Window sash - what not to paint; what not to fill

graywings123July 19, 2011

I scraped paint off the underside of the bottom rail of the bottom sash - the part that meets the sill. I'm now ready to start filling holes and have two questions:

1) I'm thinking the bottom of the bottom rail should not have any paint on it. Is that correct?

2) There are two holes in the bottom rail where it meets the stiles (sides). Should I fill those holes (and with what - caulk or WoodEpox) or leave them as a moisture escape?

Thank you all for your patience and continuing help.

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No, it needs paint. It will always get wet in the rain, unless you have storm windows closed, and if water soaks in to the end grain, the paint above will peel. It has to be dry, then sand to bare wood and soak in a mixture of boiled linseed oil and turpentine to fill all the wood's porosity. When this mixture dries, prime with oil primer.
As for finish coats, I use only oil enamel on the sash, because it lets them move freely and never sticks. It seems whenever I try any kind of waterborne paint, I end up with sticking sash. I always paint sash while they are out, both sides, and let the paint cure; I get by with the storm windows in the meantime, but it is the only way to fully paint the surfaces without painting anything shut.
You can leave that milling hole on the bottom; it's actually a good thing, as it lets water drain out of the bottom corner joints.(not that there should be an water there, but caulking it full plugs the drain)

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 4:29PM
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Thanks Casey! Your explanation for painting the sash bottom makes sense. Yet, they were not painted way-back-when.

Can you buy boiled linseed oil and turpentine already mixed?

By the way, Casey, thanks for the advice on tools. My window zipper is on its way to me.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 5:52PM
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Hi guys ~ I have been working on the same type of project. Casey, when I had my bottom sash out I could see that the very bottom edge, as graywings described - the area that meets the sill - is/was not painted. And it looks like none of our bottom sash edges are? Should I be painting them, it does not look like they ever were... and the wood is all in amazing shape (1904 home). Is it OK to not fix what isn't broken, so to speak? Thanks for any advice!

mrsrichard (aka "Fanner")

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 8:50AM
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Fanner, see what jade mortimer says (OHW) and I think she'd agree w/me. It gets wet every time there is a driving rain from the particular side. And wetness there is bad. I have seen paint weathered off the bottom of the sash so thoroughly that it would look never-painted.
The only part of a sash never painted originally would be the side edges. The top of the top sash usually got primer. The inside surfaces got decorated according to the scheme, paint of varnish.
So, yeah.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 3:23PM
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