Reglaze or replace?

doc54April 24, 2006

Hello All~

I really need some guidance here: In 2001 I purchased a 1935 brick colonial revival with the understanding that all 19 double hung, 6 over 6 windows would require complete reglazing within the next 5 years.

That time has now arrived and I have done nothing to address the issue except perhaps entertain the possibility of replacement sash kits for all as opposed to actually reglazing. The thought now frightens me for a few reasons: 1) the overall scope of the project, 2) the fear of working from a ladder for the entire second story and 3) the huge expense of sash kits for 19 windows.

I consider myself blessed with a fair amount of talent for home projects. But when a job like this comes knocking (as this one is now) my habit is to shut down and ignore the problem if I don't have a good solution. Meanwhile, the glazing continues to fall away in chunks....

To be honest, I would much prefer to reglaze and preserve the original windows which, after 70 years, have retained all of there structural integrity and could be made beautiful once again. I am also making the assumption that the windows can only be reglazed inplace. So my primary question centers around whether or not the sashes can be removed from the jambs where they could then be stripped, reglazed, repainted and returned to the jambs. The job would be less overwhelming this way if I could attack each window on its own over the next couple of years, but I'm afraid to take up hammer and bar and go after the first one to find out if this approach is possible.

(Details about these windows: nothing unusual really. I am wondering whether the upper sash was ever operable as it appears to ride on a tin guide strip that is channeled into the sash and secured at the bottom so the sash does not move. Even though I can't actually see this, I'm assuming this guide strip has flanges that are nailed directly into the jamb with small brads, much the way the tin sill liner was installed. I'm assuming if the parting strip were to be removed and the upper sash unsecured from its guide, the sashes might just come out nicely with no fuss?)

I would appreciate thoughts or advice from anyone with experience in this arena.



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Your units can be removed to be reglazed. It will take some careful work to remove the stops, but you should have no major problem taking them out. Take your time, as the stops might be a little fragile. Be prepared to make new ones, as it's hard to avoid breaking at least one.
Reglazing itself is a fairly easy task, and there are some great books out there on reglazing, if you've never done it. You'll appreciate the finished product far better than if you replaced the sash & balances.
About the only advantage to changing everything out would be an increase in energy performance. Depending on where you are located, you may want to address that as well.
Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2006 at 10:24PM
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I just spent about $190/window for my lovely 6/1 75yo windows - Contractor wanted to do sash kits, the more I looked at architectural detail of houses the more I realized I liked the old detail far greater. Not to mention the fact that the best windows for your house are the "custom" original ones the house came with -

Those windows likely contain original wavy glass -

My "window doctor" took the parting strips out, new ropes, stripped paint, made sure all windows worked up/down, replaced any broken panes, and did some reglazing - I'm quite pleased with the results

Taking the window out would be far easier to do the reglazing - I tried doing this last summer in a cottage in Me - my hands still hurt - but that glaze was really cemented in there. I believe you could use a heat gun to heat it up and make getting it out far easier

A few sites that may help

good luck

    Bookmark   April 27, 2006 at 12:01AM
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Thanks to all for your advice and support. I believe your responses are in the right direction- preserve the originals and thus the integrity of the house. With tight fitting storms as they have now, any energy savings from replacement sashes alone would probaly be minimal from what i've read. And I'll save myself about $6,000 - 8,000 dollars in the process. My time and effort is free.....

So out comes the hammer and the bar....wish me luck.

Eileen- thanks for the sites.


    Bookmark   April 27, 2006 at 9:00AM
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