The Process in Detail:
The window restoration process begins with removing the sashes from the openings. However, considering the likelihood of lead paint on the windows, the job really begins with prepping the site for containment. We are a lead-safe company and observe all lead-safe work practices. This requires us to plastic off all work areas to contain the dust. Once the sashes are removed we wrap them up in plastic for transport. We then address the channels within the window opening and remove all necessary paint. The windows are then taken back to our shop.
At the Shop:
The bulk of the work performed on the windows is done at our shop. We use steam to remove the old glazing, paint, and glass from the sashes. The glass is catalogued, cleaned, and set aside for re-installation. The sashes are stripped down to the bare wood, removing all layers of paint.
Any damage, defects, or rot are addressed using a few different methods. For most repairs, we use epoxy to make most of the repairs. However, if the damage is extensive enough, we will either completely replace the failing part or we will splice in a piece of wood, called a “Dutchman”, to rectify the problem. Following all repairs, we lightly sand the sashes to prepare them for finishing.
The first step in the finishing process of the sashes is applying a wood conditioner to at least the exterior side of the sash. The old and weathered wood of most sashes tends to absorb the solvents in the primer and hinders the primer’s ability to adhere to the wood. The conditioner alleviates this problem as well as helps consolidate the wood fibers. We then apply a slow-drying alkyd primer to the sashes. The primer we use is designed to dry slowly so that the oils have time to penetrate deeply into the wood achieving the highest level of adhesion and durability.
At last, two coats of high quality exterior and interior paints are applied to the sash and the original glass is installed and glazed. The sashes must then sit for two weeks to allow the glazing to cure. Finally, we apply final coats of paint, install the weatherstripping on the sashes and prepare the windows for transport.
In the end, the windows return to their home and are installed in their original location.