazing the windows where necessary, with window putty, not new window glass. I am also stripping them down to the wood and starting from there. We are also removing the triple track storm windows.

I have some concerns that I would like some advice on.

Here is a picture of the area where the window frame meets the brick.

Previously someone used a boat load of caulk!! I'm ripping it all out, however, lots wants to stay, do any of you know any good tricks? Should I use a heat gun?

Once the caulk is removed there are some spots where there is a large gap.

How should I treat this? Should I nail up a new piece of molding that closes the gap, yet makes the window less symmetrical, or should I spray foam the gap, trim the excess, and then caulk over that?

The two above pictures are below the sill of the window. It seems there was concrete there at one point. In some cases there is nothing but a space, was caulked, or there is loose morter that I could just pull out very easily. Should I re-morter this space? or spray foam and caulk. Or is there a better solution to the large gaps around the windows?

On the interior of the house we used PPG or porter paint and are very happy with them. We are considering using their Permanizer acrylic exterior paint and the primer they recommend. Have any of you used this and what results have you had? Also need a recommendation on exterior caulk.

here's the house. The section to the right with the arch top windows was the primary addition.

Also, the house was originally stucco and was bricked over at some point as well.....

Thanks for all your help, I appreciate it! I really want to do this the correct way!

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First, get everything stripped and primed with oil primer.
You could certainly foam around the perimeter, carefully trim the excess with a razor knife then skim over it with caulk. You could also use "backer rod" and caulk. For this application I have used "Big Stretch" caulk with success. Don't use cheap painter's caulk here just because it's a big job.
Don't use any caulk at all at the casing/brickmold + wood sill seam. This is a water trap waiting to happen which will rot the casing and the sill. "Paint only" on horizontal seams, (except between dis-similar materials; caulking horizontal seams at masonry/wood is OK).
Foam will stop some of the draftiness too.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 5:47PM
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I would try to use a much of the old molding if it is wide enough to move over and cover the gap.

You need at least a small gap between the brick mold and wood to limit water absorption by the wood.

If te molding is not wide enough some new molding tghat comes closer to closing the gap might be in order.
Areal lumberyard may have a stock pastern, cut wider molding from stock lumber, or you could probably find the correct pattern router bit and make the molding yourself.

Amana router bits in particular has a number of bits designed to duplicate old molding patterns.

It comes down to how authentic you want the materials and the appearance to be.
Note that if you use backer rod ad caulk with paint it is going to look almost exactly the same as wider molding from a distance, and likely worse up close.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 1:41PM
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I'd use backer rod rather than foam, trim, and caulk.
backer rods come in different sizes so get an assortment.
insert backer rod, caulk both sides of backer rod.
when it dries caulk over backer rod & finish out
with caulk.
paintable caulk, long life.

foam is very messy to work with imo.

looks like a big job...

best of luck

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 1:04PM
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All that caulk is NOT going to look good, especially up close.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 1:17PM
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I thought of this; if the side gaps are consistently 1/4" or better, then pull off the backband and add a suitable strip of wood to the edge, with glue and stainless brads, to get the gap to within caulking range.
If the gap is irregular, it's some kind of filler in place.
Adding a strip atop the backband would be a character-changing alteration to the historic facade :P~

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 6:39PM
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Jack Kennedy

Thanks everyone for your replies. It seems that the only large gaps are only on the outside edges of the outermost windows on the facade. Hope that made sense. Most of the other windows have a very small gap, which seems reasonable.

For the backer rod, do you simply caulk that in place or is there another form of attachment method that I should use first?

I plan on doing this the right way so I don't have to redo it in the near future.

Any of you ever try to get caulk off of brick??? That's my next big puzzle.......

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 8:37PM
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"For the backer rod, do you simply caulk that in place or is there another form of attachment method that I should use first? "

It should be large enough to require forcing into place before covering with caulk.

About 505 wider than the gap seems to work well.

If you need to you can even split the rod using a sharp utility knife.

Uneven gaps can be a PITA to fill.

the backer is just there as a base for the caulk, so using separate pieces as a long gap varies in width is not a problem (except for installing it).

if any gaps remaining are small enough, caulk will not get through them badly anyway.

Tiny gaps at mortar joints (less than 1/8 inch or so) can usually be tolerated.

Part depends on how thick (viscosity wise) the caulk you are using is.

A smooth caulk surface will look better up close, and if you apply it carefully ad too it smooth can look acceptable.

You get some relief on second story work since no one normally can get close enough to see it well (but around a front door or ground level window looking onto the front steps needs to look nicer).

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 9:52AM
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