Gaining an Appreciation for the Old Window Design? Priceless. Eureka CA Window Restoration Workshop.

Posted on October 25, 2008. Filed under: Home Improvement |

Even if you’re not into learning how to repair, or renovate your charming old single pane windows, sometimes it’s good to get an overview so you have a general understanding about the process before hiring an expert or just getting plain frustrated and replacing those “old worn out windows” with vinyl dual pane.  Because there is nothing like the look of an old wood window – not even a similar vinyl copy can truly replace the original charm and character of it’s original.

Eureka CA Window WorkshopI had an opportunity last Saturday to sit through a window restoration workshop hosted by my friend Bill Hole who heads up the Preservation and Restoration program at Humboldt County California’s College of the Redwoods.

And I truly learned an incredible amount during the six-hour workshop.  Currently the CR restoration and preservation students are restoring a Queen Anne Victorian on F Street in Eureka California, called The Annie B. House.  I have to admit, once you understand the brilliance in the old window design, especially since the old window has done its job for over 115 years, you might think twice about removing them.

The fascinating thing about these windows is that they were made and assembled in a factory during the Industrial Revolution.  Think about it.  Each piece on your window was duplicated hundreds of times on a factory line, assembled at the factory and shipped to the building site.  The whole window, including its casing was then installed into the home.

Even all those fancy decorative pieces you see on the exterior of many older homes…also manufactured.Eureka CA Window Workshop

Each piece on an older window fit together perfectly.  If you’ll look closely you will not find any nails used to keep all those parts together.  They all fit together snugly.  And at least in Humboldt County California, because most windows were made with old growth Redwood, many of them are still in good shape… even after 100 years of being in your house.  They just need a little TLC.  A little maintenance goes a long way and can sometimes be remarkably cheaper than spending $$$ to replace a window (parts and labor included).  You just need to find someone who has experience working on older windows or do it yourself.

Older windows if restored to its working condition will actually keep drafts out.  The drafts you feel in your house are the result of windows that need a little tweaking to seal out the cold.  Another reason your windows may not work properly is because several coats of paint have been applied to each window part over the years.  Certain parts need to be free of paint in order for them to move properly.

Eureka CA Window Workshop

There are many things you can do to bring your old windows back to life:

Old hardware covered in paint can be brought back to life with a little TSP Substitute (Tri-Sodium Phosphate) soaking and a good cleaning using a metal brush wheel.Eureka CA Window Workshop

Need to replace a sash cord (that holds the window weight)?  You don’t have to pry off the window casing trim to get to the pulley/weight system.  All you have to do is pull off a small piece inside your window.Eureka CA Window Workshop

Eureka CA Window Workshop

And a final tip from the experts:  When starting to free up painted parts off your window, try using an army knife to cut through the paint before you start removing any pieces.  Then slowly and patiently start prying parts away using a small prying tool.

So if nothing else I gained an incredible appreciation for the ingenuity that went into the old window design and I am more than happy to slowly repair each and every one of my old windows so they last another 115 years for all to appreciate and enjoy.

Eureka CA Window Workshop

Copyright 2008 Jessica Bigger.  All Rights Reserved.  * Gaining an Appreciation for the Old Window Design?  Priceless. Eureka CA Window Restoration Workshop.*

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