Any tricks to remove the parting bead?

la_koalaAugust 13, 2011


I've reached a point in sash removal where I am a bit stumped on what to try next.

I'm working from the inside on this double-hung window. I've managed to get the lower sash out, and moved the upper sash all the way down to the sill. To get the upper sash to move down, I had to strip off all of the paint that was on the inside of the jamb and that side of the parting bead. The upper sash is still a bit sticky to move up and down, and as it has multiple panes of glass, I don't want to keep having to push it up and down, in fear of dislodging a rail.

I have Meany's "Working Windows" book. He says to put a pry bar on the side of the parting bead opposite the interior (on the pulley side), hammer it in, and pry out the parting bead.

Is there a trick to which way to angle the pry bar for this? The gap between the parting bead and the jamb is just a thin 'seam'--I'm having trouble imagining hammering in the edge of the pry bar there.

I've tried grasping the parting bead at the top with a pair of pliers and pulling outwards from the jamb. It budges about 1/32 of an inch, and then stops. (And I got mad at myself because the pliers scraped the stain layer off the bead, and the spouse will have something to say about that, if he notices!)

Anyway, any tricks that have worked for you in the past?

Thanks in advance!


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A pry bar?! Sounds a bit too aggressive to me. When I have to remove them, score the paint, then wiggle it from side to side all the way down before trying to pull it out. I am lucky in that most of mine are unpainted on the inner sides, but I've yet to break one.
Slow and easy is the way to go.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 4:56AM
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We've only done a few so far, but we did them the same way as columbusguy... using a vise-grip pliers, (protected wood from teeth with cloth). We broke just one, but slow and easy is the way to go!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 7:03AM
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These pliers work with minimal damage.
But p-bead is mainly replaceable.disposable on houses from 1880 onward, before that period it's liable to be a very odd size or shape and will require a lot more effort to duplicate.

Here is a link that might be useful: sheet metal vise-grips

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 8:14AM
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Thanks everyone!

Gosh, I wish I had thought of using the terry cloth before my first try with the pliers. That's a good idea, I'm going to do that from now on.

Casey, thanks for the hint about the sheet metal vise-grips. We actually have something that looks like one of those, so I can give it try today without having to run to the store.

Thanks again!

And thanks for

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 8:45AM
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I just count on replacing parting beads and tear them out.

They can easily be made from 1x pine (often with some thickness planing before ripping to width).

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 10:43AM
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Hi brickeyee,

How do you/what do you use to "tear them out"?

Casey also noted that they are easy to get if the house is from the 1880s on. I think my house was built in 1884, and these parting beads look very plain. Nothing fancy. My biggest fear is that if I rip it up, my spouse is going to wander in and gasp. (I think that deep down he didn't want me to start this part of the project.)

Thanks for the mention of the 1x pine! My dad has a table saw, and I think he could make them if I end up needing new ones.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 4:23PM
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"How do you/what do you use to "tear them out"? "

Ti minimize any damage to the rest of the window a often just drive a sharpened old screwdriver into the side of them, then lever against some wood to protect the rest of the window frame.

They sometimes come out in mostly one piece, but more often they simply break up.

A cats paw, vise grips, and some wood to protect the rest of the window and you can pull nails one by one without damaging anything else.

Clamp the vice grips on the nail, then pad the window and pry against the vice grips to pull the nail.

Not damaging anything else is the goal.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 12:11PM
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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

Brick has done this before! Good advise.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 4:40AM
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We've had our old windows removed by 2 different window repair companies (we reglazed them ourselves). Our windows range in age from original (1825) to early 1900's. Both companies replaced all the parting beads with new wood strips. They did not reuse any of the old parting beads.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 10:04AM
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A long time ago I worried about removing parting beads in one piece for re-use.

It almost never worked.

The very old wood was simply to brittle for any manipulation, and all of it often has enough paint gluing it in to requires hours of scrapping to even expose the joint, only to find it also filled with paint.

Avoiding damage on the more permanent portions of the window is more important that preserving a thin strip of wood designed for easy replacement.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 10:48AM
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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

I agree 100%. I went and did my whole house years ago and the first window probably spent a good 3 hours getting the stupid bead out. I called my friendly carpenter and he said just get it out and I will make new ones for the whole house. I think he charged me $20

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 4:43AM
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If you do not have a way of making new ones, most good lumber yards have parting beads in stock in clear if you want or fj(cheaper and for painting).

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 9:36AM
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